Art Neville carried the NOLA sound from R&B to Funk to Unique

Another sad loss for the world and New Orleans with the death of Art Neville at 81. His 60 plus years of performing spanned the early years of New Orleans R&B to funk to the rich gumbo of the Neville Brothers. This week’s show has almost an hour of Art’s music. Get it started by clicking the triangle in the player below and then read on.

Barely 17, Art Neville recorded with his high school band a song that would entertain over seven decades of Mardi Gras revelers. “Mardi Gras Mambo” may not ever have charted but it has been a seasonal favorite ever since its recording in January 1955 in a local radio station studio.

Art Neville hooked up with Harold Battiste and recorded with Specialty Records after that cranking out songs like “Cha Chooky-Doo,” “Oooh Wee Baby” and “Please Listen to My Song.” You’ll hear those and others early on in the show before I move on to his more funkier stuff.

As a keyboardist, he became known as “Poppa Funk” anchoring the sound of The Meters and playing songs that would define the New Orleans funk sound. You’ll get three tracks from The Meters in this show — including “Africa” which the Neville Brothers would later cover.

Art’s uncle, George Landry, and the Meter’s association with Allen Toussaint would lead into musical history when they recorded “Wild Tchoupitoulas” — an album of music derived from the Mardi Gras Indian culture and the chants of their uncle in his role as Big Chief Jolly. In this album, you can hear the Neville Brothers sound developing — particularly in the context of Mardi Gras Indian numbers.

But my Neville Brothers’ set focuses on their New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival performances and the importance Art and his siblings played in supporting that institution. You’ll hear “Yellow Moon” for instance from the 2001 JazzFest.

The last half of the show includes a full set of brass bands, some country and swamp pop, and ends with Houseman DeClouet singing “The Truth Iz Out.” I know you’ll like this show. Be sure to subscribe to my blog so you can get wind of future shows.

How high can a sousaphone play?

Shamarr Allen’s New Orleans anthem “Party All Night” starts off today’s show and I follow it with some jazzy numbers that feature strong sousaphone and trombone performances. You can hear it all by clicking the sideways triangle below and you’ll still be able read on.

Matt Perrine sneaks another surprise run on the sousaphone hitting high notes that don’t even sound like a tuba in “Devil Take It’ to start the first full set. Ben Jaffe also represents himself well on the big horn in Preservation Hall Jazz Band’s take off “Bonjour Cousin.” The set finishes with “The Object of My Affection” by Frog and Henry. Both Frog and Henry and Shamarr Allen will be playing in venues along the I-5 corridor in August (calendar)

I spin a couple of classic funk songs from New Orleans: “Hip Drop” by the Explosions and “Dap Walk” by Ernie and the Top Notes. Trombone Shorty finishes that set and then I play another jazz set that features trombonist Charlie Halloran, Tuba Skinny and Dr. John.

Then its time to celebrate Little Freddie King’s 79th birthday with two numbers that highlight his guitar work. Marcia Ball lightens up that set with her song about the town gossip “Louella.” Lots more follows but by now, you’re probably into it enough to stay listening. I hope you’ll consider subscribing as well (top right hand side of page). Thanks for tuning in.

More NOLA Acts making the I-5 Circuit

More acts from Louisiana and particularly New Orleans are visiting the relatively cooler Northwest during the summer. This show showcases some of those groups so get it started and the read on.

As far as I can tell, Billy Iuso is not visiting the Northwest. He seems content rocking out clubs like Tipitina’s and Chickie Wah Wah in New Orleans. Yet, his “Trippin’ Over Dragons” opens the show. Deacon John sings an old-style swing number for you to open an R&B set before we get on to three that you should make a point to catch when they’re in the Northwest.

Bon Bon Vivant will be in the KAOS studio August 1 and performing in Olympia August 2.

Bon Bon Vivant will be in the KAOS studio during my show on August 1 and will perform at Octapas Cafe in Olympia the next evening. The band’s new song “Pinkerton” from their Live at the Circus should be sufficient temptation for you. Shamarr Allen follows with his unique take on the Gnarls Barkley number “Crazy.” Trumpeter-extraordinaire Shamarr will be in Seattle, Portland and Tacoma in mid-August. The set finishes with Rebirth Brass Band’s “Take ‘Em to the Moon.” Rebirth will be playing Seattle, Bellingham and Vancouver BC next week. (By the way more details are available on my calendar page.)

How about Marcia Ball? I play her number “Watermelon Time” to get your mouth watering for her two evenings of performances in Seattle in August. Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes takes a rare turn on the piano to highlight his gigs and appearances at the Port Townsend Acoustic Blues Festival at the end of July.

If you’ve made it through the show so far then you’re ready for some zydeco with three groups that played the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland last week (Chubby Carrier, Lil Pookie and Feufollet). A second set kicks off with Dwayne Dopsie who will also be up in Vancouver B.C for the Vancouver Folk Fest.

Later in the show you’ll hear Sonny Landreth (playing Mt. Vernon in August) and Frog and Henry (playing all over the region in August). I provide an encore performance of Shamarr Allen and finish the show with a track off of the Bonerama does Led Zeppelin record.

Thanks for listening and please subscribe. Thank you.

Bartholomew shaped the sound that became rock and roll

With this week’s show, I try to capture in music the place in rock and roll history of Dave Bartholomew, who passed away recently. You can get the show started now and then read on.

Born on Christmas Eve in 1918, Dave Bartholomew was already a bandleader by the time he entered the Army during World War II. As a member of the 196th Army Ground Forces Band, he gained experience in writing and arranging music. By the end of the 40’s with the war over and with folks ready to dance, he led one of the hottest bands in New Orleans becoming part of the evolution of swing into R&B.

Fats Domino (left) and Dave Bartholomew generated a mountain of hits, all recorded from studios run by Cosimo Matassa.

The pivotal year for him was 1950 when he released his first big hit “Country Boy “(which starts the first full set of the show) and he met, recruited into the studio and recorded Fats Domino, scoring a big hit right out of the box with “The Fat Man” (also featured in the first set). His 14-year work relationship with Domino became one of the most celebrated collaborations in rock and roll. Bartholomew wrote and co-wrote many of Domino’s songs, arranged the horns, performed on his records and basically managed the musicians both in the studio and on tour.

During this time, he worked with many other New Orleans artists through his relationship with Lew Chudd and Imperial Records. One of of these talents was Smiley Lewis who you’ll hear singing the original recording of “Blue Monday.” Other artists were Pee Wee Crayton, Shirley and Lee, Snooks Eaglin and Lloyd Price (for Specialty Records). You’ll hear them all performing songs written or arranged by Bartholomew.

A fine musician (trumpet) and singer, Bartholomew was inducted into the Rock Hall of Fame as a non-performer in 1991 — largely because of his deep involvement with Cosimo Matassa’s J&M studio in New Orleans and, according to his Hall of Fame bio, his ability to shape “the rhythmic orientation of that city into a sound everyone would come to know and love as rock and roll.”

I finish out my Bartholomew segment with covers of Bartholomew/Domino songs by Galactic, George Porter Jr., the Roamin’ Jasmine and Allen Toussaint. Federal streaming rules limit how many songs I can play of one artists so I didn’t play “My Ding-a-Ling” a Bartholomew song made famous by Chuck Berry. In prepping for the show, I noticed a fairly significant difference between Berry’s version and Bartholomew’s. While Berry caught some controversy over the suggestive lyrics of his version, he probably would have gotten in even more trouble had he used the lyrics sung by Bartholomew in the original recording.

Bartholomew’s family carries on the tradition of music making. Here is an OffBeat Magazine article that tells you more.

The rest of the show focuses on the music of Louisiana acts that will be performing in the Northwest this summer. I hope you have the chance to see one of these artists live. Here’s the schedule. Thanks for tuning in.

Al “Carnival Time” Johnson turns 80 and other fun music

I celebrate the 80th birthday of Al “Carnival Time” Johnson in today’s show whose big hit became his nickname. But that’s just the first set so get it started and hear the show while you read about it.

Like too many musicians, Johnson missed out on the big pay day for his 1960 “Carnival Time” a number that is part of the New Orleans Mardi Gras songbook. After getting drafted and serving in the Army, he returned to New Orleans to find his record label owner dead and the rights to his song tied up in a legal mess that didn’t get straightened out until 1999.

More than a one-hit wonder, Johnson has a classic R&B voice that is showcased in the song about his neighborhood the “Lower Ninth Ward Blues.” He’s been inducted in the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and still performs. Check out his website to learn more about this living legend.

Lots of other music follow in today’s show including songs by several brass bands such as The Young Olympians, the Soul Rebels, Hot 8 Brass Band and the New Orleans Nightcrawlers.

The jazz end of the show is held up by the New Orleans Jazz Vipers, the New Orleans Dance Hall Quartet and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown doing a stunning version of Duke Ellington’s “Take the ‘A’ Train” from a Jazz Fest performance.

It’s a pretty solid mix of jazz, funk, blues, swing and things in between. Thanks for tuning in and please subscribe.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.