Soldiers returning from World War I became familiar with innovations, among which were the graphophone and the vinyl record. Vinyl recordings really helped to popularize our Cajun heritage. Major recording companies were anxious to discover talent for the sale of records. They struck gold in 1928 when a local artist, Joseph “Joe” Falcon, recorded “Allons a Lafayette,” the very first Cajun record featuring a new way of playing the accordion. The record was quickly followed by the world famous “Jolie Blonde.”
Vocalist and composer Joseph Falcon was born on Sept. 28, 1900, in Roberts Cove, Acadia Parish. Falcon first played in public at Oneziphore Guidry’s dance hall in Rayne. When the band didn’t show up, Guidry asked him to play and he was a great success.
Falcon’s first wife was musician and singer Cleoma Breaux. Cleoma came from a musical family. Her brothers, Amede, Ophe, and Cleopha, played together as the Breaux Frères. She played guitar with them on one of the earliest recorded versions of “Jolie Blonde,” which they recorded under the title of “Ma Blonde Est. Partie.”
Cleoma left the family band after her marriage to record with her husband.
Falcon’s success helped influence other Cajun artists. Although too numerous to list, some other famous early Cajun musicians such as The Hackberry Ramblers, Leo Soileau, Dennis McGhee, Amede Ardoin, Amedee Breaux, Lawrence Walker and Harry Choates starting recording Cajun music.
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