May 19, 2022

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‘She motivated me’: Acadiana musicians recall famous blues artist Carol Fran | Amusement/Existence

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It was 1957 and on her debut single, Carol Fran asks the title character of her bluesy/swamp pop track, Emmitt Lee, “Don’t you remember me?”

Well, he did not.

And it would be his decline as Fran went on producing music, singing and participating in the piano and touring for decades on close, much to the delight of her blues and R&B fans that stretched from Louisiana to Europe and spots in-between.

However, on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021, for these very same followers, as properly as musicians, good friends and family members in Acadiana, they would practical experience serious lifetime decline as Fran died at 87 years previous.

“She was a performer,” reported zydeco/blues musician Important Useful, who recalled his initially impression of Fran when he saw her at Just after Dim, a restaurant/tunes venue on Johnston Avenue, lots of many years in the past: “She’s a badass, guy.”

The practical experience acquired Handy’s awareness.

“She impressed me to be a superior musician. I was type of younger and coming up,” he stated. “But when I listened to her enjoy that jazz and play with that band, oh, person, that was bad. That was awesome. Adjusted my globe.”

In 2013, Fran was awarded a Nationwide Endowment for the Arts’National Heritage Fellow. She received the Louisiana Governor’s Arts Award for People Artist of the Yr in 2006. In 2008, Lafayette City-Parish Council honored Fran with the Distinguished Citizen Award. She obtained the Trim Harpo Blues Award for Woman Legend of the Year in 2012.

There was additional to Fran than her singing, songwriting and piano enjoying there was the generate and assurance that she embodied, a single she tried out to imprint on fellow musicians that is necessary to make it in the world of songs.

“She was a loving girl, but she was also extremely tricky,” said John Williams, whose Blue Monday Mission, an early night of music and food held at Lafayette Rock ’N’ Bowl the next Monday of the month, that offers life treatment providers for getting older, retired and elder musicians and artists.

“That’s what she had to do to navigate that earth. I can only picture what she went by means of,” Williams stated. “She didn’t get no mess she didn’t allow people today handle her unfair. She did not let it.

“That fairly a lot sums up her character the way that I understood her,” he reported. “She demanded regard.”

Williams claimed Fran “never classified herself as a blues musician or nearly anything like that. She would say I’m a singer. She didn’t place her self in bins.

“She was was a musician and it was what she went by means of in her daily life is what gave her the spirit of her lyrics. It gave her what she required to do.”

Williams claimed Fran encouraged younger musicians to obtain their individual way with their possess audio.

“Miss Carol would get on them: ‘You don’t participate in like any individual else,” he said. “You can hear for some form of inspiration, but you will need to find your have voice.”

Becky Schexnayder interviewed Fran for a venture on the J.D. Miller Audio Recording Studio for the Town of Crowley. The interview continued a dozen several years via tours, meal and just hanging out and it birthed the documentary, “Carol Fran: Tous Les Jours C’Pas La Meme (Every Working day Is Not The Same)” that was screened previously this calendar year.

“I was blown away by her tale,” Schexnayder stated. “We turned actually, really close. So much that she would introduce me as her daughter. That was definitely sweet.”

Schexnayder claimed there were being rough situations, far too, “but she can be genuinely sweet and she definitely does have a large coronary heart.”

Fran started her job at 15 yrs outdated and was in Bourbon Avenue clubs four many years afterwards. She invested three decades in Juarez, Mexico, honing her techniques and on returning to the U.S., toured with, amongst other individuals, Guitar Slender, Joe Tex, Don Conway Orchestra and later on with her partner, Clarence Holliman, who died in 2000.

“We missing so a lot. We missing a lot getting rid of her,” said Schexnayder. “She loved her metropolis, she beloved her individuals, she loved her heritage, she liked executing for persons.

“It’s heading to be a authentic loss for Lafayette,” she explained.

In the early 1990s, Fran hosted Diva Nights, held at 307 Jazz & Blues in downtown and invited Aycock to be a part of the line-up. As the title of the program signifies, it showcased gals.

“At that level, we became good pals due to the fact she involved me,” Aycock said. “And, of training course, I was honored for Carol Fran to do that.”

Fran’s husband and new music lover, guitarist Clarence Holliman died in 2000 and then her mom passed the next 12 months. Aycock was there for her.

When Aycock’s partner, Greg Fleniken, was killed in Texas in a weird gunfire incident 2010, Fran returned the favor.

“Carol held my hand at my husband’s funeral. I was like spouse and children to Carol,” she claimed. “We deemed every single other family members. There was just a bond there.

“She knew what it was like and what I’d be going by obtaining lost her partner,” said Aycock. “And listed here it was my flip. I’ll never ever ignore that and she in no way let go of my hand. I liked her. She was dear.”

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