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Nathan Abshire

Nathan Abshire (June 27, 1913 – May 13, 1981) was an American Cajun accordion player. His time in the U.S. Army inspired Abshire to write the crooner song "Service Blues", which the newspaper Daily World reported as "one of his most memorable tearjerkers". After the war, he settled in Basile, Louisiana, where he played regularly at the Avalon Club. He released his best-known record, "Pine Grove Blues", in 1949. Abshire's music became more well known outside of Louisiana at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival. Abshire was never able to write so he was unable to sign autographs, resulting in him having to politely decline the requests. Despite thoughts of Abshire being "arrogant or stuck-up" for not signing autographs, he was unable to read and write. However, Abshire was taught how to write his own signature by Barry Jean Ancelet. Despite receiving more income from music than the majority of Cajun musicians, Abshire was not able to entirely depend on that income to live on. Abshire had multiple jobs during his life and his final job was working as the custodian of the town's dump. Abshire's legacy continued after his death in the form of a museum, a book, and a magazine special issue.

After Abshire's wife declined to have his accordion on display at the Smithsonian Institution in 1983, the accordion was displayed at the Cajun Music Hall of Fame in Eunice, Louisiana in 1996. In 1984, a book titled The Makers of Cajun Music featured Abshire among the musicians. Abshire's former home was made into a renovated museum while also being moved to nearby Basile City Hall. In 2013, the fall edition of the magazine Louisiana Cultural Vistas had 8 pages about "Abshire's life, his love, and his music".

Birth and Death Data: Born June 27, 1913 (Gueydan), Died May 13, 1981 (Basile)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1935

Roles Represented in DAHR: accordion, vocalist

Notes: Bluebird disc labels credit him as Nason Absher.

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-94408 10-in. 8/10/1935 Gueydan breakdown Nason Absher ; Rayne-Bo Ramblers String band instrumentalist, accordion  
Victor BS-94409 10-in. 8/10/1935 La valse de Riceville Rayne-Bo Ramblers String band, with male vocal solo and shouts vocalist, instrumentalist, accordion  
Victor BS-94410 10-in. 8/10/1935 One step de Morse Rayne-Bo Ramblers String band instrumentalist, accordion  
Victor BS-94411 10-in. 8/10/1935 French blues Nason Absher ; Rayne-Bo Ramblers String band, with male vocal solo and shouts vocalist, instrumentalist, accordion  
Victor BS-94412 10-in. 8/10/1935 One-step de Laccissine Nason Absher ; Rayne-Bo Ramblers String band instrumentalist, accordion  
Victor BS-94413 10-in. 8/10/1935 La valse de Boutte Dechuminen Nason Absher ; Rayne-Bo Ramblers String band, with male vocal solo vocalist, instrumentalist, accordion  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Abshire, Nathan," accessed February 27, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103607.

Abshire, Nathan. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved February 27, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103607.

"Abshire, Nathan." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 27 February 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/103607

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