The 12th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina and the flooding of New Orleans has been marked by deadly flood waters around the planet–from Houston to Bangladesh. Today’s show, originally aired on KAOS and presented in edited form below, is dedicated to all flood victims. As weather intensifies in the future, we all run the risk of being weather victims.
This week’s show starts with wetland preservation advocate Tab Benoit, singing “Shelter Me.” Clarence “Gatemouth” “Brown follows with his seminal song “Hurricane.” Mr. Brown died of cancer on September 10, 2005 after having to evacuate his Katrina-damaged home in Slidell (near New Orleans) two weeks earlier. Marva Wright re-enacts the ground level experience in New Orleans during the flooding in “The Levee Is Breaking Down” and the Free Agents Brass Band perform their song of survival “We Made It Through the Water.” Here’s the complete playlist.
Here’s where I archive all my recorded shows.
This week’s show starts with the Young Tuxedo Brass Band in honor of Walter Payton, father of trumpeter Nicholas Payton and the sousaphone player for that storied New Orleans band.
I then take a twist toward more contemporary music with Quintron and Miss Pussycat, Sneaky Pete, Jello Biafra and the New Orleans Raunch and Soul All Stars, Helen Gillet and the Dirty Bourbon River Show. I then head back into R&B, including playing High Blood Pressure from the Huey “Piano” Smith album I bought in Ballard last weekend and another round of brass bands. I mixed tracks from new releases by Benny Turner, Naughty Professor and Stanton Moore. The show, as edited below, finishes with Cowboy Mouth’s relationship dirge “Broken Up.” Enjoy!
No one needs to convince Taylor Smith of the ability of radio to perpetuate musical traditions and nurture new ones.
As the bandleader and composer for The Roamin’ Jasmine, Smith has become well acquainted, as do most successful New Orleans musicians, with the city’s traditional jazz standards. But its been his ability to apply a New Orleans style rhythm and blues spin on classic blues numbers that sets his music apart.
For example, check out his take on Blind Lemon Jefferson’s Wartime Blue (from the band’s second album). With the band’s latest release “Live at Horace’s,” Jefferson’s Hangman Blues gets updated with a New Orleans mambo groove.
“When we started, the guys I recruited to play in the band all played traditional jazz standards, and we all knew a lot of that repertoire so we started playing a lot of that stuff. But soon after coming to New Orleans, I got interested in the classic 1950’s Rhythm and blues tunes and started arranging versions of those tunes for the group.”
“I got to give credit to the great New Orleans radio station WWOZ cause that’s where I’ve heard so much of that music.”
WWOZ, like KAOS, is a community radio station, supported by listeners and underwrites with volunteer deejays. Smith singled out “50’s R&B with Neil Pellegrin” (Tuesdays starting at 5 p.m. West Coast Time) and R & B Oldies with Rare On The Air (Wednesdays at the same hour). From my personal experience, I’ll also add Blues and R&B with Gentilly Jr. same time slot on Mondays.
It was WWOZ’s playing of “That’s a Pretty Good Love” a b-side song to Big Maybelle’s hit Candy that inspired Smith to cover it on his live release.
Smith is a Boston native who graduated from the University of Miami jazz school but fell in love with New Orleans during a college break excursion. His band’s first release was in 2014. They’ve toured England twice and will be performing in Australia this fall as part of a collaboration with Lachlan Bryan (and the Wildes).
Here’s the full interview from my show starting with a spin of “That’s A Pretty Good Love.”