Isidore Soucy

Isidore Soucy. Fiddler, composer, b Ste-Blandine, near Rimouski, Que, 7 Sep 1899, d Montreal 7 Dec 1963. In his teens the best fiddler in his hometown, Isidore Soucy went to Montreal in 1924. He worked for the city until 1926, when he first recorded for Starr.

Soucy, Isidore

Isidore Soucy. Fiddler, composer, b Ste-Blandine, near Rimouski, Que, 7 Sep 1899, d Montreal 7 Dec 1963. In his teens the best fiddler in his hometown, Isidore Soucy went to Montreal in 1924. He worked for the city until 1926, when he first recorded for Starr. Soucy started his radio career in Montreal on CKAC in the 1920s and performed in Conrad Gauthier's Veillées du bon vieux temps at the Monument national. Beginning in the 1930s Soucy was heard on many radio shows as the leader or a member of several popular groups, among them les Vive-la-joie (the 'Revellers,' a duo with the accordionist Donat Lafleur that recorded for Starr and Bluebird), and the Famille Soucy and Trio Soucy (both of which included Soucy's son Fernando - singer, fiddler, b Montreal 5 Jul 1927, d Repentigny, Que, 2 Aug 1975).

The Famille Soucy, completed by Isidore Soucy's wife, Laura, and their other children Fernande, Thérèse, Eugène, and Marie-Ange, had great success with their 78-rpm recordings for RCA of 'Des fraises et des framboises' in 1949 and 'Prendre un verre de bière, mon minou' in 1950, the latter selling more than 100,000 copies, an exceptional figure for the day. The family performed in Montreal nightclubs, had a nightly program in 1956 on CKVL Verdun, and made its TV debut on NBC while touring in the US. Its 'Chez Isidore,' seen 1960-2 on CFTM TV Montreal, was the most popular TV variety show of its day in Quebec. The Trio Soucy (Isidore, Fernando, and the accordionist René Alain), formed in 1949, also worked in Montreal nightclubs and recorded for RCA. After Isidore's death, Fernando continued to perform. He led the Famille Soucy in concert at Expo 67.

Recordings

Isidore Soucy's discography is extensive. He is reported to have made some 1200 recordings. Besides 78s for Starr, Columbia and Bluebird, LPs of reissued and new material were released under his own name and that of the Famille Soucy by Dominion, Gala, and MCA. Soucy was included in MCA's Héritage québécois series (2 vols, MCAC-20572 in 1989, and MCAC-20581 in 1990). Some of his recordings with Lafleur were reissued by Carnival. Fernando Soucy made two LPs of music by his father, Les Veillées du bon vieux temps for Dominion (LPS-48001, LPS-48010) and others with the Famille Soucy for Catalogne.


Further Reading

  • 'Étonnant succès d'un petit refrain des faubourgs,' Montreal Petit Journal, 12 Feb 1950

    Laframboise, Phil. 'Avec un violon payé $125 en 1924 il est devenu millionnaire du disque en 1962,' Telé-Radiomonde, 20 Oct 1962

    Labbé, Gabriel. Pionniers du disque folklorique québécois: 1920-1993 (Montreal 1995)