Welcome to my July 5th, 2018 edition of Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa. There’s lot to love about this extra-long show so go ahead and get it started.
We lost Henry Butler on Monday, July 2 to colon cancer. He was born in New Orleans September 21, 1948 and grew up in the Calliope housing project. He lost his sight to glaucoma as an infant and learned how to play a variety of instruments while attending the Louisiana State School for the Blind. He was known for piano playing, smoothly handling jazz, blues, classical and improvisation and had a powerful voice. He was a teacher and entertainer. In this show, I play his “Down by the Riverside,” “Henry’s Boogie” and “Jamaica Farewell.”
Throughout the show, I touch on the theme of America and Freedom as interpreted by New Orleans musicians including songs by Shamarr Allen and Dee-1 (“Only in America”), Rebirth Brass Band (“Freedom”), and Delfeayo Marsalis (“Make America Great Again” with Wendell Pierce.)
I also celebrate Smiley Lewis’s birth anniversary (July 5, 1913) with “Shame, “Shame, Shame” and “Don’t Jive Me.”
The first song is by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band with “Dead Dog in the Road.” New songs by Shawn Williams, Tin Men, and Cyril Neville. And much more in this extra long edition of the show.
Two June CD releases are burnishing the city’s country music reputation and you’ll hear tracks from both in today’s show. Start it rolling and then learn more about Shawn Williams and Gal Holiday.
Shawn Williams’ second album Motel Livin’ is a gripping compendium of lyrical songs that leave me a bit unnerved but fully entertained. Her voice haunts and I’m going to enjoy digging deeper into this new release. I play “Best of Me” and later “Buried Alive.”
More upbeat and more battle worn is Gal Holiday and her Honky Tonk Revue with the new release Lost & Found. Almost a decade before The Deslondes formed, Gal Holiday (aka Vanessa Niemann) broke ground on the new wave of country in New Orleans. And true to her band’s name, you can dance to her music. I play “Found Myself Instead” and “Desert Disco.”
While Luke Winslow-King’s music has been difficult to describe, I’ve never thought of it as country until his latest release Blue Mesa. You can listen to his “After the Rain” and decide for yourself.
To keep the roots vibe rolling, I follow these sets up with The Big Dixie Swingers with “I Haven’t Got a Pot,” Eric Lindell with a live version of “Bayou Country” and The Radiators doing “Straight Eight.” Also, an encore performance of Albanie Falletta who charmed the smart attendees of her concert at Traditions Cafe in Olympia Sunday night.
Jazz sets follow and if you’re patient enough I finish with Dash Rip Rock’s “Let’s Go Smoke Some Pot” in honor of the State of Oklahoma adopting a medical cannabis initiative this week.
Oh and I almost forgot, while digging through the KAOS studio’s vinyl vault I found Danny Barker’s 1988 release Save the Bones and I played his version of “St. James Infirmary.” Struck by his riffing on the traditional lyrics description of his funeral, I thought about Fred Johnson’s description of how Danny Barker’s traditional funeral came about that I recorded in October of 2017 in his office in New Orleans. You’ll get to hear the story as well on this show.
This week’s show serves up a strong doze of New Orleans style jazz and swing but also country and rhythm and blues, including a classic by Chuck Carbo. Get it started while I tell you who else is in the show.
Albanie Falletta’s wonderful “Black Coffee Blues” kicks off the show, followed by a swinging love song by Antoine Diel, Al Hirt and his band at his best with “Yellow Dog Blues,” and the amazing Aurora Nealand performing “Touploulou.”
Dee Dee Bridgewater does a duet with Glen David Andrews on “Whoopin’ Blues.” David Egan rocks its with “Dead End Friend” and Eddie Bo does the instrumental “Just Wonder.”
Stay with the show for Chuck Carbo’s “Meet Me with Your Black Drawers On.” After a country set featuring new releases by Gal Holiday and Shawn Williams, jazz fans patience will be rewarded with the Riverside Jazz Collective” “Just Gone” from their new release, Stomp Off, Let’s Go.
Also, this show includes songs by Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, Allen Toussaint, Professor Longhair, Larry Williams, James Andrews, Galactic, Dr. Michael White, the Big Dixie Swingers, Bon Bon Vivant, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and Quintron.
This week’s show is about the one-handed piano player you have likely heard but not heard of. Edward Frank played on scores of R&B hits created in the Cosimo Matassa cauldron in the 50’s and early 60’s. But there’s more to the story so go ahead and get this week’s show started, kicked off by BeauSoleil’s “Bon Temps Rouler.”
This show celebrates Edward Frank’s birth anniversary. He was born June 14, 1932 and died in February 1997. Despite his early R&B history, he spent his later years playing more contemporary jazz at venues such as the Palm Court Cafe and Preservation Hall. He was a talented horn arranger and keyboardist, involved with Dr. John’s “Goin’ Back to New Orleans,” the Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s”Jelly,” Snooks Eaglin’s “Soul’s Edge,” Tommy Ridgley’s “Since the Blues Began”and Chuck Carbo’s “Drawers Trouble” and “The Barber’s Blues.”
Frank was born and attended high school in New Orleans. Except for a stint at college and some time in Houston working Bobby Blue Bland, he mostly made his home in New Orleans. He also played in Europe with Lillian Boutte. His performances were made more remarkable because of a disability that rendered his left arm paralyzed. This show features Frank playing piano on songs by Lloyd Price, Bobby Charles and Shirley and Lee (backing them up on their hit, “Let the Good Times Roll.”)
But first you’ll be treated to a set that includes Carlo Ditta’s “Tell It Like It Is,” the New Orleans Jazz Vipers’ “Swing that Music” and Professor Longhair recorded live in Chicago.
Stay with the show after the Edward Frank set because Davis Rogan, another New Orleans piano player, calls into the show to talk about how he was given a valuable life lesson by Ed Frank after losing a spot in Kermit Ruffin’s band. This show also has songs by Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Hot 8 Brass Band (doing a long cover of “Sexual Healing”), Chocolate Milk, Corey Henry, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and a new song by Gal Holiday and her Honky Tonk Revue.
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June Yamagishi shocked his agent when he announced that despite a revered career as a guitarist in Japan, he wanted to live and work in New Orleans. On the occasion of his 65th birthday, this episode of Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa celebrates his decision. But wait there’s more. (But go ahead and get the show started)
Chocolate Milk, a popular New Orleans funk band from the 70’s, kick the show off with their opening song from their 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival performance. I follow that up with a set of music featuring June Yamagishi and his guitar. Two tracks from Papa Grows Funk, a band he was part of for 13 years. Because he also loves Mardi Gras Indian music, I included a song by The Wild Magnolias that features some strong Yamagishi licks.
Also, here’s a link to a short video of his cameo appearance on the HBO show, Treme, where he is trying out for the band being assembled by Wendell Pierce’s character.
From this point in the show, I swing through a jazz set that starts with a classic King Oliver number from the late 1920’s and finishes with a recent recording by Preservation Hall Jazz Band featuring an original song.
Coco Robicheaux kicks off the next set which offers two songs about the importance of keeping on the good side of your woman. Paula of Paula and the Pontiacs sings about the importance of getting the coffee (grind) right while Larry Garner, with help from Buckwheat Zydeco, does a number called “Ms. Boss.”
Three contemporary zydeco and cajun numbers push the boundaries of those genres with the help of Bonsoir Catin, the Lost Bayou Ramblers and Rosie Ledet. A country/folk sets follows before I swing back into funk and finish with a genre-busting song by the BlueBrass Project. Actually, Irma Thomas gets the last word with “Since I Fell for You,” with Dr. John on piano.
There now, lots of reasons to keep listening. Thanks for tuning in.
“I don’t know, boss. . but I won’t do it again,” is allegedly how Louis Armstrong responded to a pointed question from the president of Okeh records when he asked him who was playing trumpet on a song recorded by a competing label. The song was “Drop that Sack” and you’ll hear it on today’s show.
Helen Gillet’s memorable “De mémoire de Rose opens the show followed by Satchmo’s 1926 recording and a live recording of Big Sam’s Funky Nation at the 2010 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival doing almost 12 minutes of funk with some familiar touchstones throughout, including “Eliza Jane.”
I do a set of jazz, swing numbers followed by a Latin-inflected number by Charmaine Neville and her band appropriately titled “Dance.” I break into the new release by Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue and offer up some New Orleans Suspects, Seth Walker, Professor Longhair and Lena Prima.
Near the end of the show catch a great number sung by Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes with the Smoky Greenwell Band followed by Rosie Ledet’s “It Might Be You” from her latest release. If you stay with me long enough, you’ll catch another Helen Gillet number.
I love this version by Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers with the sousaphone bass line handled by her husband Matt Perrine. Matt shows up later in the show with his own project, Matt Perrine and Sunflower City. Yes, its a sunny day but the song, originally recorded by the Kinks, seems to capture Amazon’s petulant response to the city’s modest attempt to try to get the $700 billion company to take some responsibility for the housing shortages in Seattle.
Enough politics, let’s talk immigration instead. Anders Osborne moved to New Orleans as youth from Uddevalla, Sweden. Today, he turned 52 and I play his song “My Old Heart.” The Dirty Bourbon River Show’s “Ruffian Since Birth” provides a nice follow up to Osborne’s number
Diablo’s Horns offers a silly take on addiction (and seasonal allergies) in their song “The Sneeze” and The Crooked Vines heat things up with “Organ Holler.” I’m almost done with my sequential march through Marcia Ball’s latest release Shine Bright and perhaps my favorite surprise in this show was finding Bon Bon Vivant’s latest release and playing “Dust.”
Another fun discovery is Mary Flower’s “Main Street Blues” which features Dr. Michael White (clarinet), Washboard Chaz and Matt Perrine (sousaphone). Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe. Cheers.
I’ve been a bit giddy this week. The onset of our area’s first solid gesture of spring coinciding with the start of Jazz Fest in New Orleans and Olympia’s Arts Walk and Procession of the Species this weekend inspired this show which aired April 26, 2018 on KAOS. The show features very little jazz but a lot of New Orleans which is fitting at a time when Olympia holds its biggest street scene of the year.
To get ready for that walking, standing and processing, I start with some hip openers thanks to an opening number by The Meters followed by Shamarr Allen’s trumpet boogie of Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off.” Art Neville comes back on with one of his Specialty Records classic rock and roll songs. Keith Stone keeps it rocking with the title track from his latest release The Prodigal Returns.
I mellow it out later in the set, with the help of Kelcy Mae singing an Earth Day appropriate song “Mr. Leopold.” Elvis Costello sings a great Allen Toussaint song, with the composer’s vocal and piano assistance. To honor Olympia’s unique cultural creation — the Procession of the Species, I played the Brassaholics “They Sew” – a song about New Orleans unique cultural creation the Black Indians of Mardi Gras. This song was two-fer cause it also honored Brassaholic’s trumpeter Tannon “Fish” Williams who celebrated his 43rd birthday that day.
I didn’t hear about the death of Charles Neville till the next morning so I’ll save his tribute for next week’s show. Please enjoy this one and consider subscribing so you can be alerted to when new shows are posted.
Some times I don’t have an organizing theme for the show and this is one is one of those. That doesn’t mean it ain’t worth listening to though.
In honor of the Soul Rebels’ tuba player, Damion Francois’s 46th birthday, I start the show with the band knocking out “Let Your Mind Be Free.” The Young Tuxedo Brass Band keeps the second line moving with Little Freddie King and the Red Hot Brass Band helping out with their own songs.
Speaking of tubas (actually sousaphones), I featured a cover of The Who’s “Magic Bus” with a tuba playing the bass line. Earl King does “Things I Used to Do,” James Booker does “Classified” and Rebirth Brass Band plays “Your Mama Don’t Dance.”
This week’s show also features “Beau Koo Jack” recorded December 5th 1928 by Louis Armstrong and his Savoy Ballroom Five. Throw in some Pete Fountain, Marcia Ball, Papa Mali, the Radiators, and some surprises and you’ve got a typical, unthemed Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa. Enjoy.
In today’s show, we take an imaginary, real-time visit to French Quarter Festival happening right now and we celebrate the 126th anniversary of clarinetist Johnny Dodds’ birthday. Here’s the edited version of the show which you listen to while reading this.
Overshadowed by the older and more well-known New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival which starts later in April, the French Quarter Festival packs over 300 music acts (roughly 1,700 musicians) into four days starting today. Celebrating its 35th year, this free festival is the largest showcase of Louisiana musicians with stages scattered throughout the French Quarter. Some of the more well-known acts playing this year include Cyril Neville, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Irma Thomas, Jon Cleary, Little Freddie King, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and Amanda Shaw.
And while I do play Neville and the Lost Bayou Ramblers later on the show, I start the show with a real time experience. Through the magic of radio and with a vivid imagination, I take you directly to the French Quarter to the stages and play music by musicians who are performing in real time synchronized to the airing of my show (10 a.m. to noon on Thursdays). This requires precision math on my part since I have to convert the Central Standard Time New Orleans-based schedule to the Pacific Standard Time reality of my radio show.
We start by running over to catch the last song of the Panorama Jazz Band performance on the Big River Stage in Woldenberg Park, before heading back toward the Quarter on Decatur Street to hear Tuba Skinny playing on the Jack Daniels Stage. And because we can run fast in radio life, we can haul butt over to the Hilton Tricentennial Stage to catch the Preservation All-Stars.
After a little break with showcasing other artists featured later in the festival, we go back to real time with Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Revue performing at the River Stage again. And then we dash to Tropical Isle Hand Grenade Stage to catch Alex McMurray. During this imaginary real-time tour of the first day of French Quarter Fest, we also hear Banu Gibson.
Later in my show, I honor Johnny Dodds, a first generation jazz musician who performed with Joe “King” Oliver. He and his younger brother, the drummer Warren “Baby” Dodds were part of Armstrong’s Hot Five and Hot Seven. In honor of his birthday (April 12, 1892), this show dives into two versions of the same song that feature dual solos by Dodds. The songs have different titles and different release dates though they were recorded back to back by Louis Armstrong and His Hot Seven.
S.O.L. Blues and Low Gully Blues feature Armstrong and Johnny Dodds at their peak, doing technically difficult and brilliant solos. S.O.L. Blues was recorded on May 13, 1927 in Chicago for Okeh records but was not released until Columbia Records got a hold of the collection 15 years later. The original release version went under the title of Gully Low Blues and was recorded the next day, May 14. Both versions have their merits but I play them because I love the amazing tempo shift that Dodds pulls of during his solo. For more on this, check out Ricky Riccardi’s blog. I also play a favorite, Dippermouth Blues, recorded by King Oliver’s Creole Jazz Band in April 1923, because it contains a famous Dodds solo.
I’ve got other fun stuff on this show including Dana Abbott, Yvette Landry, the Subdudes and Eric Lindell, just to name a few. Thank you for reading and listening. Please consider subscribing.