♫ Jambalaya ♫

I’m playing tonight’s song, Jambalaya by the Carpenters, for one person … ME!  This is one of those songs that no matter how dark your mood, it will get your toes tapping!  I’ve been in a dark place of late, partly for personal reasons and partly due to the state of our nation, and I needed to smile tonight.  This song makes me smile, so bear with me, please.

Hank Williams wrote this song and originally recorded it in 1952. Williams adopts a cajun drawl and sings from the perspective of a guy headed to the bayou for some fun. There will be drinking, good company, and food. Lots of food. Jambalaya, crawfish pie and fillet gumbo.

Richard Carpenter loved the song and recorded the instrumental track in 1972 with various session players. The next year, under pressure to complete the Now & Then album, he had Karen Carpenter add vocal to the track because they didn’t have time to write another original song. Karen made no effort to sound Louisianan, singing it with her trademark perfect diction.

Admittedly, I had never heard the Hank Williams version until tonight, and the Carpenters’ will always remain my favourite … especially after listening to Hank Williams!  I am not a fan of country music, that Williams’ twang just turned me completely off.  If you’re interested, you can go find the Hank Williams’ version yourself!

Interestingly, though the Carpenters didn’t release this as a single in the U.S., their version did go on to become a huge hit in Japan, the UK, Mexico, Holland, Germany and many other countries around the world.

Jambalaya (On the Bayou)
Carpenters

A good-bye Joe, you gotta go, me oh my oh
He gotta go-pole the pirogue down the bayou
His Yvonne the sweetest one, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Thibodaux, Fontaineaux, the place is buzzin’
A kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen
Dressed in style they go hog wild, me oh my oh
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and crawfish pie and filé gumbo
For tonight, I’ma gonna see my ma cher a mio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Settle down far from town, get him a pirogue
And he’ll catch all the fish in the bayou
Swap his mon to buy Yvonne what she need-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and crawfish pie, filé gumbo
For tonight, I’ma gonna see my ma cher a mio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and crawfish pie, filé gumbo
For tonight, I’ma gonna see my ma cher a mio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and crawfish pie, filé gumbo
For tonight, I’ma gonna see my ma cher a mio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Jambalaya and crawfish pie, filé gumbo
For tonight, I’ma gonna see my ma cher a mio
Pick guitar, fill fruit jar and be gay-o
Son of a gun, we’ll have big fun on the bayou

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Hank Williams / Sr.
Jambalaya (On the Bayou) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner Chappell Music, Inc

♫ Yesterday Once More ♫

Our friend Ellen is a walking encyclopedia when it comes to music.  She frequently gently chides me “I can’t believe you didn’t play a song by ____________, for you surely knew it was the anniversary of his death/birth/execution!”  I have no idea where or how she stores all this information, but store it she does!  I keep telling her that I can barely remember my own name most days!  Long story short, Ellen reminded me a few weeks ago that March 2 is the birthdate of the late Karen Carpenter and asked if I would play this song.  As it happens, I like both Ellen and this song, so it is my pleasure.

The song was written by Richard Carpenter and John Bettis.  The single version of the song peaked at number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, kept from the #1 spot by, Bad, Bad Leroy Brown by Jim Croce.  (Personally, I get that, for there is little that tops Bad, Bad Leroy Brown in my mind)  It is The Carpenters’ biggest-selling record worldwide and their best-selling single in the UK, peaking at number 2.  Dionne Warwick, a close friend of the Carpenters, performed the song live in Las Vegas the night before Karen Carpenter’s death in 1983.

And on that note, Happy Birthday, Karen Carpenter (she would have been sixty-nine) — we only wish you were here to celebrate it.

Yesterday Once More
Carpenters

When I was young I’d listen to the radio
Waitin’ for my favorite songs
When they played I’d sing along, it made me smile

Those were such happy times and not so long ago
How I wondered where they’d gone
But they’re back again just like a long lost friend
All the songs I loved so well

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing’s, so fine

When they get to the part
Where he’s breakin’ her heart
It can really make me cry, just like before
It’s yesterday once more

Lookin’ back on how it was in years gone by
And the good times that I had
Makes today seem rather sad, so much has changed.

It was songs of love that I would sing to then
And I’d memorize each word
Those old melodies still sound so good to me
As they melt the years away

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing’s so fine

All my best memories come back clearly to me
Some can even make me cry, just like before
It’s yesterday once more

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling, that they’re startin’ to sing’s so fine

Every sha-la-la-la
Every wo-o-wo-o, still shines
Every shing-a-ling-a-ling

Songwriters: John Bettis / Richard Lynn Carpenter
Yesterday Once More lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group