Mama Don’t Like It But I Do – You Too?

This month’s Gumbo YaYa dance party starts off with Smiley Lewis’ “Mama Don’t Like It” an R&B spinoff of the even older “Mama Don’t Allow” standard. And a fitting start to the September dance party edition of Gumbo Ya Ya. If you can read this while dancing, go ahead and start the player below.

First, a nod to the victims of the Gulf of Mexico storm Ida, hitting Louisiana and Mississippi with Category 4 winds and picking up sky loads of water that created flash flooding in New Jersey and New York City. This is the time of year that I have produced a show-long annual recognition of Hurricane Katrina – a tradition I decided to retire this year.

This first long set of songs and a set later in the show were all recorded in the famous Cosimo Matassa studios which was located in the French Quarter in the 1950’s and 1960’s. You’ll hear some you expect such as Fats Domino and Little Richard but also Jessie Hill, Shirley & Lee, Paul Gayten, Roland Cook, Chris Kenner and The Showmen. These songs got the country to dance and still works for me.

The show allows you to catch your breath (because you are dancing to all this, right?) with a waltz by Shotgun Jazz Band and gradually works the pace back up to a frenzy with Tuba Skinny, Meschiya Lake, and Chloe Feoranzo. Later, Eddie Bo (“Check Your Bucket”), Earl King and two from the Meters allow us to show off our more funky moves.

Later in the show, if you have the stamina, we spin some Zydeco and a bit of salsa — thanks to Terrance Simien, Donna Angelle, Fredy Omar and Jon Cleary.

Al “Carnival Time” Johnson recording “Red Beans”

A little after the 30 minute mark, Al “Carnival Time” Johnson sings his new song “Red Beans”— a tribute to the Krewe of Red Beans which has been doing great work in supporting New Orleans’ entertainment community. Here’s more on them.


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.