Nothing or nearly has surfaced on the precise whereabouts of PAL THIBODEAUX (his actual Cajun name). Here are the details I could glean from his records, or from 45rpm-cat or even from Bill Nettles’ story as it appears on the CD « Bill Nettles & his Dixie Blue Boys : « Shake it and take it » – Cattle CCD248) and « Bill Nettles – « Hadacol boogie » – on Jasmine 3548 » . I even didn’t succeed obtaining a picture of Pal Thibodeaux, also known as LITTLE PAL HARDY (on Imperial 8282).
Pal Thibodeaux hailed from Port Arthur, TX, located east of Houston, at midway from Houston to Louisiana’s Lake Charles. But he was active too on the Shreveport/Monroe area. In the very late ’40s/early ’50s, he was affiliated with Bill Nettles’ Dixie Blue Boys as house-pianist. He even married in 1950 Nettles’ daughter Lloyce., but did not play on Lloyce’s Imperial recordings (« Somebody’s darling » # 8039B).
Probably in 1951, he cut his first solo record for 4*, released in the specialized (for DJ’s?) X- serie, # 19. It appears aurally that Bill Nettles is backing on electric mandolin for a French-speaking (barely understandable this shore of Atlantic!) fast version of the Shelton Brothers‘ « Just because » (« Pasque, pasque »). The arrangement of the song is given by Pal himself. Piano is more to the fore with the B-side, the shuffler « It’s all over », well sung and entertaining. Sounds promising for a fresh artist.
Next record for a change : Pal Thibodeaux takes the pseudo of LITTLE PAL HARDY, and is inking with the Imperial label. A session probably held in Dallas or Shreveport early in November 1954 sees the release of two good boppers, the fast « Red lips and poker chips » (fiddle present and again a mandolin short solo : is this Bill Nettles ?), backed by the equally jumping good ballad « All my life » (Imperial 8282). Both sides are written by a certain L. F. Fowler (+ E. Lavender), a name I already have seen yet somewhere. Somebody help ?
The final ’50s Pal Thibodeaux disc is also by far his best. On the Monroe, La. Sky Line label (which is a 4* OP- item, # 154)[may have been cut in ’52] we find now « Port Arthur boogie », a great slab of romping Hillbilly boogie, partly sung in French. Call and response format. In the manner of Bob Wills (Texas is very near), Thibodeaux is encouraging his musicians before their solo : a crisp guitar player, a great mandolin player, and an agile fiddler. The flipside [thanks Allan Turner to have been ok. to unearth this side from your huge collection!] « What will I do » is equally good, « Tu m’as quitté, comment je vas faire, chère fille? ») over a brilliant backing.(even Al told me he had forgotten this B-side was so good). Pal yells for their solo at « Monsieur Sonny » on guitar and « Monsieur Fernand » on fiddle.
It’s a pity that Pal Thibodeaux had not been noticed by a more exposing label, and did not record more in the same vein…Billboard reported in 1955 that he was based in a Wyoming Army base.
One more record by Pal « Hardy » Thibodeaux (proof he was known by both names) was issued, seemingly, during the mid-70s on the Ann label from Drilling Springs, La. He returns to his favorite theme, « Just because » (this time sung in English) with a nice backing of sax and guitar. According to matrix numbers (LH13877/8), the Ann label sides were recorded in Houston. The flipside « This song is just for you » is a forgettable ballad weeper.
And that’s all I know of a secondary well regionally artist from Louisiana. If ever you know more about him, just let me know, I’ll be glad to expand and amend this short article.
Sources : the Bill Nettles mentioned CDs (Cattle and Jasmine) ; the help of Allan Turner for the unknown Sky Line B-side; his HBR issue CD (« the Jiffy label« ) for the Imperial sides; the help of Peter Hooger, who had posted the Ann 45 on 45rpm-cat site. And the indefatigable Ronald Keppner out of Germany who provided the 4* X-19 issue. Thanks to him!
My good friend, and Louisiana correspondant WADE FALCON, succeed in touching Pal Thibodeaux’s cousin. I chose not to reduce the latter’s answer. So here is the story of Elie Daise « Pal » Thibodeaux, as told by someone who was relatively close to him: (August 9th, 2016)
Wade, I’m going to need some help from Marshall to totally inform you. I was born in Beaumont, TX but we moved to the state of Washington when I was in the 8th grade. Did not see Pal until I graduated from High school and joined the Army. They sent me back to Texas and I saw Pal again.
Pal’s parents were Elie Daise Thibodeaux and Rena Hardy. Pal was an only child however Aunt Rena passed and uncle Daise remarried to Mary Patin. From this marriage there were two sons. David Marshall and his brother Arthur Albert. My Grandparents were Albert Thibodeaux and Elenore Thibodeaux. They lived on Beaumont Avenue in Port Arthur, TX. in a house that had two sides. Grandparents lived on one side and Uncle Daise and family on the other. Next door was Aunt Coralie married to Adalin Breaux. Uncle Breaux had a garage on the corner and was an automobile mechanic. Grandmother had a little grocery store in the front of their side of the house. Grandfather was the butcher. Uncle Daise worked at the Refinery. I am not aware of anyone in our family except Pal that was musically inclined. How he got his nickname I do not know. But you know how Juniors are called by nicknames. Uncle Walter’s son, Walter junior, was called « Sonny » and maybe Uncle Daise’s son was just his Pal.
My father was Antonio Delphia Thibodeaux who was also a mechanic. He married my scotch-Irish mother and they began their married life living with my Galloway Grandparents. Times were hard. Daddy had a service Station but lost it in the depression and my parents divorced. He passed away when I was 5 years old of double pneumonia.
My Grandparents spoke only Cajun French however Grandmother could speak a little English. Pal was fluent in both English and French. When my sister and I would go visit with my Grandparents if we did not understand what Grandmother said to us, she would tell Pal and he would tell us. I played with Pal and my sister played mostly with Aunt Coralie’s daughters. I remember at that age Pal loved to sing. He would stand in front of the mirror and sing. I can hear him singing « That Silver Haired Daddy of Mine » now. I guess in those days he liked Gene Autry and country music.
We moved to Washington and I never returned to Texas until I gaduated from high school, joined the Army and finished basic training and they sent me to Ft. Bliss. I went to visit the family in East Texas. While there I went to Port Arthur and visited Pal while he played on the radio with a band. He played the Piano and sang. Pal never had lessons but he could play the piano and any string instrument. He was very gifted but alcohol got to him in later life and he died fairly young. His grave is on Findagrave, Memorial #102451669.
While in Washington I heard he had run away from home at about 14 years old and they found him singing in a club as Pal Hardy. Hardy being his mother’s maiden name. I have found two of his songs on the internet. One as Pal Hardy and the other as Pal Thibodeaux. The latter has him singing « Port Arthur Boogie » while a cartoon plays. He mixes Cajun French into the lyrics being Bi-Linqual.
Pal played with several bands of which I am not familiar. I did hear one was a string band in Louisiana. I know nothing of his first marriage so can’t tell you anything about Bill Nettles. I know in his second marriage he married Joyce Coleman and had a son named Ronald. They lived in Gonzales. I never met either but heard it was a good marriage.
As to military service I have no knowledge. Maybe Marshall can help us out here. I also never knew that he had moved to Wyoming.
I know of one other great Thibodeaux fiddler. I went to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Saw Rufus Thibodeaux bring down the house Fiddling. Checked and he did not come from our line.
Our Thibodeaux lineage begins with Pierre Thibodeaux/ Jeanne Terriot in Acadia (Present day Nova Scotia and part of New Brunswick). He was known as the Miller of Pre Ronde. He was also known for establishing His family in Chipoudy. Rameau De Saint Pere devoted a whole chapter in his book « UNE COLONIE FEODALE EN AMERIOUE L’ACADIE » to Pierre. Chapter VI titled « LE MEUNIER THIBAUDEAU ET LA SEIGNEURIL DE CHIPODY ». It is written ln French but Cousin Dick Thibodeau from Maine translated the chapter to english so those of us like me could read it. We descend from his son Charles and Marie Francoise Comeaux. These two in Acadia. The English then kicked us out of Acadia and took our possessions in « Le GRANDE DERANGMENT ». Charles fled to Present day Prince Edward Island and died there. Our ancestor Charles’ son Olivier,his wife, Magdaleine Broussard and family were put on a ship. They arrived at New Orleans and were greeted by the Spanish who owned that area at that time. They were given land grants in the Attakapas Region and the wherewithall to begin life again. Olivier was given a land grant on on Bayou Teche and later another one at present day Lafayette. Magdaleine who was pregnant on the voyage delivered the first Acadian child in the Attakapas Region. Unfortunately she died of problems with the child birth. Olivier cohabitated with Widow Agnes Brun and raised a second family. He married Agnes and wrote legal papers to give his second family equal stature to his first family. Our family descended from the first two sons of this union.
Nicolas >Narcisse>Nicolas> Elenore (My Grandmother)
Cyril>Olivier>Antoine>Albert (My Grandfather)
All good Acadian families except for grandmother’s Maternal GGrandfather. Etienne Buillard was a medical doctor from France. He fought a duel with a young Cajun boy and killed him. Then he married the 16 year old widow. From this union came Etienne Valmond Buillard, Grandmother’s Grandfather.
Our ladies can join the DAR due to the service of Olivier in the Attakapas Militia during the Revolutionary War, See Findagrave Memorial #62255854. Both Nicolas and Cyril served in the Attakapas Militia during the War of1812.
Grandfather’s father served in the Confederate Army during the Civil War. See Findagrave Memorial#16746264.
I don’t know that I have helped you a whole lot Wade But I just was not around Pal as much as I would have liked. Feel free to contact me if I can help.
Oh by the way. The Queen of England admitted that the Grand derangement was a dastardly deed and declared a National day of remembrance to commemorate it.
I’m writing up a story regarding Pal Thibodeaux. I’d like to know more about his life.
Who were parents? Did they play music?
Anyone else in the family play music?
If they did, did they record?
Tell me how he got started in music.
What instruments did he play?
What music was his favorite?
What did he think about Cajun music?
Who was his idol?
How did he get the name « Pal »?
I know he was in the war. I believe it was the navy. What got him into the military? Tell me about the war years.
What was life like before the war? After he got out? Where did he serve? See action?
What years were he in the service?
He recorded songs for 4-Star records and Skyline records and Ann and Imperial. Do you remember how he got these recording contracts? Through Bill Nettles, his father in law? What was Loyce like? What was Bill like?
He recorded on KMLB in Monroe. Tell me about the years up in Monroe. What years was he in Monroe?
I know he eventually moved to Port Arthur. What years did he live in Monroe?
I know he worked with T Tyler Texas. Any information on this?
I know at some point, he was shipped off again, this time to Korea in 1951 and this time in the army. Correct?
He formed a band on the ship with Neal Merritt who also recorded with 4 Star. Tell me about him. I know they performed overseas.
I know in 1955 he moved to Wyoming. Tell me about those years.