A trip to Haiti with this show

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band kicks off this week’s show with “It Ain’t What You Think.” Well maybe it is and maybe it isn’t. Get it started to find out.

The next set starts with a 2019 New Orleans record that I didn’t have a chance to get to during last week’s show of 2019 in review. Lakou Mizik, from Haiti, recorded their latest album HaitiNola in New Orleans and I play a track featuring Leyla McCalla, a singer/songwriter with strong family ties to Haiti. The set carries on with another new release by The Electric Arch and a Latin number by The Iguanas.

The show carries on swinging from funk, jazz, R&B and zydeco — accented with a tasteful number of winter holiday songs. This show includes a jazzy cover of “Wang Dang Doodle,” a new song by the Soul Rebels, the Sailor’s Hornpipe with Alex McMurray’s Valaparaiso Men’s Chorus and a raunchy cover of “Ooh – Poo – Pah – Doo.”

Thank you for tuning in.

Celebrating Craig Klein birthday – and more

You can “Shake Your Rugulator” on this week’s show but you’ll need your imagination to know what you’ll be vibrating. I celebrate the birthday of Craig Klein — a very busy New Orleans trombonist who wrote and performs the eight minute song.

About a dozen years ago, while attending the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, I couldn’t help but notice that a tall, blond, mop-headed trombonist kept appearing on stage – there’s a lot of stages and bands at Jazz Fest and yet, there he would be. Once I learned his name, Craig Klein, I found that he was an in-demand horn player beyond the Crescent City. You’ll hear his horn on recordings by Harry Connick, Jr., R.E.M. , Tori Amos, Eric Burdon, Calexico- just to name a few But as a New Orleans resident and native, he’s also on a lot of local recordings as well.

On this show, you’ll hear him talk about how he and co-founder Mark Mullins came up with the concept of their long-standing project Bonerama – which features three trombones and the lead voice of the gand. You’ll also hear him sing and perform on his own songs.

There’s more to the show but why ruin the surprise. Just keep listening and consider subscribing.

Gumbo YaYa goes All Funk

Funny how the term “funk” can refer to a sad mood, a stinky fridge or music with a dance-able groove. Today’s show is all about the groove and to hear proof, get the show started by clicking the arrow below.

While James Brown is recognized by many as the Father of Funk, there are arguments that this groove-based music is derived from New Orleans Second Line rhythms. Here’s one. And another .

Whatever, New Orleans is a great place to catch funk and you only have to listen to this show to get some idea — from the pre-funk DNA of Professor Longhair to the fresh dance grooves of Erica Falls, New Orleans will keep you moving.

Naturally, the show starts with a couple of tracks by The Meters, the New Orleans group most associated with funk music. But we follow that up with Chocolate Milk, Galactic, George Porter Jr. (bass player for The Meters) and Betty Harris.

Later you’ll hear from Dr. John, the New Orleans Nightcrawlers, Erica Falls and much more.  

According to one source cited in Wikipedia, New Orleans R&B drummer and member of the famed Wrecking Crew Earl Palmer  coined the term funky’ to explain to other musicians that their music should be made more syncopated and danceable. Or perhaps the term funk music comes from “Funky Butt” — the Buddy Bolden inspired song about dancing so hard that the room begins to get . . .well funky. Hope your funk today is of the sweet dance-able groove kind and not the other.

All Female Ya Ya 2019

You’ll hear some damn good singing on this week’s show- most likely related to the all-female cast of the show.

Just as she did last year, Ingrid Lucia kicks off this show of women vocalists and bandleaders– this time by leading us on a “Bourbon Street Parade” from her 2010 Live from New Orleans record.

Meschiya Lake

Meschiya Lake follows with her invocation “I Believe in Music” from 2013’s Fooler’s Gold. Lynn Drury then takes us straight to the heart and heartache of New Orleans’ live music scene with “Frenchmen Street” from Sugar on the Floor. Dana Abbott anchors the first full set with “You’re Mine.” By that time, resistance is futile.

The second set will get heels a flying with Doreen Ketchens, Albanie Falletta and Marla Dixon’s Shotgun Jazz Band. The exercise will be good for you for the following set will definitely give you pause.

The set begins with a funeral march that seems to get more optimistic as it progresses until Aurora Nealand’s intones “Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” The beat and swing builds up to a great drum solo. The song is “Flee as a Bird” — a hymn with the song credit given to Mary Dana — a song catcher who worked South Carolina church scene in the mid-19th century. Bon Bon Vivant’s poet laureate, songwriter and front lady Abigail Cosio takes it from there with “Old Forgotten Tune.” While her band can rock you, this song is just her guitar and voice singing a story of loss and how music and memories entwine. The song was inspired by a cowboy poet line she read in the library at the Will Roger’s Historic Park. This set ends with “Harm”– the first track from Elizabeth Joan Kelly’s new release Farewell, Doomed Planet! which “is about the apocalypse. And Chernobyl wolves. Pollution. And space travel. Existential dread. And whales. ”

A Lafayette-style set follows with Yvette Landry, Bonsoir Catin and Sweet Cecilia with a well-placed serving of Gal Holiday. Later you’ll hear Linnzi Zaorski’s take of the Andrew Sisters hit “Bei Mir Bist Du Schoen” — a song from a 1930’s Yiddish musical that was also oddly a hit in Nazi Germany until authorities got wind of its Jewish provenance.

Leyla McCalla, Debbie Davis, Carol Fran, Tank and the Bangas and the Original Pinettes Brass Band (New Orleans only all-female brass band) take a turn. Margie Perez, Little Queenie and Shawn Williams bat clean up.

Thanks for listening and please consider subscribing.

Honoring Day of the Dead amidst KAOS pledge drive

My show did two laps on the KAOS Fall Pledge Drive so I skipped posting up last week’s show but trimmed this one down to the usual chatter and the music. Get it started an read on.

This show features my usual seasonal favorites by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown (Swamp Ghost) and “Morgus the Magnificent” by Dr. John, Frankie Ford and Jerry Byrne. But I also honor those who passed to the other side tis year, including Dr. John, Spencer Bohren, Paul “Lil Buck” Sinegal, Art Neville and Dave Bartholomew. (links are to tribute shows aired earlier in the year when they died).

You’ll also hear Juli Kelen’s voice helping me on this show. Juli’s youthful voice and energy belie the fact she has been actively involved in KAOS from almost the beginning in the 70’s. You can support free-form community radio by donating online at http://www.kaosradio.org. Thank you for tuning in.

Latest show benefits from record store purchases

I ordered some new releases from Louisiana Music Factory and this show has at least one cut from each of my new acquisitions. Start it up.

Bamboula 2000’s “Cuba to Congo Square” starts the show. And then I quickly shift gears into a new release featuring a very entertaining number by Kid Eggplant – “I caught you slippin in. . Yea, you stink like gin. “

I won’t spoil the rest of the show for you but do expect some country, cajun, brass band, blues, rock and more R&B. Thanks for tuning in.

Birthdays and Brass Make for a Rockin’ Show

Three key birthdays lined up for today’s show along with two visits by premiere New Orleans brass bands. But the show starts with a rollicking bluegrass number with a sousaphone pumping out the baseline. You can listen and read on by clicking the sideways arrow below.

John Hartford most likely pulled deeply from his steamboat pilot days on the Mississippi and Tennesse rivers when he wrote the song that opens today’s show. Sadly, he was dead by the time a group of country musicians joined New Orleans musicians on the Maple Leaf stage to cover his “Miss Ferris.” In the first full set, you’ll hear another song from that project.

But the core of the show is celebrating Cyril Neville and Ed Volker’s 71st birthday and Donna Angelle’s 68th. All three were born on October 10, the date this show aired on KAOS. As the youngest of the Neville brothers, Cyril is perhaps the best known of the three birthday musicians. But this show focuses on his non-Neville performances: two solo songs and one with the Royal Southern Brotherhood.

Ed Volker (The Radiators) photo from Offbeat Magazine and by Kim Welsh

Ed Volker is the distinctive looking keyboardist and songwriter for The Radiators, a jam band that deployed a New Orleans sensibility to rock and won a legend of fans starting in 1978 going through today. And the band has the same line-up it started with. Three Radiators are songs are played on today’s show.

Donna Angelle is a multi-instrumentalist who chose to be prominent on the accordion and lead her own band. She broke the glass ceiling for women band leaders in Zydeco and was closely followed by Rosie Ledet. You’ll hear three of her songs, including “Ladies Night” and one song by Ledet.

The Dirty Dozen and Hot 8 Brass Bands are playing the area this month so you’ll hear a couple songs each by them. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band lead the new wave of brass bands in the 70’s that reinvigorated the traditional New Orleans brass band sound. I play Feet Don’t Fail Me Now” which you can probably hear live when the Dozen perform at the Mount Baker Theater in Bellingham on October 19 and Pantages Theater the next night.

The Hot 8 Brass Band has had their struggles with car accidents and shootings that have changed their line up over the years and created heart break for the remaining members and their families. But they’ll be in Portland and Seattle October 21st and 22nd respectively. I play the short version of their “Sexual Healing” cover and “Bingo Bango.”

There’s more to the show including Doreen Ketchens and Aurora Nealand on clarinet but you should just listen to the whole thing and let me know what you think. Thanks for tuning in.

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.

Gumbo Ya Ya Plays Country Music

I’ve been so enjoying watching the Ken Burn’s PBS documentary on Country Music that this week features nearly an hour of country music from Louisiana. Get on the hayride by starting the show (click sideways arrow below)

It seems you can learn a lot about love from country music (which was known on the Billboard charts as “hillbilly” at the same time that R&B music was categorized as “race” music.) Exhibit A is the opening song by Rocket Morgan. Known for his rockabilly, Rocket bares his heart with the forlorn song a “Too High a Price (to Pay for Love).”

It’s been fun watching Gal Holiday’s career as she steadfastly occupies the two-step country western dance crowd in New Orleans clubs. She kicks off the first set with her refined sound. Ken Swartz kicks up the pace a bit more with his country-inflected “Smile Away the Blues.” And the set finishes with the early 20th century retro sound of the Big Dixie Swingers.

The Burns documentary drives home the importance of the clear channel powerful radio stations that blasted country music throughout the country. Most major markets had some sort of country show with the most well known coming from WSM’s Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. Hank Williams got his break in playing the Opry after being the star on the Louisiana Hayride broadcast out of Shreveport Louisiana.

Yvette Landry, who lives and performs in the Lafayette area, is an excellent example of how Swamp Pop, country, cajun and blues all come together. Her fine voice is on display with “Friday Night Special” – a song that drives home the point that country music is about the story. She is followed up nicely by The Deslondes performing “Heavenly Home.” Werly Fairburn, who grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry, finishes that set. Later, the talented Alex McMurray channels Waylon Jennings with “Texas Again.”

The back half of the show is a mix of music including two brass band numbers and Kermit Ruffins getting serious with “West Indies Jazz Dance.”

Thanks for tuning in.

Featuring the Not So Famous and Almost Forgotten

By definition, my show of New Orleans music features a number of musicians that are not well known outside of the city or at least outside the world collective of New Orleans music lovers. But today, I make a particular point to reach into the dusty edges of my music collection. Get it started by clicking the sideways arrow in the next box and then read on.

Today’s show starts with Sam Price and his True Believers — a group that regularly plays along the Gulf Coast but isn’t well known in the Northwest where my show airs. He “has soul in his dancing shoes. . . dancing right where I want to be.”

Slim Saunders was part of the Cosimo Matassa’s studio scene but rarely sang lead. One exception is “Let’s Have Some Fun” with the usual strong J&M studio musician line up — this time Sugar Boy Crawford, Snooks Eaglin, Frank Fields and Edgar Myles. Martha Carter kept Irma Thomas company as the only female artists on the Ric and Ron Labels. She sings “I Don’t Talk Too Much.” Wallace Johnson finishes the first fll set.

Allen Toussaint showed great faith in Willie Harper, helping produce a dozen sides through his studio. None of his songs really caught fire but I like “Walk Ya Out of My Life.” Betty Harris sings “What I’d Do Wrong” and Ted Graham’s Kings of Funk finishes that set.

The show continues with a set of jazz and a set of funk and soul before I spin some cajun and country. One of the bands featured is a band that grew out of Tulane University called Smilin’ Myron. While no longer active, they had an active live performance career as an opening act during 1990’s. Stay on later in the show to hear “Astral Project.”

I hope you enjoy today’s show. Please consider subscribing and you will get a notice of when a new show is available. Cheers.