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Leo Soileau

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  • Born: Ville Platte, LA
  • Died: Ville Platte, LA
  • Years Active: 1920s, 1930s


Biography All Music Guide

All Music Guide:

Leo Soileau was one of the dominant Cajun musicians of the 1930s and early '40s. His more than 100 recordings included such influential tunes as "Hackberry Hop," "La Gran Mamou," La Valse De Gueydan," and his greatest hit, "Jolie Blonde." Taught the fiddle by influential Cajun fiddlers Dennis McGee and Sady Courville, Soileau made his recording debut, in 1928, when he joined with accordionist Mayeus Lafleur to record the second Cajun record ever, "He Mon." Following Lafleur's death, nine days later, he teamed with accordionist Moise Robin. He also recorded, in the late '20s, with the Soileau Couzens. Forming his own band, the Three Aces, with rhythm guitarists Floyd Shreve or Dewey Landry and bassist/drummer Tony Gonzalez in the early '30s, Soileau expanded the group into a quartet, the Four Aces, in 1934. They later became the Rhythm Boys. The group drove to Chicago in 1941 to record the first of nearly 100 songs in the Windy City. Soileau remained active in the early '40s, recording with Leo Soileau's Rhythm Boys. Dropped by Decca when the label decided to stop recording Cajun musicians at the beginning of World War II, the group continued to perform at the Silver Star Club in Lake Charles for eight years. Shifting to the Showboat Club in Orange, TX, the band continued to play together for another two years. Although Soileau and the group appeared frequently on the radio, they never recorded again. In the late '40s, Soileau left music to work with his brothers in a general contracting firm in Ville Platte. He died in August 1980.