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Origins: Jambalaya (Hank Williams)

24 Mar 00 - 12:38 AM (#200506)
Subject: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Phil

Can anyone help me with the French lyrics for Jambalaya?

24 Mar 00 - 12:42 AM (#200509)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

Didn't know there were any, other than "cherie-mi-o"(sic) Maybe simon-pierre can translate it for you. I'v got the English, as I presume lots of other people do.

24 Mar 00 - 12:45 AM (#200514)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Gypsy

Wasn't that Hank Williams? Didn't know that he spoke any french?

24 Mar 00 - 12:51 AM (#200521)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

Yep, and he didn't as far as I know, but maybe there is a translation out there?

24 Mar 00 - 07:17 AM (#200617)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Gary T

I don't know anything about French lyrics for the song as a whole, but there are two French/Cajun words in the song other than cheri. Thibodaux and fontaineau (I'm not sure about the spelling, but that's how they are in the DT) are food dishes, as I understand. Exactly WHAT food, I dunno.

24 Mar 00 - 07:54 AM (#200623)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Bill in Alabama

I have a French friend who plays American bluegrass and country music. Although his band generally performs in English, he may know of the existence of some French lyrics. I'll email him.


24 Mar 00 - 11:28 AM (#200724)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Bert

I always thought that Thibodaux and Fontaineau were family names. The food is Jambalaya, Crawfish Pie & File Gumbo.

24 Mar 00 - 11:38 AM (#200730)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon

I just read the lyrics to "Jambalaya" in DigiTrad, and I would like to point out one small error. It should be "file gumbo", not "filet gumbo". There should be an accent mark over the "e" - what is called an "accent ague" in French. (I don't know how to represent these things in HTML.) "Filet" does do a good job of representing the pronunciation, while "file" without the accent mark, could be totally misleading to someone who doesn't know what file powder is.

Then again, I am only familiar (somewhat) with European French, not Cajun French. For all I know, maybe Cajuns have dropped accent marks.

Anyway, file powder, I understand, is a flavoring made from ground sassafras leaves, and it has that root-beer flavor that is familiar to Americans. See

Let's see if this works: "filé powder".

24 Mar 00 - 11:47 AM (#200735)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Bert

I used file without the accent 'cos I didn't know how to do it either. So tell us how you did it.

24 Mar 00 - 11:59 AM (#200740)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Wolfgang

this information is found in the old thread The fada in Irish vowels. I recommend Geroge Seto's contribution.


24 Mar 00 - 12:10 PM (#200747)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

Here is what the universal translator says for the first verse, it's pidgen English, so I suppose this may be pidgen French, any way it almost seems to fit:
au revoir, Joe, je gotta vont, je l'OH le mon OH, que je le gotta vont poteau le pirogue en bas du bayou. Mon Yvonee, le plus doux, je l'OH le mon OH. Fils d'un pistolet, nous aurons de l'amusement sur le bayou. Jambalaya, pâté en croûte de écrevisses, et gumbo de fichier, cause ce soir je suis gonna vois mon chera millions de. Sélectionnez la guitare, fiole de fruit de remplissage et soyez gai-o. Fils d'un pistolet nous aurons le grand amusement sur le bayou.
Maybe a French speaker could tweak it and finish the fitting.

24 Mar 00 - 12:40 PM (#200761)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Bert

Magic Sorcha, Gotta sing it like that next time.

24 Mar 00 - 02:35 PM (#200811)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Jim Krause

Hoowee! Think I'll just stick to Hank's version in English.

24 Mar 00 - 02:38 PM (#200812)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon

Regarding how to insert accent marks - I cheated. I usually compose my messages using Microsoft Word, then I cut and paste to the Mudcat thread. I do this for a several reasons. One, I am a compulsive perfectionist and I like to run my spell-checker before posting anything. (Frankly, I wish more mudcatters would do this.) Two, if I want to interrupt my composing to look something up on the Internet, I can do it without worrying about losing what I have written so far. Three, I can save my Microsoft Word documents with or without posting to Mudcat.

Then the question becomes, how do you insert special characters into a Microsoft Word document?

There are several ways: (1) Use Insert/Symbol, click on the character you want, then click Insert. (2) Memorize (or keep a cheat sheet that tells you) the shortcut keys for the characters you want. You can find out what shortcut keys you need by using Insert/Symbol, clicking on the character you want, and reading the information from the bottom of the menu. It tells me that the shortcut for é is "Ctrl+',E" which means, "Hold down the CTRL key while pressing first the apostrophe and then the E". (3) You can memorize (or find a cheat sheet that tells you) the ASCII code for the letter you want. The ASCII code for é is 130, so Microsoft Word lets you insert it by holding down the ALT key while typing the three numeric digits 130. However, it seems that some symbols don't have a 3-digit ASCII code. (4) You can just cut and paste from any document that already has the letter you want, including a web page.

Anyway, I found that the é character survived just fine when I cut and pasted my entire message from Word to Mudcat. This doesn't always work with other software. For example, the other day I wanted to send an e-mail message that contained the British pound sign (£). I found that when I cut and pasted from Word to Netscape Composition, it converted my pound sign to a question mark. Obviously, there are some things I haven't figured out yet.

24 Mar 00 - 02:50 PM (#200822)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Bert

When all else fails read the instructions.
filé Gumbo
Typed in as fil&eacute Gumbo

24 Mar 00 - 02:59 PM (#200825)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Fortunato

Bert, Thibodaux and Fontaineau are two small villages in Louisiana, I was charmed to pass through them on my way from Baton Rouge to Grand Isle, La. some years ago, after years of singing the song. Les Bonton Roulet!

regarde, Fortunato

24 Mar 00 - 03:09 PM (#200830)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Bert

Thanks Fortunato, it's always fun to go to places that are known in song.

24 Mar 00 - 03:12 PM (#200834)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: simon-pierre

Hmmm... If we're talking about the song of Hank Williams, I guess I could translate it. Please never trust the universal translator, it's pityful. There still are many words in english, and the french is horrible, especially concerning verbs. Give me a little time.

I should say that, at the first look, I don't know what means those words:

- fillet gumbo (if you wanna laugh, the translator gives «gumbo de fichier» wich means «file gumbo»...)

- my machez a mio

- fill fruit jar (alchool?)

- Son of a gun («fils d'un pistolet» is a first level translation that I would never sing - that doesn't make sense).

The rest is coming


24 Mar 00 - 03:34 PM (#200843)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

SP, the song is in fake Cajun/English dialect, "pidgin English". See above for explanation of file powder. The others are: Gumbois a stew made with okra and file powder, Ma cher a mio is Hank's bad French for "my sweetheart", Fill fruit jar is a refernce to home made corn liquor, "moon shine" served in canning jars. Son of a gun" is just an American Western/cowboy idiom, like Holy cow, Geeze Louise, etc. Do you have the rest of the verses in English so you can translate them, or should we post them? Do you know the tune? Good luck

24 Mar 00 - 04:01 PM (#200860)
Subject: Lyr Add: JAMBALAYA (in French)
From: simon-pierre

Thank you Sorcha. I made my translation before reading your post, but that doesn't really change something, except for the «fill fruit jar» - my translation is not correct, but I don't know what could I put for [and I know my sentence is not correct too, please forgive me!]. In Québec, we call «moonshine» liquor «bagosse» - ...well not a bad idea, i write it like this.

JAMBALAYA (in French)

Au revoir Joe, je dois partir, me oh my oh
Il faut que descende le bayou sur cette pirogue
Ma Yvonne, la plus douce, me oh my oh
[Son of a gun] on va bien s'amuser sur le bayou

Jambalaya, paté d'écrevisse et filet de gumbo
Car ce soir je vais voir ma chère à mi-o («moi»)
Prend la guitare, remplis la jarre de bagosse et sois gai-o
[Son of a gun], on va bien s'amuser sur le bayou

Thibodeaux, Fontaineaux, la place s'anime
[Kinfolk?] vient voir Yvonne à travers la foule
Bien mis, s'empiffre, me oh my oh
[Son of a gun] on va bien s'amuser ce soir sur le bayou

Okay. This correct french, and not great poetry. It was harder than I thought. I didn't know exactly what meant «pole», so I translate the as «I got to go down the bayou in this pirogue». «Go hog wild» - I had many things in my dictionnary, but I translate it as if it meant «eat a lot». I guess you could sing everything between [brackets] in english, you'll have a «cajun» sound!

Please post any comments, I'll check this.


HTML line breaks added --JoeClone, 1-Dec-01.

24 Mar 00 - 04:08 PM (#200862)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: simon-pierre

Last thing: «come to see Yvonne by the dozen» - I translate «dozen» by «crowd» - Is it correct? At least, In french, it makes sense. SP

24 Mar 00 - 04:26 PM (#200873)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

Yes, "by the dozen" does mean a crowd, but the double entendre is that Cajuns are so inter-married that all Yvonnes's suitors are also her cousins. "Pole pirouge"==pirouge is a type of dubout canoe, moved through the water with a pole, like a gondola in Venice. "Go hog wild" basically means--go a little crazy and have a lot of fun.

24 Mar 00 - 04:31 PM (#200878)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

(Dugout), and also, it's not great poetry in English, so why should it be in French?:) Williams meant the song as a tribute to the Cajun people, but his crude attempt to duplicate the patois was not appreciated by the Cajuns, and they greeted performances of it with a little scorn. It still became a major hit.

24 Mar 00 - 04:34 PM (#200881)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Bert

I don't think that you need to translate Filé Gumbo, it's the name of a Cajun dish.
To 'pole' is to move the boat by pushing against a pole that you put in the water, it is long enough to reach the bottom. In England they have flat bottomed boats called punts which they pole along the rivers.
machez a mio - I've always assumed that this was a corruption of 'ma cher ami'
'Go hog wild' - make a lot of noise - party wildly. The houses near the water are built on stilts. My second wife, Lou, who came from down that way, said she has seen them shaking with the noise and dancing at a party.
Yes 'by the dozen' means 'crowd'

Sorcha, just to be real pedantic, Gumbo is made using filé OR okra. NEVER both (not the real stuff anyway)


24 Mar 00 - 04:46 PM (#200888)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon

According to my information, Thibodaux isn't exactly a small village - it is a town of 14,000 people, the seat of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana.

After searching the Internet diligently for evidence of a place called Fontaineau and trying various spellings including Fontaineaux, Fountaineau, Fountaineaux, Fontainbleau, Fontainebleau, Fountainbleau, Fountainebleau, I have come to the conclusion that the correct spelling must be FONTENOT, which is an unincorporated place 4 miles south of Kinder, Louisiana, right on the border between Allen Parish and Jefferson Davis Parish. Because it is unincorporated, no population figures are available, but "small village" is probably accurate.

That would put Thibodaux and Fontenot about 120 miles apart, as the crow flies. You likely would pass through Thibodaux en route from Baton Rouge to Grand Isle, but you wouldn't go near Fontenot, so I'm at a loss to explain what you saw, Fortunato. (And, by the way, didn't you mean "Laissez les bon temps roulez!"?)

I found Fontenot by using the USGS Geographic Names Information System at

Fontenot is also a fairly common surname in that area.

24 Mar 00 - 05:01 PM (#200894)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

Sorry Sir Pedant, my and got in the way of my or! (Wanna pedant in the tavern, cherry-o?) :)

24 Mar 00 - 05:11 PM (#200900)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: MarkS

Cajun cooking. Its easy
1. Take sharp stick
2. Poke around repeatedly in muddy riverbank
3. When stick comes out of mud with something wiggling on the end of it, eat it.

24 Mar 00 - 05:58 PM (#200948)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Ferrara

I didn't look at the way it's typed in the DT, but have always heard the first lines as:

Goodbye Joe, me gotta go, me-oh-my-oh
'Cause tonight I'm a-gonna see my ma-chere-amie -o

where "ma chere amie" means "My dear sweetie" etc., and the -o is just stuck in to make it rhyme. The "my ma-" bit is redundant (a double possessive), English & French saying the same thing, as in "Rio Grande River" (*not* French, I know, I know...) or "au jus gravy."

I think there's supposed to be an accent gr^ave (backwards from aigu) over the 1st e in chere, maybe not, not my forte at all ... I type apostrophes for accents aigus as in file' and am obviously *not* a perfectionist and consider I'm doing well to post anything at all these days. Never learned to do a blue clicky thing either, but Mr. Offer rescues me when necessary.

Pirogue is a flat bottomed boat, yes? Poled rather than rowed...

24 Mar 00 - 05:59 PM (#200950)
Subject: ADD: Jambalaya
From: simon-pierre

JAMBALAYA (in French)

Au revoir Joe, je dois partir, me oh my oh
Il faut que descende le bayou sur cette pirogue
Ma Yvonne, la plus douce, me oh my oh
[Son of a gun] on va bien s'amuser sur le bayou

Jambalaya, paté d'écrevisse et filet gumbo
Car ce soir je vais voir ma chère amie-o
Prend la guitare, sert-nous à boire et sois gai-o
[Son of a gun], on va bien s'amuser sur le bayou

Thibodeaux, Fontaineaux, la place s'anime
Kinfolk vient voir Yvonne à travers la foule
Bien mis, il fait le fou, me oh my oh
[Son of a gun] on va bien s'amuser ce soir sur le bayou

Here's a new translation made with your help. I kept the second line as it was, cause I don't know how to improve it (but I undertstood what you meant), and doesn't alterate the meaning. The third chorus line sounds better like this. «Machez à mi-o» - I changed, with bert's suggestion, «ma chère à moi» for «ma chère amie». Also for a better sound, the last line could be like this: «Son of a gun, on aura du fun sur le bayou», wich is more «vernacular» french. The word «fun» is very often used in Québec, and may be in Louisiana.


24 Mar 00 - 06:03 PM (#200954)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: simon-pierre

PS: sorry, I don't know how to make the break line («br») SP

24 Mar 00 - 06:14 PM (#200965)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon

Ferrara, I agree with your opinion that the words should be "my ma chere amie-o" and not "my m'cherie mi-o" as it appears in DigiTrad. I don't know how Hank Williams intended to write it, but "ma chere amie" is at least good French - although I too am in doubt whether it should be "chere" or "chère." I'm pretty sure the masculine form is "cher" though.

I too have seen menus that offer "roast beef with au jus". Redundancy is a common feature of language. Have you memorized your PIN number? [Personal Identification Number number].

24 Mar 00 - 06:20 PM (#200970)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon

Pardonnez-moi, it should be "Laissez les bon temps rouler!" (Let the good times roll!) - not "roulez."

24 Mar 00 - 06:49 PM (#200984)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

And simon-pierre has done bang up job here, folks!! Lets's just hope guest Phil fetches them and appreciates them! Oh, yes, "kindred" means family, "famille"?

24 Mar 00 - 07:08 PM (#200994)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Gary T

You beat me to it, Sorcha, I was going to help with "kinfolk". I think of "relatives" as perhaps a closer English synonym than "family"; to me "kinfolk" and "rleatives" imply more distant relations, "family" closer ones.

Simon-Pierre, you should be able to get line breaks by putting "<", followed by "br", followed by ">" (no quotation marks).

I don't know where I got the notion that "Fontaineau/Fontenot" and "Thibodaux" were food items, but I can't find any confirmation of that so far, so I guess I was mistaken.

24 Mar 00 - 07:51 PM (#201009)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: simon-pierre

Well... If kinfolk means what you said, my verse doesn't make any sense. I thought it was a name (I am very embarrassed). It could gives something like that:

Thibodeaux, Fontaineaux, la place s'anime
La parenté vient voir Yvonne à travers la foule
Bien mis, il font les fous, ... etc


24 Mar 00 - 09:41 PM (#201061)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

No reason to be embarassed, we couldn't translate it at all! You have done an excellent job,s-p! And it's not like you put a BAD word in there!

04 Apr 00 - 04:54 AM (#206406)
Subject: Recipe: Jambalaya
From: Joe Offer

This seems like an appropriate thread for my current favorite recipe.
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green bell pepper
  • 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 2 cups cooked rice (uncooked Minute Rice works fine)
  • one 15-ounce can kidney, pinto, or black beans
  • one 14-ounce can tomatoes, undrained, chopped
  • 1 cup medium salsa
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
  • 1 teaspoon salt (optional)
In a large skillet, combine oil, onion, and green pepper. Cook over low heat 5 minutes or until onion and green pepper are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in chicken, rice, beans, tomatoes, salsa, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer 10 to 15 minutes or until flavors are blended.
6 servings.
(I microwave the chicken in a large bowl, and then chop it up, throw in the rest of the ingredients (no oil), and microwave the whole mess on high for 35 minutes. Goes great with beer. Hank Williams woulda loved it.)

Just thought you ought to know. How else can you understand the song?
OK, that's the recipe for Jambalaya. Anybody got one for crawfish pie or filet gumbo? What is filet gumbo?
-Joe Offer-

04 Apr 00 - 10:55 AM (#206518)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,simon-pierre

Joe, I think that a filet gumbo is a fish meal. Wich fish? I don't know. Maybe I have some cajun cook books at the bookstore I'm working at. I'll have a look, but you'll have to be patient (next week).


04 Apr 00 - 11:12 AM (#206529)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: MMario

file gumbo is a soup/stew. Gumbo's are DEFINED by the inclusion of file powder (which is illegal in many states now - don't ask me why) or okra.

crawfish pie recipes I've seen range from anywhere from a quiche-like thing to what is basically just crawfish in a crust. And everything in between. gumbo recipe to come.

04 Apr 00 - 11:22 AM (#206533)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Roger the skiffler

I probably know less about cooking than music (but enjoy sampling all sorts of both!)but I thought Gumboe was a US synonym for okra (ladies' fingers in English,bamies in Greek).What is file powder? Iron filings ?(Mother always said I needed more iron when force feeding me nearly raw liver)

04 Apr 00 - 11:28 AM (#206538)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: MMario

Creole Seafood Gumbo

2 tb Lard; or shortening
2 tb Flour
1 lg Onion; chopped
2 Garlic cloves; minced
1/2 c Chopped celery
1 tb Chopped parsley
1 Green pepper; chopped
1 cn Tomato puree (12 oz)
1 c Water
1 cn Tuna; drained and flaked
1 cn Tiny shrimp (7oz); drained
1 ts File' powder
Steamed rice

Guaranteed to conjure up dreams of moss-draped oaks and the bayou.

In a heavy pan, melt the lard (shortening: over very low heat. Add flour and stir continuously until it turns a tawny brown color (it may take as long as 15 minutes, but don't rush it because if it burns, the gumbo will be ruined). Now add the onion, garlic, celery, parsley, and green pepper and braise about 5 minutes, being careful, again, not to burn it. Add tomato puree, 1 cup water, tuna, and shrimp and simmer for 45 minutes. Add file' powder , stirring in well,and serve over fluffy steamed rice.

Vegetable Gumbo
1 Onion, chopped
1/2 Green pepper, diced
2 Ribs Celery, diced
1 Garlic clove; minced
1 lb Okra, sliced, fresh or frozen
1 lb Tomatoes, fresh orcanned
2 c Corn, fresh, frozen or canned
1 ts Bouillon granules
1/2 c White Grape Juice
1/2 c Water
1/4 ts Tabasco sauce
1/4 ts Paprika
2 tb Fresh chopped parsley
1 tb Basil or Rosemary, minced

In a large heavy stew pot, place bouillon and 1/2 C white grape juice, onion, green pepper, celery garlic, cook until tender,(5-7 minutes). Add other ingredients, cook over low heat, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking to bottom. Cover and simmer gently until corn and okra are done. Serve over rice in soup bowls.

04 Apr 00 - 11:30 AM (#206541)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: MMario

file powder is made from dried sassafrass leaves. the term "gumbo" is derived from an african-american name for 'okra', but botht eh file powder and okra give the same sort of thickening to the gumbo

04 Apr 00 - 11:43 AM (#206548)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

OK, gumbo is stew, From Paul Prudhomme:
Egg and Dried Shrimp Gumbo
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2/3 cup vegatable oil
2/3 cup flour
3 bay leaves
(1 teaspoon salt)
3/4 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco Sauce
2 (1 1/2 oz packages dried shrimp (3/4 cup)
7 cups seafood stock or water
1 teaspoon minced garlic
9 whole hard cooked eggs
1 1/2 cups hot cooked rice
Combine the onion, bell pepper and celery in a bowl. In large skillet, heat oil until it begins to smoke, about 4 minutes. Gradually add the flour, whisking constantly! until smooth until it is a dark red-brown to black, about 3-4 minutes. Be careful not to let it scorch, or splash on you! Stir in the vegetables and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add the seasonings and Tobasco, cook another 2 minuts. Stir in the shrimp, cook another 2 minutes. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, bring the stock and garlic to a boil in a 4 qt. saucepan. Stir in the flour mixture until the roux is dissolved, and simmer til shrimp are cooked. about 20 minutes. Add 6 of the whole eggs to the gumbo, cut the remaining 3 in half and add. Return to boil, remove from heat, let stand 10 minutes. Skim oil from top and serve over white rice.

And here is the Classic File Gumbo:
Melt in a skillet2 Tablespoons of butter Add and saute til brown a soup bone with 3 lbs. cubed beef.Add 12 cups water and simmer 2 hrs., Add 1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup shredded parsley
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon paprika
Strain, cool, and skim the stock. Melt 2 tabkespoons butter Add and saute 3 minutes 1/2 cup onion,1/2 cup okra,and 1 cup celery.Add:2 1/2 cups tomatoes,2 Tablspoons quick cooking Tapioca,1 Tablespoon sugar,the soup stock, and simmer 1 hour.Add 1-2 teaspoons file powder. Do not boil after adding file as it will become stringy.
I also have a recipe for Chicken gumbo that uses flour dredged chicken fried in bacon grease, sweet red bells,and rice. There is also mixed seafood gumbo. One of the above posts said that either file or okra is used but not both. I have eaten it with both and usually cook it that way. Want a recipe for "Dirty Rice"?

04 Apr 00 - 03:08 PM (#206639)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Joe Offer

Gee, what did I start? Actually, I think these recipes add a lot to the background information for this song.
But yes, Sorcha, I would like a recipe for dirty rice. My new-found love is totally impressed with my cooking - but I'm running out of interesting recipes and may have to open a can of Franco-American spaghetti next time she comes....
-Joe Offer-

06 Sep 01 - 12:26 AM (#543131)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Joe Offer

Trapper and DougR claim the reason they're keeping a flame thread alive is to trade jambalaya recipes. Well, they can find recipes here.
By the way, Sorcha still owes me a recipe for dirty rice.

And all these recipes make me hungry.
-Joe Offer-

06 Sep 01 - 01:13 AM (#543138)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: MAG

Great minds think alike, Joe: I skimmed the threads to see if anybody else thought of it.

The great thing about Jambalaya is how you can throw in whatever you got in the house and it comes out great.

I start with my cast iron dutch oven. (essential) I have to leave out the onions nowadays. U know why.

Chop up your favorite vegetables, esp. lots of garlic Cube what ever animal protein you like: chicken, pork, shrimp. I personally cannot eat crab, and crawdads look disgusting.

Stir into dutch oven with rice and commesurate water.

I like to add butter, but then I'm hooked on fat. Season to taste, but lots of cayenne.

throw it into the oven at around 350 degrees until all the water is absorbed. The crunchy part at the bottom is best.

Who uses a crockpot?

06 Sep 01 - 11:39 AM (#543441)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Tee Mamou

Williams based the song on a tradional Cajun song called "Anse couche couche," or Grand Texas. In the original version there are only a few lines and they refer to a man's girlfriend who left him for someone in Texas. Williams lyrics were influenced by his exposure to Cajun culture while touring in Louisiana and playing on the Louisiana Hayride. Thibodeaux and Fontenot (both of which are correct spellings) are common Cajun surnames and would indicate that the place is full of people. I doubt that Williams had a specific place in Louisiana in mind. "on the bayou" is more of a general reference to life in Louisiana. Several Cajun musicians have subsequently released "covers" of Jambalaya in which, for the most part, they translated William's lyrics as directly as possible into Cajun. As with many instances of textual translation, the result can be a little awkward.

06 Sep 01 - 11:57 AM (#543455)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha


1/2 pound chicken gizzards
1/2 pound chiken livers
(or one pound of either)
2 onions, quartered
1 sweet bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped celery

Put all the above through a grinder. Be careful if you are using a food processor--you want it ground, not paste. Then heat 2 Tablespoons of olive (or other) oil in a deep skillet. Add the meat/veg mixture and cook for 1 hour. A bay leaf is optional.

1 cup white rice (raw)
2 cups water
Cook rice----you know how to do that....
Mix the ground meat and veggies with the cooked rice. Add chopped parsley, cayenne (or Cajun spice) to taste.

06 Sep 01 - 12:19 PM (#543483)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Sorcha

(O yea, a little chopped garlic in the meat/veggie mix can't hurt, either)

06 Sep 01 - 02:37 PM (#543592)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Armen Tanzerian

True filé powder is indeed made from sassafrass and has been found to be carinogenic, which is why substitutes are required. I am not a native French-speaker, mais je passe la moitié de mon temps à Paris, et je traduirais le plat crawfish pie comme "tarte d'ecrivisse", pas "paté".

06 Sep 01 - 02:39 PM (#543593)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Armen Tanzerian

Worse than carinogenic, it's carcinogenic.

06 Sep 01 - 03:03 PM (#543613)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya

Tarte d'ecrivisse est correct en francais 'cadien. I had never heard that file' is cancer causing, especially considering the small amount used. And to get back to music, Joel Sonnier has one of the better Cajun-French translations of Jambalaya on one of his recent CDs.

03 Feb 05 - 07:19 PM (#1398368)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: PoppaGator

I'm sure that Joel Sonnier is just one of several Zydeco and/or Cajun artists who sing French translations of "Jambalaya." Clifton Chenier, for one, used to do many classic R&B and country numbers translated from English to (idiomatic Louisiana) French, including about half of the Fats Domino songbook.

Anyone looking for French lyrics to any number of originally-English American songs will find plenty of alternatives by researching the recordings of Zydeco singers. These guys would undoubtedly provide good translations, free of clumsy transliterations, because they're bilingual and have intimate knowledge of the idiomatic local use of both English and French.

Thibodaux and Fontenot are among the most common Cajun surnames; they're also, coincidentally, place names (of a major city and a tiny hamlet respectively), but I'm sure that Hank was singing about large clans of people attending the party.

"My cheramie-oh" is nothing more than "my dear" plus an extra nonsense syllable.

Gumbo is a thick soup that often contains one meat and one seafood ingredient (e.g., turkey and oyster gumbo); Creole gumbo usually means all seafood (oysters and shrimp and a few small hardshell crabs ~ "gumbo crabs"). All-vegetable ("green") gumbo is different, a thinnner soup that appears on menus as "Gumbo Z'herbes"; I have no idea where that "z" comes from ~ it's not standard Parisian French, that's for sure. All gumbos are normally served over white rice, which soaks up much of the liquid and makes the dish less soup-like and more "solid," perhaps seeming more like stew than soup.

The all-important thickening agent in gumbo is EITHER file powder or okra. It must be noted, however, that the word "gumbo" is the West African word for okra ~ meaning that the dish "gumbo" was originally made using okra, and that file was a later subsitution.

Never heard of file powder being carcinogenic. It is consumed only in small quantities (e.g., no more than a tablespoon per big potful, if I'm not mistaken).

Crawfish pie is NOT, as far as I know, a traditional Louisiana dish, and Hank may have made it up to fit his rhyme/rhythm scheme. People today sometimes make all different kinds of pies containing crawfish, but there does not seem to be an agreed-upon "classic" or "prototype" crawfish pie recipe. In my opinion, this phenomenon has to be a response to the song (i.e., the song came first, only then the actual pies).

Have you heard the one about the Cajun zoo?

How do you know you're at a Cajun zoo?

At a regular zoo, each exhibit has a sign giving the name of the animal, plus the Latin scientific name of its genus and species. At a Cajun zoo, the sign gives the name of the animal and the recipe.

03 Feb 05 - 08:11 PM (#1398437)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Q (Frank Staplin)

Some time ago the powers that be determined that sassafras was carcinogenic, and the ingredients of root beer were 'sanitized', some chemical was substituted to give the sassafras flavor.
File, being in the sassafras family, was tarred with the same brush, but folks in Louisiana decided other things would probably get them first, so file gumbo continues on its way.

Genuine root beer with sassafras is still available at organic stores.

05 Feb 05 - 01:10 PM (#1399939)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Jim Dixon

PoppaGator: My best guess is that "Gumbo z'herbes" is a Cajun shortening of "gumbo aux herbes," in which the "x" would be pronounced as a "z."

05 Feb 05 - 01:16 PM (#1399944)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Snuffy

You mean "Gumb' aux herbes"?

05 Feb 05 - 01:16 PM (#1399945)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: Jim Dixon

Come to think of it, that's probably how "zydeco" acquired its "z" sound: from "aux haricots." I've read that "zydeco" was derived from "haricots" but it never made sense to me until now.

28 Mar 05 - 03:01 AM (#1445331)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,slucas

The kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen. Dressed in style go hog-wild.

Kinfolk is what Yvonne had to tell the neighbors so she wouldn't be run out of town when they came to her for sex. She had to say the men were relatives. Dressed in style means they could afford Yvonne fees for her services. Yvonne is the name of half the cajuns, the other half are named Joe.

28 Mar 05 - 12:15 PM (#1445550)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya

Haricots / zydeco:

The lyrics of the "first" Zydeco song went somthing like this:

"Les haricots sont pas sale'" ~ "The snap beans are not salty."

So, the "Z" sound is actually the "S" in "les." In Cajun French, just as in Parisian French, the "S" sound at the end of the definite article "les" is silent when the next word begis with a consonant. but is sounded when the next word begings with a vowel.

Jim, sorry it took me so long to look back at this thread and respond about those snap beans. I'm sure you're right on the money in regard to "Gumbo z'herbes," by the way.

28 Mar 05 - 05:46 PM (#1445621)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Wrinkles

Way to keep it complicated guys ;-)

You want e+acute? Type [Alt Gr] and [e] and you get é. Simple easy no hassle.

Add shift for the Cap; É

Works for all the vowels; á é í ó ú Á É Í Ó Ú


29 Mar 05 - 10:10 AM (#1445818)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,PoppaGator

That was me, yesterday, failing to make the accent aigu. I keep forgetting to identify myself after having to get here via the "backdoor."

I'm always glad to learn a little something, but can't figure out what the "Gr" might be in "[Alt Gr]." Help?

29 Mar 05 - 12:18 PM (#1445918)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,Jim Dixon

I don't know what Wrinkles was referring to, but this method works for me when I'm using Microsoft Word on a PC:

1. Press the "Ctrl" key and the apostrophe key at the same time, then release them, then:
2. Press the vowel that you want. For a capital letter, do it the same way you would nomally type a capital.

Then you can copy and paste from the Word document to the input box.

I like this method because I like to use Word anyway. It helps me avoid stupid spellig erors.

I'm afraid the method might be different depending on which software you're using, and possibly on what kind of keyboard.

20 Jul 16 - 09:20 PM (#3801313)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: GUEST,D.Landry

Thibodeaux and Fontenot are last names (surnames to you Brits and Euros).

20 Jul 16 - 09:33 PM (#3801317)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya

Thibodeaux and Fontenot are last names (surnames to you Brits and Euros). Any towns in Louisiana bearing those names owe them to this fact. There's a whole parish named after my last name, for example.

If one listens to the lyrics (not reads, but listens) they will clearly hear that it says "THE Thibodeauxs, THE Fontenots, the place is buzzing." The presence of the definite article clearly makes these families of people, such as THE Capulets and THE Montagues; The Smiths or The Joneses. He is stating who is in attendance. The next line also makes it clear that these are kinfolk (most likely the speaker's and Yvonne's) who have come in large numbers to see Yvonne. "Kinfolk come to see Yvonne by the dozen." Why would that be? Not because she is a prostitute in a brothel, as someone reasoned above. She is his "cher amio", his "sweetest one," whom he has pirogued down the bayou to be with. It's a celebration at someone's home where people are "dressed in style" and enjoying traditional home cooked Cajun dishes and drinking liquor from mason jars and picking guitar. This is a Cajun wedding. The speaker is marrying Yvonne. The extended lyrics bear this out: "Settle down far from town, get me a pirogue (canoe)." And "Swap my mon(ey), to buy Yvonne what she need-oh." They're going to settle down and have big fun on the bayou (live happily ever-after). Okay? Make sense?

21 Jul 16 - 08:48 AM (#3801385)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: cnd

You are correct, Guest. I assumed everyone knew that. Who ever thought this song was about a brothel?

21 Jul 16 - 08:55 AM (#3801386)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Jambalaya
From: cnd

I just realized how that sounded, and want to add that I'm not saying your interpretation is bad, but that the others are kind of silly. I suppose this is how it seems to Britons when Americans try and explain an English "folk" song?

22 Nov 21 - 04:24 PM (#4127005)
Subject: RE: Origins: Jambalaya (Hank Williams)
From: Joe Offer

Some sources claim the song was co-written by Aubrey "Moon" Mullican. True???

23 Nov 21 - 04:04 AM (#4127051)
Subject: RE: Origins: Jambalaya (Hank Williams)
From: GerryM

For what it's worth, says, "Mullican was a star in the world of country music, and may have had more influence there than the sales of his records would lead one to believe. For decades, it was an open secret that he'd co-written "Jambalaya (On the Bayou)" with his fellow Grand Ole Opry member Hank Williams, collecting a 50-percent share of the royalties on the sly because of his contractual relationship to King Records."

23 Nov 21 - 11:27 AM (#4127085)
Subject: RE: Origins: Jambalaya (Hank Williams)
From: leeneia

I sing "Jambalaya and the catfish fryin and the file gumbo." Crawfish turn me off.

Somewhere I read that Yvonne owned the bar where Hank Williams and his friend wrote the song. In that account, the friend was named Ricky or maybe Bobbie.

I sang this at yesterday's singaround, and I did not appreciate some guy barging into the applause and snapping at me about not mentioning this little-known Moon Mullican (sure, and he's a Cajun). I had wanted to say a sentence or two about my visit to Cajun country, but no. A white guy
had a chip on his shoulder, so never mind that it was still my turn.