Martin Cayla was one of the main actors of diffusion of the folk music of the Massif Central in Paris. Born in June 1889, he went to Paris at the age of 17, like many other people from the country, to seek for work and money. 
Beyond his artistic talents, his sense of commerce and business of all kinds led him to succeed to build a small empire as a musician, a music publisher, label runner and owner of the largest music store and workshop in Paris, no less.
He appears on most of the records he released through his label Le Soleil, alone or accompanied by fellow musicians. But as I love concepts and focus here on uncommon records, I choosed to share some of the ones he didn’t played on, sides that could have stayed somehow in his imposing shadow.

Martin Cayla is a man of importance. Though, dating the Le Soleil releases is not that easy. I guess the informations exist somewhere, somehow, but I haven’t put my hands on the right sources yet. If the book Les mémoires de Martin Cayla (” The memories of Martin Cayla”) offers the complete 78rpm records discography, it doesn’t give any recording dates (just a few vague clues), nor any chronology of the labels design or sleeves design. My apologies then for the lack of precision.
Le Soleil started in 1927, records were vertical-cut records at that time. Lateral-cut records appeared a bit later, both formats coexisted for a short while. The catalog numbers were even numbers for the vertical-cuts, and odd numbers for the lateral-cuts.
The adress appearing on the labels of the copies offered here is “33, faubourg St Martin”, where Cayla moved from his previous location (26, rue des Taillandiers) in 1938. These records are then post-’38 repress of recordings made before 1934. Exception is made for Le Soleil 435 down here, that has been pressed in 1946, and then must have been recorded that very year.
I assume that the design of the labels ties in to the World War II / German occupation period with only one color on varnishless white paper, way cheaper to produce than the previous designs, more sophisticated and colorful:

Thomas of Ceints de bakelite offers scans of labels of early vertical-cut records, and a view of an original sleeve from the late 20’s/early 30’s here.
Records where indeed sold in original sleeves, like these two exemples from the Faubourd St-Martin period:

Lastly, the last recordings for a 78 rpm record will be on the N° 479, but the label will continue in the 50’s, releasing mostly vinyl reissues of Cayla’s discography.

Let’s start with Le Soleil 237 by Les Frères Dourdou, people that I sadly haven’t been able to track down. I wish I could though, as I’d be delighted to hear more from them as this record is definitively one of my favorites from Le Soleil. They haven’t recorded anything else for Cayla. Unless the name used here is a pseudonym, as Dourdou is also the name of a river in the south of France, but using pseudonyms wasn’t Cayla’s policy…
The duet offers here quite a “hot” record. The waltz on the A side is a surprisingly catchy track, the B side also deserves all your attention, and reminds me the cajun music.

Les Frères Dourdou “Garabit Valse”
Les Frères Dourdou “Saint-Flour Tourniquet”

Another great, “hot” record: Le Soleil 289 by Sylvain Poujouly and Achille Marc, another one of my top favorites from the label. Both have recorded many times for, or with, Martin Cayla.
An artistic success that didn’t stayed unremarked: both sides appear on the compilation CD accompanying the book Les Mémoires de Martin Cayla, as he actually sings on this record – too bad for the concept ! The B side, “Lou Bolontinou”, also appears on the compilation “Excavated Shellac: Reeds” released on Dust To Digital in 2015.

Sylvain Poujouly & Achille Marc “Lou Moridon Cotet”
Sylvain Poujouly & Achille Marc “Lou Bolontinou”

The Orchestre Momboisse-Canale on Le Soleil 293 consists of only Henry Momboisse (accordion) and E. Canale (guitar). Momboisse was a famous accordionist and recorded several times for Le Soleil, but also for Pathé and even later, during the vinyl records rise.
E. Canale appears sometimes with Momboisse on other records but I haven’t been able to find how successful he could have been during his musical career (not even his firt name !).
This side sounds very musette compared to the previous sides shared here. The musette, as a musical genre is fully part of the french musical culture. It takes some of its roots…in Auvergne ! But has been popularised at the parisian ballrooms of the 19th century, and beyond.

Orchestre Momboisse-Canale “La chanson de mes rêves”

Last but not least, Le Soleil 435, by two of Cayla’s nephews, Georges Cantournet and Marcel Bernard.
Georges Cantournet will have a pretty successful musical career until his premature death in 1961 at the age of 43. He also started his own record label: Festival.
Marcel Bernard will also have a career of his own, recorded quite a lot until the 70’s, but more as a hobby as he left the workshop after Cayla’s death in 1951 and became a tabacconist.
The vocals on side A are from some Miss S. Couderc, someone I haven’t been able to track down. Though, her accent shows she obvioulsy doesn’t come from Auvergne, she certainly is a parisian.
Both sides have been reissued on a Cantournet retrospective, probably available only on the french market.

Mme Couderc with Georges Cantournet & Marcel Bernard “Doucement”
Georges Cantournet & Marcel Bernard “Mazurka Des Familles”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s