Marcia Ball kicks off this week’s show with “Crawfishin'” which I play in honor of the fact that we’re now in the height of the mud bug season. But there’s more mouth-watering songs in the show so get it started and then read more of what’s on the menu.
Smoking Time Jazz Club is proving to a prolific recording group as well as a live performance band. In the first full set, check out “Snake Hip Dance” from their barely released Contrapuntal Stomp. Tom Worrell lays down “Crawfish Fiesta” from a live performance of piano night, the WWOZ benefit that happens between the two weekends of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. (This year, it looks like the event has moved to House of Blues).
I start the second full set with Leyla McCalla’s “Money is King” from her latest The Capitalist Blues . That set is all new music including Big Al and the Heavyweights doing “Fool for You” and Herlin Riley’s wonderful funky jazz number “Wings and Roots.”
Later in the show, you’ll hear Little Queenie, Tuts Washington, Johnny Sketch & the Dirty Notes, James Booker, and Miss Sophie Lee. I spin two more tracks from the Smithsonian Folkways not-yet-released 50 year anniversary of Jazz Fest with a big band performance by Al Belletto and a birthday spin (she turn’s 87!) of Germaine Bazzle scatting with Red Tyler’s Quintet.
At about the hour mark, you’ll hear the Hot 8 Brass Band’s sweaty dance anthem “Get Up” — the 20th anniversary version and then later to end the show I play the Diesel remix of that song — which was recently featured in a soccer highlight show “Match of the Week.”
Oh I left stuff out of this description so you’ll have some surprises along the way. Thanks for listening. Please subscribe and tell ALL your friends about Gumbo YaYa.
This week’s show gives a gentle nod to my Irish heritage but I don’t go overboard. Well, unless you count the two raucous sea shanties. Go ahead and get it started while I explain.
As I’ve said before, New Orleans needs little reason to put on a party. But given that St. Patrick’s Day appears to be our equivalent of Irish-American heritage day, the city has a lot to party about. You’ll find the parades and block parties are centered around a neighborhood in New Orleans along the Mississippi River called the Irish Channel. And while the large influx of Irish families in the first half of the 19th century fanned out throughout the city, many did seem to settle in this Garden District neighborhood since it wasn’t very far from where they go off the boat from Ireland.
My experience with the Irish Channel was as a kid when I gigged as an altar boy for an itinerant priest who would do mass for convents and shut ins. One day, he got a prime time slot, doing mass at St. Alphonsus Church (now a cultural center) in the heart of the Irish Channel. I lived just a few miles away but it may as well been a world away in 1966. All the other neighborhood altar boys, hanging out in the altar boy locker room, sounded like Bobby Kennedy. That’s New Orleans for you.
Well, back to the show, I don’t spend too much time on the Irish theme. I don’t have a lot of music that fits frankly. And I’m not a big fan of the whole St. Patrick’s Day celebration — which you’ll get a taste of when you hear the show. Instead, I treat you to Louis Jordan’s 1949 classic “Saturday Night Fish Fry” and carry on that early R&B vibe with Chubby Newsome and Percy Mayfield
Later, I take a dive into the brand new Smithsonian Folkways recording celebrating 50 years of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. Yes, this year is the 50th anniversary. I play a track with Snooks Eaglin getting excited about the huge crowd he had and we rock to a live version of “Back On Dumaine” when Anders Osborne’s heart ache over the end of his marriage was fresh. I also play from the new release by Herlin Riley, singing a jazzy version of “Wang Dang Doodle.”
Lots of other great stuff in between. Give it a listen. And “Erin Go Bragh.”
The day after Mardi Gras can be unsettling because even though you can “Do Whatcha Wanna” on Fat Tuesday, the next day is accompanied by a hangover, sore feet and vocal chords and, for some, a broken heart. Get the show started and let Alex McMurray’s song “The Day After Mardi Gras Day” fill you in.
In some ways, it was a relief to get out of the party zone with the show and get reacquainted with other New Orleans music. In this show you’ll hear Kristin Diable, Mem Shannon, Dana Abbott, Glen David Andrews, Henry Butler, Carlo Ditta, and many more.
On re-listening to this show, I’m most impressed by Lil Queenie doing a cover of David Bowie’s “Stay” from her new release Purple Heart. Other covers include Carlo Ditta channelling Leonard Cohen in a cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers to Cross” and Mem Shannon’s persuasive take of Tom Petty’s “Don’t Back Down.”
I start a new feature called “Gumbo YaYa Earworm” where I play a song from the last show that stuck in my head. If you have that malady when you listen to my show, let me know the culprit and I’ll include it in the next show.
I also replay a segment of Helen Gillet’s live in-studio performance at KAOS last summer where she talked about Alcide Pavageau, a well-regarded New Orleans bass player who was born on this day in 1888. The song is called “Slow Drag Pavageau” and is featured on her latest album.
What would like to hear in future shows? Let me know. Cheers.