Johnny Can't Dance

Aldus Roger
A Cajun Legend


1.  Lafayette Two-Step (2:14)
2.  Steppin' Fast (2:31)
3.  Flames d'enfer (2:44)
4.  Fi Fi Poncho (2:47)
5.  Over The Waves (3:47)
6.  Jambalaya (2:48)
7.  Johnny Can't Dance (2:48)
8.  Lafayette Playboy Waltz (2:46)
9.  Hicks Wagon Wheel (2:42)
10.  Love Sick Waltz (2:51)
11.  Zydeco Sont Pas Sale (2:34)
12.  Un Autre Chance (3:21)
13.  Diga Ding Ding Dong (2:46)
14.  Louisiana Waltz (2:37)
15.  Mamou Two-Step (2:28)
16.  The Last Waltz (2:33)
17.  Wafus Two-Step (2:10)
18.  KLFY Waltz (2:41)
19.  Perrodin Two-Step (2:10)
20.  Jolie Blonde (2:44)
21.  Petite Au La Grosse (3:31)
22.  Creole Stomp (1:50)

Aldus Roger and the Lafayetter Playboys
Aldus Roger - vocal, accordion
Doc Guidry - fiddle
Fernice "Man" Abshire
Johnny Credeur
Phillip Alleman
Tunice Abshire
David Abshire
Harry Lee Mott
Louis Foreman
Tony Thibodeaux
Clarence Alleman
Vernon Bergeron
Gerald Touchet

It may seem a bit presumptuous for an artist's debut album to refer to him as a legend, but Aldus Roger's "A Cajun Legend" is justifiably titled. The Lafayette, Louisiana, native has been a local fixture for decades, appearing at festivals throughout the region and even starring in his own local television show for a spell. This compilation is taken from live performances and occasional studio dates, and covers a broad range, both in time and in the makeup of Roger's ever-shifting band, the Lafayette Playboys. Fiddler Doc Guidry is Roger's foil on most of it, and the album's most exciting moments come when Guidry and Roger trade off solos in good-natured cutting contests. The music and sound quality are extraordinary.

Cajun Legend plays the French Music of South Louisiana is a mid-'60s album from Aldus Roger, one of the most popular Cajun accordionists of the '50s and '60s. Featuring contributions form steel guitarist Phillip Alleman and fiddler Doc Guidry, the record accurately captures the exciting, eclectic atmosphere of Roger's dancehall concerts and features a fine version of his signature song, "Johnny Can't Dance." ~ Thom Owens, All Music Guide

Aldus Roger was best known for his television music program during the late 1950s and 1960s. He also recorded a Cajun French version of Hank Williams' hit "Jambalaya" (originally this was a Cajun song titled "Grand Texas").

Aldus Roger

Legendary accordionist who influenced a generation of Cajun music artists

The accordionist and bandleader Aldus Roger, who has died aged 83, was one of the most popular figures in Louisiana Cajun music in the 1950s. While his contemporary and fellow accordionist Lawrence Walker favoured a smooth sound, "Aldus's music was loud. More into full force," as singer/historian Johnnie Allan remembered.

Typical recordings from Roger, like Lafayette Two Step (1964) and Diga Ding Ding Dong (1966), spiced the standard Cajun stew of accordion, fiddle and steel guitar with thudding bass guitar and drums. In the case of Lafayette Two Step this might have amounted in traditionalists' eyes to heresy, since it was the first Cajun song to be put on a record, in 1928, by the accordionist Joseph Falcon. Roger's version of the deeply traditional Mardi Gras Dance went even further, being pepped up to a frenzy by rock'n'roll drumming.

Roger was born in the small town of Carencro, near Lafayette, a musician's son who began playing the one-row diatonic accordion the locally preferred type of the instrument aged eight. By his mid-teens he was playing in public, but during the 1930s popular taste in rench-speaking south Louisiana swung away from the accordion to a string-band sound, closer to Anglo-American country music. It was not until the instrument enjoyed a revival in the 1950s, thanks to players like Iry LeJune, Nathan Abshire and Roger himself, that he made his mark with his band the Lafayette Playboys.

For 15 years Roger had a television show on KLFY in Lafayette, and he made records for all the south Louisiana labels specialising in Cajun music, such as Goldband, Cajun Classics and, especially, La Louisianne, for whom he recorded numerous singles and three albums.

While Roger was probably most at ease with the native Cajun repertoire of two-steps and waltzes, he was not too hidebound to hire young musicians who could sing rhythm and blues numbers.

"So far as music to dance by," commented the Cajun music historian Pierre Daigle, "there can be no better, but I find that he plays a cool music, and in my opinion it does not stir the heart." Yet, despite this, Roger had a devoted following among both dancers and musicians.

Although he had been inactive since the 1980s, Roger's playing had already influenced a generation of younger accordionists like Reggie Matte, Pat Savant and Wayne Toups, who carry on maintaining this unique music's remarkable survival in the teeth of assimilation.

Aldus Roger, Louisiana French musician, born February 10, 1916; died April 4, 1999.

Tony Russell, The Guardian, Wednesday 2 June 1999

thank you tineg for the music
 "About Aldus, his recordings are *the* reference point for both fans of the dance hall sound and accordionists alike. His style is not as highly embellished or frou-frou as Savoy's or Riley's: it's to the point, clean, concise and driving."


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Jim Hobbs said...

Good to read about such a great Cajun musician. Roger's CD was taken from at least three LPs recorded for La Louisianne, so he had enough recordings to be considered a legend. There are no live recordings on the CD; they're all studio work. Haven't see any of his live work released; love to have some. Who's the final quote from? I don't consider Marc Savoy or Steve Riley "frou-frou" accordion players.