Cajun Fiddler [28 Apr 1918 - 10 Nov 1992]
One of the greatest Acadian fiddlers, Oran “Doc” Guidry was born in Lafayette, LA on 28 April 1918. Originally recording with Happy Fats and the Rayne-Bo Ramblers for the Bluebird Label in 1936, he broke away to form the Sons of the Acadians band with his brother Nason and cousin Ray Guidry. In 1938 this family string band recorded for Decca Records under Dave Kap at the Ritz Hotel in Houston, TX.
Gradually Doc Guidry built up a strong local reputation because of his superb ability on the fiddle and mandolin. He set the standard for many musicians who came later. During Jimmie Davis’ successful campaigns for governor in 1944 and 1960, Doc Guidry was the featured instrumentalist that added the winning touch in Cajun Country.
In 1946 Doc Guidry, along with Happy Fats and the Boys, cut the first record for Jay Miller’s Fais Do Do Label. Recorded at Cosimo Matassa’s New Orleans studio, this album included such vintage songs as Colinda and Chere Cherie - a Doc Guidry trademark. Doc and Jay rewrote the original Haitian Danse Colinda song into a typical Cajun beat and then recorded it. Although the original recording never sold well, Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis later recorded the song and it took off - becoming a favorite Cajun hit even today.
Using this recording session as a springboard, Jay Miller later opened his own recording studio in Crowley, LA that led to the explosion of Cajun music on the national scene. Doc Guidry and Happy Fats recorded many Cajun hits over the years on Jay Miller’s Fais Do Do Label including New Jolie Blond, Crowley Two-Step, La Valse de Hadacol and Fais Do Do Breakdown. Happy, Doc and the Boys remained Jay’s star act for many years.
After World War II, with jobs hard to find, Happy Fats teamed up with Doc Guidry for broadcasting and recording. Doc’s superb fiddling added to the success of this venture. During the 1950’s hardly a radio was not tuned to the Happy Fats and Doc Guidry show - at one time being heard on seven radio stations. They even played the “Cradle of the Stars” - the Louisiana Hayride - a few times. Known among the country music industry as the stepping-stone to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, TN, the Shreveport-based Louisiana Hayride was a widely popular radio show nationwide. Stars such as Hank Williams and Elvis Presley first appeared on the Louisiana Hayride stage.
In the 1960’s Doc began playing and recording with Vin Bruce on Floyd Soileau’s Swallow Label. Their first album together in 1961, Vin Bruce Sings Jolie Blon and Cajun Classics, was widely successful and made Jolie Blon a hit all over again. The key ingredient to the album’s success was Doc Guidry’s phenomenal fiddling. Doc relocated to Houma, LA during this period where he worked as a Terrebonne Parish Deputy Sheriff.
Along with Cajun greats Dewey Balfa and Rufus Thibodeaux, Doc Guidry made the cajun fiddle popular to the younger generation of the 1970’s and beyond. Doc ended his recording career on Carol Rachou’s La Louisiane Label out of Lafayette, LA. Oran “Doc” Guidry left the Cajun music scene and this life on 10 November 1992 and is buried in St. John the Evangelist Catholic Cemetery in Lafayette, LA. In 1997 Doc was selected as a charter inductee into the Cajun French Music Association Hall of Fame in Eunice, LA.