Baby Face and Joe Avery on today’s show

“Baby face. I’m up in heaven when I’m in your fond embrace.” Little Richard rode those lyrics to Number 2 in the United Kingdom’s pop charts in early 1959. You can hear it right now if you click the sideways arrow below.

Of the many standards that a New Orleans musician would need to know, “Baby Face” may seem like an odd choice until you hear how it so readily adapts from rock and roll, to brass band to improvisational piano. Today’s show subjects you to three versions. In addition to Little Richard who recorded his version in New Orleans in 1956, you’ll hear Mahogany Brass Band and James Booker.

On the way to those songs, you’ll hear Lillian Boutte singing “After You’ve Gone,” Irma Thomas doing the classic “Early in the Morning,” Cha Wa doing “Tootie Ma” and the Yockamo All-Stars jamming on “Blow, Blow Tenor.” It’s not all jazz though. You’ll also hear Rising Appalachia, Slim Harpo, Lee Dorsey and Earl King.

But in the second hour, I celebrate the 127th birthday anniversary of Joe “Kid” Avery, the composer of the most popular second line song of all time. It’s called “Joe Avery’s Piece” but also just “Second Line” given its close association with that activity.

I do a set of spirituals after that and many other surprises. Thanks for tuning in.  Please subscribe. Cheers.

Author: Tim Sweeney

Volunteer deejay for community radio station KAOS 89.3 FM Olympia, Washington -- www.kaosradio.org. Host of Sweeney's Gumbo YaYa - a two-hour radio show featuring the music of New Orleans -- every Thursday starting at 10 a.m. (PST)

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