I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve misunderstood lyrics to the point of singing them out loud in their mind-mangled state. But when John Gourrier did that, he ended up writing a number one song. Judy in Disguise (with Glasses).
The Beatle’s “Lucy in the Sky” was initially heard by Gourrier, who fronted the Baton Rouge band John Fred and the Playboys, as Lucy in Disguise. While Gourrier and the band are often referred to as a novelty act and a one-hit wonder, Gourrier performed for 50 years and left behind several other musical gems including the one that starts this week’s show.
The first set is bookended with versions of the Judy in Disguise. The original kicks it off and Jello Biafra & the New Orleans Raunch and Soul All-Stars finish with a rather more raucous version.
This show also includes a stunny version of “It All Ends the Same” by Antoine Diel & Misfit Power, Jonathon Long whose also from Baton Rouge shares a number from his latest record, Champion Jack Dupree serves up two helpings of Cabbage Greens, the Radiators jam on “Like Dreamers Do,” and two dozen other New Orleans area musicians share their music with you. I hope you enjoy it.
The first original Gumbo YaYa show since the state’s shelter-in-place order ended my live broadcasts is aided greatly by the kindness of New Orleans musicians who sent me audio clips recorded from their shelter. You’ll hear their voices and their music when you click the sideways arrow below. If you keep reading, you’ll learn a bit more about these talented artists.
Dr. John’s “Locked Down” starts the show and I follow that up with a set dedicated to everyone who is having to get out there and work to ensure essential services. Preservation Hall Jazz Band does a lively version of “St. James Infirmary” followed by the original “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” with Huey “Piano” Smith & The Clowns. But please stay with the show at least to the 20 minute mark when you’ll get to meet Antoine Diel.
Born in Manila, Philippines but raised in California, Antoine Diel is a fixture in the New Orleans club scene with regular gigs (at least until recently) at the Spotted Cat, the Carousel Room at Hotel Monteleone and Buffa’s. He checks into the show after I play his beautiful rendition of “Dahil Sa Iyo” which he sings both in Tagalog and English (“Because of You”). You’ll then hear two cuts off his record On the Corner of Hope and New Orleans. Here’s his website where you can find more of his music and say hi to him.
Abigail Cosio of Bon Bon Vivant comes on next (about 35 minutes in). Her band plays infectious music (perhaps not the best description in a pandemic) that she writes. You’ll want to catch her regular Facebook feeds where she and fellow band member and partner Jeremy Kelley do live shows (with other remotely placed musicians) in very creative ways. You can support the band by buying their music but they are also directing tips to the Krewe of Red Beans project Feed the Frontline NOLA which according to the website is working to “feed hospital workers across New Orleans, employ out-of-work musicians/artists, and support locally-owned restaurants during the COVID-19 crisis.”
Alex McMurray is the bard of New Orleans, detailing its deep crevices and taking us to places that tourist rarely frequent. He kicks off his set (after about 50 minutes into the show) with a journey to Hank’s Supermarket on St. Claude Avenue — not too far away from the Saturn and the Carnaval Lounge where he has on a semi-frequent basis assembled a mix of musicians to perform sea shanties under the moniker of the Valparaiso Men’s Chorus. He also has records featuring Rock Steady, vintage American folk music, and original songs by him and other well-regarded New Orleans songwriters (Write Brothers). But his most prolific and still active project is Tin Men featuring one of the best sousaphone players performing anywhere, Matt Perine, and Washboard Chaz Leary. I play one of their songs in Alex’s set. Here’s his website.
Robert Snow aka Kid Eggplant – I couldn’t believe my luck when I bought one of his records last year from Louisiana Music Factory on impulse just because I liked the cover. And it turned out to be great and one of my favorites of the year. How often does that happen? (Never seems to work with wine) Robert is a native of New Orleans and hearing him talk takes me back to my days in the 60’s as a kid in New Orleans. Yes, he goes by the name of Kid Eggplant and his band is the Melatauns usually with with an adjective like “swinging” or “mighty.” While he’s adept at podcasts and live Facebook shows, for some reason he doesn’t have a website. Make it a shelter in place project, Robert! Look for these key words on your favorite streaming service “Kid Eggplant,” “Melatauns” and “Abitals” and of course you can order his music from your local independent record shop.
I have two of Kelcy Mae‘s solo albums (she has three) and I play them regularly on my show. But you’ll hear Kelcy introduce (about an hour and 20 minutes in) her latest project, Ever More Nest, on this show. She also has her own website where I learned she was born on St. Patrick’s Day in Shreveport, Louisiana. She came to New Orleans to attend university and has pretty much stayed, creating music like you’ll hear during her set.
The last musician to co-host the show is a Jack Sledge, a New York native now in New Orleans and he introduces his latest release. Here’s his website.
I finish the show with a set of music by Ellis Marsalis, Jr. who died last week from what appears to be complications of COVID-19. Marsalis was not just a great musician and composer. He was a teacher (Harry Connick Jr. and Donald Harrison to name two students) . He was a mentor and father (Wynton, Delfeayo, Branford and Jason). He was a major force in the New Orleans community, creating affordable housing through the Musician’s Village.
I’m going to try to coax a few more New Orleans musicians to send radio drops for the next show. Sonny Landreth already has. So consider subscribing and stay healthy and we’ll talk again soon.
This week’s show starts off with a Django Reinhardt inspired song but then takes a deep dive into some dark covers of songs by Marianne Faithfull, the Kinks and Dr. John.
Zazou City starts the show with “Django in the Jungle” followed by “Midnight Blues” by Tuba Skinny. Then Antoine Diel and his powerful voice takes over with “Strange Weather” — the song written by Tom Waits and Kathleen Brennan for Marianne Faithfull and inspired by Faithfull’s struggle with drug rehab and a relationship that ended with her partner committing suicide.
The songs get a bit more upbeat after that . . . at least for a while But then Sabertooth Swing does a version of “Alcohol” by The Kinks. “Sad memories I cannot recall. Who thought I would fall a slave to demon alcohol.”
You’ll hear a rarely played song by Frankie Lowery “I Ain’t Had No Sleep” followed by Chuck Carbo’s swinging but somewhat depressing “Average Kind of Guy.” We dip into Crescent Gold (Allen Toussaint’s R&B dream team recording) for “Junco Partner.” By the time the show cleared the hour mark, it just seemed natural to play Dee-1’s reggae-inflected “Fighting Thru Depression.” Don’t worry. It’s a positive song.
If you can make it that far, stick around for the 12 and half minute version of Dr. John’s legendary “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” featuring Jello Biafra and a smartly recruited group of New Orleans rockers. No deep message here. Just fun.
As for the show, its not nearly as depressing as my description sounds. I hope you enjoy the show. Please subscribe.
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.
Click the arrow in the box to this week’s edited show started and then read about what you will hear
New Orleans vocalists have such a deep musician’s bench to pull from for their recordings that its no surprise they’re great to listen to. But there’s no question who the star is in the songs I played today. . .starting with “Sweet Home New Orleans” by Dr. John. It’s the voice!
Alexandra Scott follows with her haunting “Something Altogether New.” I played a rare major label song with Harry Connick Jr. doing “Wish I Were Him” and Antoine Diel does a duet with Arsene Delay singing “Bless You (For the Good That is in You).
Later sets include Marva Wright, Linnzi Zaorski, Lena Prima, Aaron Neville, Johnny Adams, Percy Mayfield, Ingrid Lucia, and Debbie Davis. Sarah Quintana, Miss Sophie Lee and Theryl Declouet (Houseman) keep the focus on the voice. Though in every case, there is excellent support.
I realize I could easily do another show of vocalists without repeating. Afterall, this show does not include Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, Fats Domino, John Boutte to name a few. Instead, I finish twith a tribute to my alma mater, a trio of songs on Georgia to honor the University of Georgia marching band getting to perform in the Rose Bowl and now the NCAA championship. Go dawgs!
James DuMont may have one of those mugs that looks familiar but it was his feet, not his face, that first caught my attention.
Antoine Diel and the Misfit Power had started in on a salsa number when DuMont broke off his conversation with the doorman, burst into the night club, grabbed the hand of an unsuspecting but willing woman and started dancing in the narrow open space between the band and the patrons of The Spotted Cat.
Diel and his band were hot that night. But so was DuMont. And that’s when I put my finger on why he looked familiar. For all four seasons of Treme, DuMont played the character of Captain Richard Lafouchette, the honest sheriff department officer who routinely complied with Toni Bernette’s request for public records.
Not a major role but one essential to moving the plot forward, similar to the hundreds of other characters he’s played in movies and television over the last four decades. And yet later as we stood talking outside the Frenchmen Street nightclub, he modestly didn’t believe I had recognized him. “Who told you?”
Off camera DuMont is a helluva lot hipper than his Treme character who he depicts in one scene orgasmically wolfing down a piece of fried chicken at Lil’ Dizzy’s Cafe. I found it hard to imagine him playing the red-baiting corrupt congressman J. Parnell Thomas in Trumbo or the breast-growing empathetic husband of a pregnant woman in the television show House. Later, when I checked out his IMDB profile, the role I thought best fit his personality was his first one, an uncredited appearance in The Blues Brothers as “kid dancing in the street.”
Born and raised in Chicago and New York City, DuMont now lives full time with his family in New Orleans. (this last sentence was changed from my original post when we had to reschedule his interview) He joined me on my radio show on June 2 to talk about New Orleans, its music and just how tasty Lil’ Dizzy’s fried chicken really is. (Listen Full show or just listen to the interview.)