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Photos of the
11-15-2008 show are posted on Flickr. Coverage stops with 2008,
but check with Eunice City Hall for dates of future performances:
In 2001, in addition to putting together their second annual tribute to Hank Williams Sr., Terry Huval and the Jambalaya Cajun Band organized an old time country music show at the Liberty Theater in Eunice the Saturday before Christmas.
When we think of folk music, we often think of music that conveys an authentic expression of deep human feeling, predating the more polished music produced by the recording industry to target mass audiences and earn big profits. But, the songs included in the Liberty show are a reminder that the great country recording artists from the 1940s and 1950s were also able to convey in their music an authentic feeling with roots in the folk music that is part of their musical heritage.
The special guest musician for the evening was Don Helms, who played steel guitar on every Hank Williams record from 1950 until Hank's death in 1953 and who made many other hit records with other top country artists. Helms is the only surviving member of Hank Williams' band.
The program opened with the entire ensemble singing Jimmie Davis' "You Are My Sunshine, followed by songs by Ray Price, Hank Locklin, Hank Snow and Anita Carter, Webb Pierce and Red Sovine.
Then Cajun and country music legend Vin Bruce appeared on stage to sing "Here Is the Bottle," joining Don Helms on stage for the first time since they recorded that song together in a studio for Columbia Records in 1954. Among other songs, Bruce performed a French version of Bob Wills' "A Maiden's Prayer."
Anyone who listens to Cajun music is familiar with the many accomplishments of Al Berard. It is less well known that his wife and daughters are also very gifted singers. His wife, Karleen, brought cheers with her rendition of Kitty Wells' "I Didn't Know God Made Honky-Tonk Angels," and the response was at least as enthusiastic to daughter Laura's version of Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight." Maegan Berard later joined the other members of her family for the Carter Family's "Keep on the Sunny Side of Life" and two other acoustic numbers.
Terry Huval's selections included, among others, Lefty Frizzell's "Long Black Veil," with haunting lyrics made even more eerily intense accompanied by Don Helms' steel guitar. D.L. Menard sang "Letters Have No Arms," a song he co-wrote with Ernest Tubb, and joined Huval and Hugh Harris in a section of the program devoted to Hank Williams Sr. In addition to songs, Don Helms offered some recollections of his association with Hank Williams.
Pope Huval performed a couple of songs included on his first CD, Chante Ti Garçon, released only a few weeks earlier: Marty Robbins' "I'll Go on Alone" and Lefty Frizzell's "Look What Thoughts Will Do." He also showed his virtuosity by mastering the vocal gymnastics required in Eddie Arnold's "Cattle Call," evoking more cheers from the capacity crowd.
The program was hosted by Dr. Barry Ancelet, who also sang one number, "What About You."
These notes list less than half of the songs included in a very memorable evening of great music.
Pictured in the top left column is Terry Huval, and, moving down the column, Pope Huval; Vin Bruce, and Pope Huval with Karleen Berard (singing "Down the Trail of Broken Hearts"); Terry Huval with Gina Forsyth behind him on twin fiddles; Karleen Berard singing "I Didn't Know God Made Honky-Tonk Angels"; and Dr. Barry Ancelet, the program host, who sang "What About You."
Don Helms, the legendary steel guitar player from Nashville, is shown immediately below. Beneath that photo are pictures of D.L Menard and of Terry Huval and Laura Berard singing the Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton number "If Teardrops Were Pennies." Beneath them, Vin Bruce and Karleen Berard are pictured with Tony Huval on drums shown in the background.
Shown from left during the performance of the final number"Will the Circle Be Unbroken?" are Don Helms,Bobby Dumatrait, Terry Huval, Reggie Matte (who served as a sound technician during most of the program), Gina Forsyth, Randy Champagne, Al Berard, Barry Ancelet, Vin Bruce, Tony Huval (barely visible), Pope Huval, Maegan Berard, Laura Berard, Karleen Berard (behind Laura), D.L. Menard, Hugh Harris, and Kenneth David. When Reggie Matte added his Cajun accordion to the closing number, the crowd roared with approval.
All photographs and text by David Simpson.
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