I keep the first of the month dance party tradition rolling into the holiday season with the help of New Orleans and Lafayette musicians, digging a bit deeper to get your hips to swing and your tired dogs high steppin’. First up is Linnzi Zaorski with the “Rhythm in Me.”
In the first full set you’ll get to boogie to a bit of Zydeco, an R&B version of “Lil Liza Jane,” a brass band groove and a blues song. The next set swings from funk to R&B before running into a jazzy swamp number by Bluesiana.
And so it goes through the show bouncing between genres and rhythm speeds but always with a focus to keep you moving.
Kermit Ruffins will explain how to do the “Fat Tuesday.” Johnny Adams will have you “Chasing Rainbows.” And Arsene Delay will let you catch your breath with a “Slow Drag.”
Flow Tribe will go “Back ‘n’ Forth” while Shotgun Jazz Band will be “Steppin’ on the Gas.” Creole String Beans will get you “Barefootin'” while Marcia Ball makes sure “The Party’s Still Going On.” And as the show wears on, Smoking Time Jazz Club will make sure there’s “Friction.” Erica Falls simply sings “Dance.”
And Debbie Davis and family will “Run Run Rudolph.” Remember to stretch before and after.
Johnny Adams could and did sing just about anything and thanks to a wide assortment of recordings, you can hear him masterfully handle blues, gospel, funk, r&b and country. Today’s show demonstrates his upper register as he accompanies a driving guitar riff backed up by organ and horns from a B-side funk recording at the Sea-Saint Studios in 1978, called “Chasing Rainbows.”. It does a great job of introducing the rest of the music that you will hear when you start the player right below. (You can do it now and still read the rest of this.)
Cosimo Matassa, who saw thousands of singers stream through his French Quarter recording studio in his day, believed Adams to be the best because of his range. But I also suspect Matassa liked him because Adams was genuinely a good person who had to work hard for every bit of success he had. Jay Mazza in Up Front and Center describes how Adams would almost run off the stage after each set into the audience to thank people for coming to see him sing. Adams died in 1998 of prostate cancer.
Another gospel-trained singer, Chuck Carbo, sings a soulful number called “Black Widow” shortly into the first full set. He’s followed by Jon Cleary with “Unputdownable.” Paula and the Pontiacs and Big Al & the Heavyweights also weigh in on that set. Stay with that first set long enough and you’ll hear Arsene Delay cover the Stones “Miss You” backed up by the Charlie Wooten Project. (I like her interpretation.)
A reminder that Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa plays music from New Orleans but I make exception for other fine Louisiana musicians, including Carol Fran and BeuoSoleil who you’ll also hear later in the show.
Another R&B highlight is Joe Diamond singing Gossip, Gossip – an Allen Toussaint production where you can hear Toussaint talking briefly in the beginning and end in a simulation of gossip.. (He does it well!)
The Hackberry Ramblers bring on “Poor Hobo” and I pair that song with Gal Holiday’s “Last to Leave.” I also throw in a side of Creole String Beans in that set along with the Radiators making sure that we “Never Let Your Fire Go Out.”
To cap off the parade of R&B senior statesmen, you’ll hear Lee Dorsey with “Wonder Woman” along with a genuine 60’s throwback by Lydia Marcelle “Everybody Dance.” I think you’ll like it.
The show finishes with Bon Bon Vivant’s “Pinkerton” in recognition of the band’s one-year celebration of streaming live weekly shows from their Facebook feed — which also appears on my Facebook page as well every Sunday at 6 p.m. (PST)
Back in the 80’s, I think I played the grooves off my Tubes album with the song “What Do You Want From Life.” The last line regarding a “baby’s arm holding an apple” never failed to crack me up. In this show, you’ll hear songs describing what New Orleans musicians want out of life. Go ahead, get it started . . .you might need to.
What do you want from life? If its Slim Harpo, its money, not alibis. But for Scott Ramminger, its without a doubt a new body. (I can relate). Fats Domino is content if you’ll just let him walk you home. But John Mooney feels like hollerin’ instead. Dr. John would like to make sure New Orleans can mourn properly in a post-Katrina song.
Lots of musicians need loved. Don’t we all. Johnny Adams needs a lot of loving while Yvette Landry needs somebody bad (since she just lost somebody good). Carol Fran would be happy just to be “be’d with”. Chubby Carrier channels Bad Company with “Feel Like Making Love.”
Some needs are a bit hard to explain, like the Radiators “I Want to Go Where the Green Arrow Goes” while others are relatively clear (sort of) such as Marcia Ball’s need for “The Right Tool for the Job.”
Rebirth Brass Band makes it clear they feel like “Busting Loose” while Charmaine Neville is happy with a good song and Albanie Falletta seeks “Someone to Dance With.”
My hope is that what YOU want out of life is to at least listen to more New Orleans music which can be satisfied by listening to this show. Cheers.