Jeanine’s Dream

I’ve been following the wonderful unpacking of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music at The Old, Weird America, and the project is now up to #31, the Cajun number “La Danseuse” by Delma Lachney & Blind Uncle Gaspard. Usually the compiler (gadaya, “a young french guy who loves to mentally travel through time and space by listening to some records”) provides variants of each tune, but he notes for #31 that he had found none. As I listened to the original, I immediately thought of “Jeanine’s Dream” from the out-of-print Stampfel and Weber LP Going Nowhere Fast (1981) and sure enough it’s the same tune: first bit. The lyrics (by Antonia) are wonderful, and not readily available:

In a trunk on the attic floor
The record lay 40 years or more
‘Til Jeanine came to poke about
In the attic she pulled it out
She decided to let it play
Unplayed music will waste away
So it spun on the old machine
It put her feet in a dancing dream
She was Queen of the Ball
Her surroundings fell away
And she danced in a fairy carnival
Out of lost time

The record player was turned up loud
As she danced with the fairy crowd
A mean old grandma who lived next door
Heard the racket and called the law
The record player was still turned high
When the new rookie cop came by
Jeanine came dancin’ up to the door
She let him in and she danced some more
First he stared as she danced
Then the music that was playing caught him in its spell
And so he danced with her

Grandma came in and hollered “Stop!
This crazy music and crazy cop!”
But Jeanine didn’t seem to hear
Then the music caught Grandma’s ear
She remembered those bygone days
And how she danced while the fiddle played
So she left them and went to bed
With the tune playing in her head
And she danced in her dreams
With her husband one more time
And the record he had bought for her
Spun on ’til dawn

see a Robert Christgau piece (1999) and Wikipedia on The Holy Modal Rounders for more background; the truly obsessed will seek out the DVD The Holy Modal Rounders: Bound to Lose

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