New Orleans Music Buying Guide 2020

Be good to musicians and your friends’ ears by giving music this holiday. All new music on today’s show creating a guide to your music shopping. Many of these bands offer multiple formats and/or use Bandcamp. (Finding out how people listen to music is the hardest part about giving music these days but is it any tougher than guessing someone’s sweater size?)

You’ll find links to the bands, the name of their new record and the song I play in the same order of how you’ll hear them on the show. What are you waiting for? Get the show started and grab your credit card.

Kid Eggplant and the Trad MelataunsKid Eggplant and the Trad Melatauns Traditional style, but original songs with contemporary themes – “Blue Tooth Fairy”

Shake ’em Up Jazz BandThe Boy in the Boat – Swinging jazz by excellent musicians with vocals that make this record shine. “Say Si Si”

John “Papa” GrosCentral City – Former funkmaster gets playful in a very New Orleans way. “Please Don’t Bury Me.”

Smoking Time Jazz Club Mean Tones and High Notes – Jaw-dropping performances don’t get in the way of great song choices. Friction

Bon Bon Vivant – Dancing in Darkness – Abigail Cosio and partner Jeremy Kelley create community with fellow musicians and fans and emerge from the Year of COVID better than ever. “Dancing in Darkness” (radio edit)

New Orleans Jazz VipersIs There a Chance for Me  – If you can’t swing on Frenchmen Street, why not swing at home with the toast of Frenchmen Street. “Evenin'”

New Orleans Johnnys –  Outta Ya Mind – Rocking songs with a saxophone swing and lyrics embedded in New Orleans. “Outta Ya Mind”.

Putumayo Presents New Orleans Mambo -Putumayo’s nod to the “Spanish Tinge” of New Orleans music featuring the well-known (Dr. John and The Neville Brothers) and the should be well known (The Iguanas and Otro). “Nature Boy”

Lena Prima The Lena Prima Big Band, Live in Concert – As early records attest, Lena can write songs. She also can front a big band and honor her father’s legacy in a live Las Vegas show. “5 Months, 2 Weeks, 2 Days, Jump, Jive ‘an Wail.”

Bobby Rush Rawer than Raw – Bobby Rush demonstrates once again how to create amazingly simple yet deeply moving blues. “Smokestack Lightning”

New Orleans NightcrawlersAtmosphere  – First record in 11 years for this funky brass band and it nails a Grammy nomination. Don’t’ think; buy it. “Gentilly Groove”

Tuba SkinnyQuarantine Album: Unreleased B-Sides – You know the band’s talented when the rejects of three previous albums can sound this good. Available for download only on its bandcamp page. “Any Kind of Man”

The New Orleans Swinging GypsiesHot Boudin –  Another fine example of how New Orleans bands can put a fresh spin on a classic style. “Baby Brown”

Debbie Davis & Josh Paxton – Interesting Times – Second time around for this inspired duo. Davis’ velvet voice backed by Paxton’s sensitive piano touch that steals the show when unleashed, as in the opening track. “Will It Go Around in Circles.”

Jason MarsalisLive  – Recorded at Little Gem Saloon, Jason dazzles on the vibraphone. “At the House, In Da Pocket”

Charlie Halloran and the Tropicales – Shake the Rum – This hip trombonist/bandleader wears Calypso well, particularly when John Boutte sings. Oh, and he has a holiday record too. “Dorothy”

Glen David Andrews – Live from my Living Room  -His trombone has been part of Lil Rascals, New Birth and Treme Brass Bands. Now literally from his living room to yours. “Where We Gonna Go.”

Sierra Green & the Soul MachineSierra Green & the Soul Machine – Came out December of last year and by February, Offbeat Magazine recognized her as Emerging Artist of the Year. Then it all shut down. Damn COVID! “Get Up to Get Down”

Alex McMurray: Lucky One and also Road Songs – Through hard work, exploration and prolific creativity, Murray has weaved his songs into the New Orleans music canon. “Little Mercy”

Roland Guerin– Grass Roots – Artful studio release (came out in 2019) by this bass player who has worked with Allen Toussaint, Dr. John, Ellis Marsalis and George Benson. “After Math”

Slugger -Eclipse (EP)  – This funk, jazz group seemed to be hitting stride when COVID crashed down. They also released a live record Uncut Buzz from Maple Leaf Bar. “Praise Break”

Paul SanchezI’m a song, I’m a story, I’m a ghost  – Talented songwriter with a heart rendering voice and songs to match. “Great Wide Open World”

Michot’s Melody Makers: Cosmic Cajuns from Saturn: Live from the Saturn Bar, New Orleans Lost Bayou Rambler Louis Michot’s journey into new Cajun music frontiers continues with December 2019 performance at the Saturn. “Baionne”

The Abitals Hot Box – Perhaps if the Fab Four had come from Abita Springs, Louisiana and Lennon had played an accordion, they might have sounded like this. Original songs. “1000 Times”

Cowboy Mouth: Open Wide (EP) – Yes, the band still performs and records and these five tracks are an excellent edition to the band’s 30 year catalogue. “Oh Toulouse!”

Jack Sledge: Notes of a Drifter – Brooklyn rocker moves to New Orleans for the Gulf Coast experience. He’s not embedded yet but its still fun.

Sonny LandrethBlack Top Run– This studio release is what fans have come to expect – distinctive vocals and guitar. What one YouTube fan described as an eargasm. “The Wilds of Wonder”

Dr. Michel WhiteLive -Hear this accomplished clarinetist stretch out on Canal Street Blues, Summertime and others. “Caribbean Girl”

Shamarr Allen – Quarantine and Chill – Early on, Shamarr put a smile on quarantined faces with this sweet song and video. Show me your footwork!

The Write BrothersInto the Sky  – Second release by this collective of songwriters. This one barely got made given the health decline and death of Spencer Bohren. You won’t hear it on today’s show cause I haven’t gotten the CD yet. But subscribe and stay tuned. Louisiana Music Factory has just sent it off to me. Meanwhile, here is the story of the record’s making.

Tuck In for the 2020 Gumbo YaYa Thanksgiving Feast

I’m serving up several helpings of chicken, catfish and sweet potatoes along with some fried neck bones, cream beans and frim fram sauce. Tuck your napkin in, start the player below and lets eat!

Ghalia & Mama Boys start us off early with “4 a.m. Chicken.” Robert Ward brings on the second entree (Potato Soup) which is a good thing because the New Orleans Jazz Vipers then dish up “All Meat and No Potatoes.”

And that’s how it goes for two hours with double servings of Tin Men (“Avocado Woo Woo” and “Hard Candy”), Cyril Neville (“Cream them Beans” and “New Orleans Cookin”), Lee Dorsey (“Candy Yams” and “Shortnin’ Bread”) and Los Po-Boy Citos (“Sweet Tater Pie” and “Fried Neck Bones and Home Fries.”)

Are you getting enough to eat?

Actress Kim Dickens as Chef Desautel in the TV show “Treme”

How about Professor Longhair’s “Red Beans,” Kermit Ruffins’ “Chicken and Dumplings,” Dave Bartholomew’s “Shrimp and Gumbo” or the Radiators “Papaya.”

And yes, we finish with a nice helping of Jambalaya cooked up by Dr. Michael White. My best to you this holiday.

Show lowers the energy but not the enjoyment

This week’s show is an attempt to bring the energy down and relax. But it still will make you move. Listen to the New Orleans Suspects “Get It Started” by activating the player below.

Lately, I’ve had a twinge in my neck. It could be that my body is responding to an encroaching COVID and an entrenching Trump but it could also be that I just got carried away during my dance show two weeks ago. Either way, this week seemed like a good time to chillax a bit.

So after the Suspects get us moving with the opening number, we slide into a heart wrenching version of “Release Me” by the Shotgun Jazz Band with first the trombone and then the clarinet running us through the melody before Marla Dixon pleads “Please release me. . .let me go.” Six words have rarely spoken to me so clearly.

Sweet Cecelia – two sisters and a cousin sing Les Freres Guidry on this week’s show

And yet, there’s much more to enjoy in the show. Another highlight is Sweet Cecelia – two sisters and their cousin singing about their uncles and grandfather in very simple terms – albeit in Cajun French. In the show, I provide some translation.

Initially, I really questioned my use of Terence Higgins frenetic and funky “Barber Shop” but a chill show shouldn’t be all slow music. Our brains need to rest, not die. Afterall, we have to stay sharp for when the Zydepunks lay the haunting “Tumbalalaika” on us.

There’s a healthy helping of soul with Johnny Adams laying down “Who Will the Next Fool Be” (no political statement there. . .right.) And you’ll get to hear Carol Fran belt out her big hit “Emmitt Lee.” Much later, Irma Thomas, backed up by Marcia Ball and Tracy Nelson, sings “Woman on the Move.” “I don’t ever want to lose my ambition.” She got that right.

Also, sprinkled through the show are some sweet covers by John Rankin (“I’m Walkin'”), Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers (“Grits Ain’t Groceries”), and the Neville Brothers (“Caravan”)

I hope you enjoy listening. (did you forget to start the player? Go back up and click the Mixcloud arrow.) Leave a comment if you have any suggestions.. Thank you for tuning in.

Recognizing New Orleans Veterans, a few Peace Songs

This week’s show is a Gumbo YaYa send up of Louisiana musicians whose careers intersected with the military in honor of Veterans Day. Please be advised that while I honor our veterans, I do not honor war.

The show starts with Louis Prima’s rendition of “White Cliffs of Dover” – a WW II era song that uses the air battle over Britain following the fall of France as its backdrop. A scary time for the world.

My earliest experience with a war veteran is my father, a professor and administrator at Tulane whose life was punctuated and shortened by anxiety episodes that were eventually traced to his two years as a blimp pilot during World War II.

Veterans pay a price for our collective foreign policy actions and we owe them for the burden they carry. Today, you’ll hear the music of those Louisiana musicians who served in the military while also spinning music that seeks a more peaceful approach to our conflicts.

Saxophonist Herb Hardesty served with the famed Tuskegee Airmen.

The first vet you’ll hear is Ellis Marsalis Jr. who was a member of the Marine Corps. And while the next number is by Fats Domino, his song features the rocking saxophone of Herb Hardesty a WW II member of the Tuskegee Airmen — the all-black 99th Flying Squadron.

You also hear Lloyd Price, whose musical career was red hot when he was drafted and sent to Korea. By the time Price returned to the music scene, Little Richard and many others had grabbed the limelight. 

Lloyd Price was hitting the charts with “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” when he was sent to Korea.

Lee Dorsey and Dale Hawkins both served on Navy destroyers. Dorsey was injured in an air attack during World War II. Hawkins lied about his age and served during the Korean War. Edgar Blanchard served in Europe in World War II. Rockin’ Tabby Thomas was in the Army between World War II and the Korean War. Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was in the Army Corps of Engineers.

Al “Carnival Time” Johnson lost legal control of his hit song during his stint with the Army at Fort Bliss. Red Alvin Tyler and Eddie Bo also served in the Army. Chuck Carbo was in the Coast Guard. Paul Gayten directed an Army band during his military service. Al Hirt was in the service during World War II and played the bugle (no surprise there).

Because the draft ended, its harder to find younger musicians with military service. However, Derrick Moss, drummer and co-founder of Soul Rebels Brass Band, references his Air Force Reserve service on the band’s website. You’ll hear music from all these veterans, and more.

Smoky Greenwell’s “Power of Peace,” Louis Ludwig’s “World Without War,” Black Bayou Construkt’s “Jones for War,” Dr. John’s “Lay My Burden Down,” Gina Forsyth “4th of July,” the Subdudes’ “Lonely Soldier,” Meschiya Lake’s “I’ll Wait for You” and other songs wrap around the songs of these veterans with the message that the best way we can honor war veterans is to avoid creating more of them.

By the way, I did a similar show three years ago. And my list of veteran musicians has grown since that show . . .as it will when I next to do this show. For instance, I’ve just learned Dennis Paul Williams, artist and guitarist with Nathan and the Zydeco Cha Chas served as a Marine in Japan. Thank you for listening.

Time for Gumbo YaYa Dance Show

Maybe the election made you happy, maybe not. But if we all dance, life will be better. It’s a dance party on this week’s Gumbo YaYa starting with Deacon John Moore’s rocking “Jumpin’ in the Morning.”

I’m going to keep this post brief. I selected a variety of music including swing, jazz, rock, zydeco, and brass bands because its music that puts a hop to my step, makes me want to shake my butt, and get those endorphins flowing. It’s a post-election show that I put together before I knew the results. I figured no matter what the results, dancing would help.

On this show you’ll hear: Trombone Shorty, Corey Henry, Rebirth Brass Band, Percy Mayfield, Sierra Green, Erica Falls, Terrance Simien, Buckwheat Zydeco, BeauSoleil, Yvette Landry, Tin Men, New Orleans Nightcrawlers, New Orleans Johnnys, New Orleans Vipers, and the New Orleans Gipsy Swingers. Oh, there’s much more – – 120 minutes of heart elevating boogie. Let me know what you think and please consider subscribing. Cheers.

New Orleans music is comfortable with crossing to the other side

New Orleanians have no trouble remembering their dead — most cemeteries in the city feature above ground crypts creating a daily reminder for those who pass by them. And the city has three centuries of dead to honor. This week’s show celebrates the Day of the Dead .

When I was a kid in New Orleans, I always had the day after Halloween off. I attended Our Lady of Lourdes on Napoleon Avenue and like all Catholic Schools at the time, Lourdes recognized All Saints Day by giving us a school holiday. At the time, I just thought the nuns wanted to give us a break after a night full of knocking on doors and jacking up on candy. Later I learned how religious holidays tend to congregate around earlier non-Christian based celebrations — in this case Samhain is often cited as the genesis for Halloween, All Saints Day and the more populist — All Souls Day. And then there is Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead) which in Mexican culture is a time to remember friends and family who have died.

This show isn’t just about remembering our dead; several of the songs address preparing for death: Spencer Bohren (who died last year of cancer) sings “Ghost Train,” Tangle Eye’s “O Death,” John Scofield’s New Orleans recorded song “The Angel of Death,” and the jazz standard for mortality “St. James Infirmary” by Ingrid Lucia and James Andrews.

You’ll also hear Coco Robicheaux’s “Walking with the Spirit,” Treme Brass Band’s “I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead” and an edited-for-radio version of the Dirty Bourbon River Show song “All My Friends Are Dead.” The song in this show that perhaps best represents the practice of remembering someone who has died, is Yvette Landry’s song about her father “Fishing’s Better Anyway.”

But wait, in a two-hour radio show, you get more – Zombies (Diablo’s Horns), Voodoo (several songs including Dash Rip Rock’s pre-Amazon mail order Voodoo Doll) and, of course, Morgus the Magnificent. Yes, I’ve written a whole post on him and just featured him when Sidney Noel Rideau (the actor who created and portrayed Morgus) died. But its a tradition to include him in this show and this one features a short snippet of an early skit he performed with his sidekick Chopsley.

Thanks for reading all the way to this point. Perhaps you’ll consider subscribing. I do shows every week. My best to you and your loved ones who passed on.

Helping you vote with music from New Orleans – Part Two

With two weeks left before election day, over 800,000 ballots in my state have been turned in. Turnout is even stronger where this show is broadcast with ballots turned in by nearly one out of three voters. Over 42 million have already voted nationwide. Wow!

For those who haven’t voted yet, here’s music to vote . . .or to listen to while waiting to vote.

This week’s songs, like last week’s songs, are selected to get you into a frame of mind for exercising your right to vote, starting with John Boutte’s cover of “A Change is Gonna Come” — a song inspired by a racist experience when Sam Cooke attempted to check into a Shreveport motel.

The Meters gives us “People Say” to start the first full set and Leyla McCalla puts Langston Hughes words to music with “Song for a Dark Girl.” It’s a set designed to remind us that its been a long, long journey for racial equity and justice and we’re not done yet. This set finishes with The Neville Brothers’ “Sons and Daughters (Reprise)” and Rebirth Brass Band’s “Take it to the Street.”

Allen Toussaint’s sings “We Are America”

Allen Toussaint starts “Yes We Can Can” by singing “We are America” to a New Orleans Jazz Fest audience. His song enlivens a second half hour set of music that includes The Hot 8 Brass Band’s “Working Together,” Marcia Ball’s “World Full of Love,” Smoky Greenwell’s “Get Out and Vote,” and Tab Benoit and Dr. John doing “We Ain’t Gonna Lose No More.”

In the second half of the show, Davis Rogan’s “Joe Biden Will Do Just Fine” pairs nicely with Paula and The Pontiacs doing “Play to Win.” Eric Lindell follows up with “Revolution” as in a revolution in our heart. New Orleans Suspects offers up “Whatcha Gonna Do” and Dr. Michael White delivers “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child.”

The show ends with an amazing Louis Armstrong cover of John Lennon’s “Give Peace a Chance.” Amazing because first it was recorded less than a year after Lennon and Yoko Ono recorded the original Second, its clearly a funk version which is unusual for Armstrong who would live only a year after the release of this song. And finally, the song comes across so well, particularly for the vibe I was going for. Let me know what you think.

Music to Inspire Voting (or listen to while waiting to vote)

The 2020 voting season is upon us. Every voter in Washington should have received a ballot by now so I’ve compiled for today’s show (and next week’s) a soundtrack for completing your ballot or, if you live in one of those states that hasn’t mastered mail balloting yet, music to help you wait in line to vote.

This show includes songs of optimism such as Eric Lindell’s “Love and Compassion” which he released at the start of the Obama administration as well as the less rosy (but still oddly upbeat)”Ship is Sinking” — a new release by Bon Bon Vivant.

Yes, I placed Delfeayo Marsalis’ “Make America Great Again,” George Porter Jr.’s “Careful Who You Idolize” and Kevin Sekhani’s “Ballad of a Lonely Clown” together on purpose. I make no endorsements on this show.

Voting lines in Georgia. Here in Washington, ballots come in the mail.

My world affair set includes C.J. Chenier’s “We Gotta Have Peace” and Louis Ludwig’s “God Hates Flags” along with a rare broadcast of “Whistleblower” by The Monocle (aka Aurora Nealand).

Davis Rogan jumps in with his latest song “Joe Biden Will Do Just Fine” where he urges all of us who supported one of the many other Democratic candidates for the nomination to suck it up and vote for Joe and Kamala. By the way Davis, I also was a Jesse Jackson supporter, elected as one of his alternate precinct delegates back when this state still held caucuses.

There’s an economy set as well with Leyla McCalla’s “Money is King,” Big Sam’s Funky Nation’s rendition of “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further,” The Big Dixie Swingers with “I Haven’t Got a Pot” and I reach far back into the last century for Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown’s “Please Mr. Nixon.”

You can be assured that this show does not harangue you about voting. If you’re reading this, you don’t need to be convinced. On KAOS, my show follows Democracy Now! — how could you listen to that show and not want to vote. This is simply about entertaining and providing some inspiration while you ponder your choices for 2020. Let me know what you think.

All-Female Gumbo YaYa for 2020

It’s another all-female show this week featuring some new artists as well as, for me at least, some newly rediscovered. You can listen to it now or whenever you wish from the player below. (Show airs in Olympia Thursday mornings and Bellingham Friday evenings)

New artists on this show for me include Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band, Topsy Chapman, Elizabeth Joan Kelly, the Boswell Sisters, Sierra Green, Tiffany Pollack and Carsie Blanton. As usual, I include songs by Marva Wright, Lena Prima, Irma Thomas and the Original Pinettes Brass Band.

Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band

Each year, doing the show gets a lot easier. In fact, in my initial music pull for this show, I had twice as much music as I needed. But the music industry, like most of our economy, is still tilted toward men. Things are improving but we’re not there yet. It’s a good year to vote.

Digging deep for October New Orleans music show

For this week’s show, I casually thumbed (digitally) through my collection of roughly 15,000 songs -almost all from Louisiana and mostly from New Orleans. I selected mostly songs that I haven’t played in awhile if at all, including breaking into a new release by a band I just got acquainted with The New Orleans Johnnys. You can start the show now which begins with Jon Cleary doing “Big Greasy.”

The Beatles hanging with Fats Domino

After Cleary sings and I get on to say “hi,” I play Paul McCartney’s version of “I Want To Walk You Home” from the two-disc Fats Domino tribute release. There’s no secret of the high affection McCartney has for Domino. And McCartney’s rendition of the song can best be described as loving. And there’s much more to love in that same set including Irma Thomas covering Nora Jones’ “Thinking About You” and Alex McMurray’s “The Get Go.”

The second set includes two great jams, one from a band not from New Orleans but is well regarded there. I pulled “Once You’re There” by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe from a live recording featured on a WWOZ release. Charlie Wooton Project follows it with “Fulton Alley” — providing over 16 minutes of fine musicianship.

Because the COVID-19 restrictions are still keeping me from the KAOS studio, my shows are not broadcast live allowing me to do longer sets and fewer breaks. And this week, I did some deep dives for music by John “Papa” Gros, Herlin Riley, Little Sonny Jones, Lil Rascals Brass Band, Helen Gillet, and Theryl “Houseman” DeClouet.

Near the end of the show, I do two tracks by The New Orleans Johnnys which I believe used to perform under the moniker “N’awlins Johnnys.” If so, I appreciate the change. They’re not a gimmicky band for tourist. Thier new album “Outta Ya Mind” delivers original New Orleans funk rock songs. I look forward to hearing more from them. You’ll also hear another track from the latest record by the prolific octogenarian Bobby Rush.

Oh, I forgot to mention the reason for the moon picture on the Mixcloud bar. Miss Sophie Lee sings “Blue Moon.” Tonight is a full moon which means later in the month, we’ll get another one . . . a blue moon. Cheers. Drop me line and consider subscribing.