Nathan Abshire

Nathan Abshire

Gueydan, Vermilion Parish, Louisiana, USA
Death 13 May 1981 (aged 67)
Basile, Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, USA
Burial Basile, Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, USA
Memorial ID 7087358 · View Source
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A famous Cajun musician, Nathan Abshire began his musical music career when he was six years old with an accordion purchased for $3.50. His first performance at the age of eight was played at a dance hall known as La Salle de Tee-Gar Guidry in Mermentau Cove, La. He continued to perform and entertain and his fans loved him. In the early 1930s Nathan’s first 78 rpm record was recorded in New Orleans with Leroy “Happy Fats” Leblanc and the Rainbow Ramblers. Then World War II interrupted his musical career for a spell as he answered the call of duty. Once out of the service, Nathan was at it again, doing what he loved most, playing those Cajun two-steps, waltzes, hymns, and blues on his accordion. It was steady performances at the Avalon Club in Basile each week that eventually caused him to move (from Gueydan to Basile). Nathan Abshire is best known for his song, “Pine Grove Blues,” or *“Ma Negresse,” (recorded May 23, 1949, Oklahoma Tornadoes Recording Co., San Antonio, Tx., with Will Kegley (fiddle), Jim Baker (bass), Ernest Thibodeaux (guitar), Oziet Kegley (drums), “Crying Pinegrove Blues,” was recorded by Khoury records July 1958 with Jake Mier on vocals). “Pine Grove Blues,” is a rendition of “Blues du ´Tit Chien,” recorded by Amédée Breaux for Vocalion Records in 1934. His ability to compose songs and to play his accordion even attracted the late Hank Williams on one of his visits to Louisiana. Nathan’s talents drew interest from Chris Strachwitz, of Arhoolie Records, Ralph Renzler (talent scout for the Newport Music Festivals), Mike Leadbitter of England (co-publisher of Blues Unlimited magazine), and of course, Floyd Soileau of Swallow Records. Revon Reed of Mamou, while on tour with the Mamou Cajun Band in Europe, said the name of Nathan Abshire was heard quite frequently during interviews at many of their performances. He is the most extensively recorded Cajun accordion player, having initially recorded for Bluebird in the 1930s. His postwar Pinegrove Blues for the San Antonio OT label was a fair seller for him, providing one of his most recorded tunes and his band name. When he recorded for Jay Miller, he often used Dewey Balfa on fiddle and vocals, and when the Balfa Brothers began to gain deserved recognition in the late 1960s, it was Abshire who frequently appeared with them. There is no way that this music can fail to produce a reaction. There can be no middle of the road assessment; it is either totally unpalatable or perhaps the most vital music you will ever hear. Hopefully your reactions will be towards the latter. Be assured that Nathan Abshire won’t care either way. This is his music; you can take it or leave it. Allons-y les copains! (2)

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  • Created by: Pete Bergeron
  • Added: 16 Jan 2003
  • Find a Grave Memorial 7087358
  • John Paul Laughlin
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Nathan Abshire (27 Jun 1913–13 May 1981), Find a Grave Memorial no. 7087358, citing Saint Augustine Catholic Church Cemetery, Basile, Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, USA ; Maintained by Pete Bergeron (contributor 46841650) .