Vorance allowed Pilione to copy his tapes and Joel Savoy of Valcour Records converted them to digital files. This week, Pilione releases Live at Snook's, a two-volume set of the band's classic recordings. "It's not a slick recording quality sound," Pilione says. "It's how it would sound in the dance hall, which is what I like."
Maurice Berzas died in 1985, and the band dissolved. Vorance retired from performing for a year until Dewey Balfa convinced him to begin playing again. With Balfa, Vorance shared the stage with a budding young accordionist ' Steve Riley. When it came time for Riley to start his own band, he took the Mamou Playboys mantle.
This Friday, June 15 at Blue Moon Saloon, Riley and his Playboys join Pilione, Vorance and special guests for a performance of the vintage Playboys material and to perform a set of their own. The record sheds light on the original Mamou Playboys by capturing their renditions of dance hall favorites ("Evangeline Special," "M & S Special," "Grand Mamou,") and lesser-known gems ("Ville Platte Waltz," "Choupique Waltz").
During the peak of their career, the Playboys performed seven times a week. Saturdays they played KVPI's afternoon radio show, plus two separate dancehall gigs. Sundays offered no rest, with an afternoon and night dance in Basile. In the mid-50s, the Playboys reduced their load to about four shows a week. In Ville Platte, the band held the Saturday night slot at Snook's for 35 years. Despite the tremendous schedule, The Playboys never ventured outside of the Mamou, Basile and Ville Platte area, as Maurice was a tenant farmer and did not want to be far from his crops. Likewise, recording was not a priority.
"I wish he would have wanted to make more (records)," says Vorance of his father. "He was satisfied playing locally, playing dances."
Pilione's glad to make these rare recordings available. "Projects such as these are not ever going to be big sellers, will not draw the interest of big labels, but that is not the point," she says. "My projects don't have to make me a fortune, they just need to be presented to those who want to experience a little of the Cajun scene as it was 20 or so years ago. I think it is really important for people to know who Maurice Berzas and the original Mamou Playboys were and what great music they made."
Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys and members of the original Mamou Playboys play a CD-release party at 8 p.m. Friday, June 15 at the Blue Moon Saloon. Admission is $10.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
Friday's Blogs from the Bog!
Casual cool for Thanksgiving
Shop Lafayette goes strong
The fight to clean up Lafayette Parish could get some added ammunition with two ordinances up for votes Tuesday by the City-Parish Council targeting litter-bugs.
A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
Our View: It’s reasonable, temporary and invests in Lafayette’s future.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
Three bedroom in Port Barre or two bedroom in Opelousas
The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
“I am only getting a little nervous about two projects — the proposed Sasol GTL facility [not the new ethylene plant] and the proposed G2X facility — both in Lake Charles. They need a hefty difference between oil and natural gas prices to make sense.”
Abysmally low participation by the public has prompted the council to scuttle the 2014 survey with plans to simplify it and try again next year.
The village now says the ordinance will likely be overturned and authorities will more vigorously enforce existing leash laws.
Lower oil prices also might slow the growth of oil production in parts of the U.S., Canada and elsewhere because it will no longer be so profitable.
Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
Signs that our state’s banking industry is undergoing a downsizing in 2014 were further confirmed today with the FDIC’s latest figures showing a third straight quarter in which Louisiana lost more banks and earned less money.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
Even stranger than the Republican Party’s decision to hold a “unity rally” earlier this month for Congressman Bill Cassidy in a Baton Rouge bar, Huey’s Bar, was the fact that the establishment was named after Louisiana’s most famous Democrat.
Bar Code is not a gay bar.
After failing to pass a medical marijuana bill last year, state Sen. Fred Mills, R-Parks, is telling supporters he will return in 2015 with legislation that focuses on different applications like oils and pills.
Voters, obviously, are not yet tuned into the 2015 ballot, despite the intriguing races it will host.