Mac (Dr. John) and Spencer Bohren tributes highlight show

New Orleans lost two well-regarded musical artists in early June. One you know about and one you should know about. Get the show started to hear what they have to offer

Mac Rebennak’s death on June 6 at age 77 garnered international headlines. The Jesuit High School dropout was a regular presence at the J&M Studios during its heyday and later joined the secret “Wrecking Crew” of studio fame. While he rocketed to fame with his Dr. John the day tripper persona in the late 60’s and early 70’s, it was his commitment to the New Orleans funk, R&B and groove that endeared him to his hometown.

Today’s show features his singing as well as his ability on guitar and piano. The show kicks off with him singing a Davell Crawford number, with the younger songwriter playing piano. Then we go to one of the first songs he wrote, performed by Jerry Byrne, “Light’s Out.” From there, you will hear “Storm Warning” an instrumental that shows off his guitar licks (before he lost a part of finger (fret hand) to a gunshot.

Other sets includes Dr. John singing and/or playing piano with Irma Thomas, Sonny Landreth, and Tab Benoit. In all, its close to a full hour of his music.

Spencer Bohren from crowd-funding website designed to help pay for his cancer treatment.

Then we turn to Spencer Bohren, a singer-songwriter who was born in Wyoming with ties to the Northwest but moved to New Orleans as a young man with his wife in the 70’s. He gained fame throughout the city and in Europe but is not nearly as well known as Mac Rebennak. Bohren died two days after Dr. John and left a strong library of solo performances as well as collaborative efforts. You’ll hear three of his solo songs, two songs he wrote for “The Write Brothers” and a rousing performance in the rockabilly group he was part of “Rory Danger and the Danger Dangers.”

The show offers some previews of performances coming to the northwest with songs by the Soul Rebels, Chubby Carrier and Trombone Shorty. I finish the show with Dr. John’s performance with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band “It’s All Over Now.”

I hope you enjoy and please subscribe.

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Two extended JazzFest performances anchors this week’s show

Champion Jack Dupree and Sam Williams couldn’t be more different in their style of music but they hold a common ground as dear to them as it is to my show: New Orleans. And I feature knock out JazzFest performances by both of them in this week’s show. Go ahead get it started.

Big Sam of Big Sam’s Funky Nation kicked off his 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival performance with a nearly 12-minute song he titled “Play Them Funky Horns” a mash up of songs that even includes a few bars of “Liza Jane.” It’s a nice preview for his upcoming performance in Portland (Mississippi Studios) and Seattle (Tractor Tavern) next week. That song kicks off the first full set on this show and will get you moving — guaranteed.

Twenty festivals previously, in 1990, Champion Jack Dupree sat on the stage — his first return to New Orleans in over 30 years of living in Europe — with a master of ceremonies Allen Toussaint — whose job was to interview the long-missed expatriate — one of the few remaining original barrelhouse piano maestros. During a soulful number called “Bring Me Flowers While I’m Living,” Dupree is joined by a Toussaint who lays in on the high side of the keys some pretty flourishes.

The duo continue through that song and into a boogie woogie number that ended with Dupree (80 plus years old at that time) getting up demonstrating is own boogie woogie moves that included some incredible abdominal exertions. The performances has been available in video online for years and this year the Smithsonian Folkways included the performance in its five-disk retrospective in honor of the 50th annual JazzFest. You’ll find that song in the second hour of the show.

In between, the show features performances by Jon Cleary, Shamarr Allen, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Dwayne Dopsie, Frog and Henry, Leyla McCalla, Dana Abbott, Galactic and The Crooked Vines (just to name a few).

I also celebrate Little Joe Gaines 100th birthday anniversary by playing his two solo numbers by Mercury, including “Snuff Dipper.”

Check out whose playing the Northwest this summer here.

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Southern heat and area festivals create a parade of musicians

I just updated my website’s concert calendar page for bands from New Orleans (which for me includes Lafayette area) and this week’s show features those bands coming to visit us. Get it started and I’ll tell you more.

Jon Cleary won’t be coming here soon but his song “Bringing Back the Home” captures the spirit of my show with the chorus of “jazz, funk, rhythm and blues and soul” so it kicks off today’s show. The second set starts with Trombone Shorty who will be in Seattle and Portland in July. Chubby Carrier takes a turn on the next set. His band will be playing the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival in July, along with Cyril Neville also featured on the show. Sonny Landreth, a Northwest regular visitor, will perform at The Triple Door in June and then come back in August to play in Mt. Vernon.

The Vancouver Folk Festival in British Columbia will host Dwayne Dopsie and the Rebirth Brass Band . Portland’s Pickathon will host Preservation Hall Jazz Band. And the Portland Acoustic Blues Workshop/Festival will have Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and Frog and Henry. All these acts are featured in the show.

Go to my calendar page to find the actual dates and locations.

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Show keeps jazzing to maintain NOLA music credential

Often when people hear about my New Orleans music show they assume its a jazz show. It’s not. And I occasionally worry that I let them down with my wide mix of blues, Mardi Gras Indian, rock, swamp pop, cajun, folk, hip hop, R&B with some jazz thrown in. Today’s show is for those folks. You can listen to it while I ramble on.

The New Orleans Owls (circa 1922) played primarily in The Roosevelt Hotel

For the first hour, this show features traditional New Orleans jazz with Bunk Johnson, Preservation Hall Jazz Band (listen for the Tiger roars!), Jelly Roll Morton, Tuba Skinny, Aurora Nealand and the Royal Roses, King Oliver and a couple of obscure tracks from a Smithsonian Folkways album featuring 1920’s era dance hall bands from New Orleans. I finish with a bit of Cuban jazz by New Orleans resident Alexey Marti.

The second hour starts with a recognition of the little known Adolph Smith, a tenor with a locally popular R&B group, The Monitors. He also wrote some songs sung by The Spiders. I finish the R&B set with songs by Davell Crawford and John Mooney.

Later in the show, I venture into the Bonerama does Led Zeppelin – including the amazing cover “Heartbreaker” featuring Matt Perrine’s sousaphone performance the defies gravity. I also play from Aurora Nealand’s modern piece The Monocle.

Thanks for tuning in.

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This Week’s Show Flaunts Its Horsepower

This week’s show features a set about cars and two sets on quadrupeds such as horses, ponies and mules. But really this show is about chilling out with some blues, folk, country and Americana. Get it started and I’ll tell you more.

Andrew Duhon kicks it off with his ode to New Orleans street fairs, inspired by stumbling across the Freret Street Fair while biking. AllDay Radio carries on the vibe with its “Pothole City,” Gina Forsyth takes a turn with “Somewhere Off the Foot of the Mountain” and the Subdudes finish the first full set with “Wedding Rites.”

I hit the Subdudes again later in the show since they’ll be performing in Seattle next week. (May 19th at The Triple Door). I also play Sonny Landreth’s “U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile” to anchor a set on cars. Landreth will be playing two nights at the Triple Door.

The horse sets started as a coincidence. When I build a playlist for a show, I often just go for songs I want to hear. I picked the Meter’s cover of “Ride Your Pony” and later pulled Spencer Bohren’s “Stone Pony Blues.” When I noticed that, it was easy to pull some other songs such as Benny Turner’s “Dont’ You Ride my Mule” and Bonerama’s energetic “High Horse.”

Stay with the show and you’ll hear some wonderful songs by Yvette Landry, Helen Gillet, Leyla McCalla, Jonathon Long and Shawn Williams. Thanks for listening and please consider subscribing so you can be notified of future shows.

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Mouth Watering Jazz Fest Food Inspires This Week’s Show

Perhaps the hardest part about listening to the WWOZ live feed of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival is hearing the on-air hosts talk about the food. Shrimp and lump crab ravigote, fried green tomatoes, catfish almondine, Key Lime tart, crawfish strudel — for starters. Listen to today’s show to be subjected to similar punishment with appropriate musical accompaniment.

Crawfish sack and crawfish beignets served by Patton’s Caterers at Jazz Fest this year.

The show starts with the basics of greens, gumbo, red beans and fried fish. Or put in terms of songs: Champion Jack Dupree’s “Cabbage Greens #1,” Rebirth Brass Band’s cover “Shrimp and Gumbo,” Professor Longhair’s “Red Beans” and Charmaine Neville’s inspired version of the the Louis Jordan classic “Saturday Night Fish Fry.”

During the air breaks you’ll hear descriptions of food sold by vendors at Jazz Fest such as fried crab cake with smoked tomato and jalapeno tartar, alligator pie, crabmeat stuff shrimp — just to name a few.

I do songs about catfish stew (Bobby Rush), chicken (C.J. Chenier) and a wide range of other songs from coffee to sweet potatoes.

Crawfish strudel with white chocolate bread pudding served by Cottage Catering at Jazz Fest this year.

At one point, I list off all the dishes served at Jazz Fest that have crawfish in it. There’s lot of them as well as good old spicy boiled crawfish where you “Suck the Heads and Squeeze the Tip” following the Radiator’s song advice.

I also do a sweet set and list of menu items on desserts near the end. So stay with the whole show. And thanks for tuning in.

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Rolling Stones Replaced By the Real Thing

The Rolling Stones might not be playing this year’s 50th Annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival as originally planned but you can hear many of the New Orleans songs they covered in today’s show (click this link to hear the show if you don’t see the player below).

Mick Jagger’s health issues cancelled the Stone’s North American tour so I thought this week’s show, aired right as the gates were opening at the race track where Jazz Fest is held, should feature the great New Orleans songs covered by this great rock n roll band over its lengthy career. I started with “Fortune Teller”, using the snaky version by The Iguanas. Dale Hawkins takes it from there with “Suzie Q,” followed by Irma Thomas’ “Time Is On My Side,” Larry Williams’ “She Said Yea” and Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips.” He comes back later to sing “I’m a King Bee.”

I also feature a cover by Erica Falls of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” because apparently that band was arranged as a fill in for the Stone but bailed when Stevie Nicks had health issues. Damn, we’re getting old.

Perhaps my favorite pairing of songs in the show is Maria Muldaur’s rendition of Danny Barker’s “Now You’re Down in the Alley” followed by Antoine Diel’s robust “Hallelujah, I Love You So.”

Stay with me to the end to hear the Radiator’s Jazz Fest performance of “7 Devils”. This live recording was captured in 2006 at the first festival after Hurricane Katrina. I was lucky enough to catch that performance. What I can’t recreate was the amazing healing vibe that was going on throughout the field as New Orleanians who just gone through a lot of pain, swayed to their favorite hometown jam band. I could sense their return to home.

Thanks for tuning in.

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Fish Song Highlights Last Day of Pledge Drive Show

This show helped anchor the last day of the KAOS Spring Pledge Drive. I cut out all the pledge drive jabber but if you feel inclined to support KAOS, here’s how you do it. But you don’t need to pledge to listen the show, just click the arrow in the the Mixtape box below. (something has happened to the embedded feature for mixcloud so here’s a link directly to the podcast.)

Harvesting Menhadden.

To reward myself for doing hosting two pledge shows during this 10-day Spring Drive, I finally bought the album and discovered that there are some other amazing tracks on the release, including the fifth song on this show. The recording is of North Carolina fishermen singing a chantey that they used to sing when hauling in menhaden fish. Here’s a bit more about that fishery. The producers noticed an island lilt to the singing and turned it into a reggae-style number with Trombone Shorty providing some great tracks. I pair that song with a couple of other reggae-influenced New Orleans performances.

Given all the pledge drive appeals that were edited out, this week’s show is not as long as usual so I hope you’ll stay listening for the last two songs — a live at JazzFest performance by The Wild Magnolias and a humorously well-done funk song by Mem Shannon that caused local musician “Dr. Soul” to pull over from his driving so that he could call the station and pledge. Thank you man!

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Spring Pledge Drive Show Appeals Removed But Still Implied

This week’s pledge drive show was a delight to host with guest and friend Juli Kelen helping out but you won’t hear much of our conversation. The show below is almost all music with only the song announcements. Go ahead and get it started.

Our station manager contends that even during pledge drive shows, KAOS and other community radio stations still play more music per hour than commercial stations. Well, this podcast is a good test. While it doesn’t contain as much music as my regular weekly shows, it still includes 18 great songs from New Orleans and Lafayette. I start the show with four excellent contemporary cajun numbers.

Even though this show doesn’t include the wonderful and charming banter between Juli and I, laying out the important reasons for why you should support community radio, you can still support KAOS and KMRE — the two stations that carry my show. Just click the call letters and it will take you to their respective membership pages.

My show rotation means I’ll be doing another pledge drive show next week. Catch me live on KAOS, 89.3 FM and streaming at www.kaosradio.org/listen . Show starts at 10 a.m. (PST) on Thursdays.

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Ain’t Dere No More But the Memory Lives On

If you ever get sentimental about favorite stores that have closed or been bought out, or people you no longer see or experiences that are long gone, well this week’s show might be for you. Click the arrow in the box below to start the show and then read on.

John Boutte sings the opening number “Never Turn Back” which is a caution we will not follow for most of the first part of the show. However, first we warm up with a couple of classic New Orleans piano players (Professor Longhair and Dr. John) and one contemporary one destined to be a classic (Josh Paxton).

Given its multi-national history, New Orleans is home to a variety of accents. One in particular “is hard to distinguish from the accent of Hoboken, Jersey City, and Astoria, Long Island” according to A.J. Liebling author of “The Earl of Louisiana.” a Hear’s more on how New Orleanians talk.

Long gone but much missed, you can find T-Shirts with this hometown drugstore logo for sale in New Orleans

I mention this to provide some understanding of why “Ain’t Dere No More” became a catch phrase in New Orleans made famous by a song of the same name by Benny Grunch and the Bunch. In a town with businesses such as Schwegmann’s, a 19th century grocery store that pioneered the concept of “supermarket,” and K&B, a purple-famed ubiquitous drugstore that stood for Katz and Besthoff, their buyouts and closures are still mourned decades later.

The song may seem silly but in my home of Olympia, I still miss going to the Rainbow Tavern and drinking dark Olympia beer (both are gone). And maybe you remember some place or things you used to do that you also miss. In the case of Alex McMurray its an old bar he can’t go back to. For Davis Rogan and his brass, hip hop band, All That, its the end of live music performances in a Treme neighborhood restaurant “Little People’s Place.” For Alex Duhon, its the passing of a generation that knew how to fix things and make them last.

I carry on with this theme for a few sets ending with a wonderful rendition by Allen Toussaint of his hit song “Southern Nights” — a song that brought back memories of an Arkansas childhood for Glen Campbell who popularized the song. For songwriter Toussaint, “Southern Nights” is about going into the Louisiana back country to visit relatives who speak in a difficult to understand patois, drink from jars and make stories about the stars. Please stay with the show through at least that song.

And if you do, well I celebrate the birth anniversary of George Landry, big chief of the Wild Tchoupitoulas and uncle of the Nevilles. Listen to one of the songs that brought these four talented brothers together in the studio for the first time. Leyla McCalla’s new song “Settle Down” pairs well with the Mardi Gras Indian song. Much more beyond that. I’ll let it be a surprise. Thanks for tuning in and please subscribe.

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