Great singing and rocking rhythms as the women take center stage on this week’s Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa. You can listen to the show right from this page using the player below
Arsene Delay starts the show with the title track from her record “Coming Home.” Thirty songs follow all featuring a woman singer, musician and/or bandleader, including new music by Lynn Drury and Tiffany Pollack and great classics by Marva Wright and Irma Thomas.
But before you get to them, you’ll hear “My Sin” by the all-female Shake ‘Em Up Jazz Band and “My Darlin’ New Orleans” featuring a beat poet intro by Little Queenie.
While we celebrate a secular Christmas at our house, it is bound in tradition. As Tevye says, without tradition our lives are “as shaky as a fiddler on the roof.” And tradition involves music. So welcome to the 2020 Gumbo YaYa Winter Holiday Music Show!
Smoky Greenwell kicks off the show with a rollicking instrumental version of “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. ” Other seasonal standards follow such as “Santa Baby” (Lena Prima), “Jingle Bells” (Fats Domino), “O Tannebaum” (Ellis Marsalis), “Zat You Santa Claus” (Louis Armstrong), and “Santa, Let Me Call You a Cab” . . . Wait! What?
Well, I wouldn’t want the show to get bogged down in so many sentimental touchstones that it goes down like last year’s Christmas fruitcake. So I sprinkle in some fresher nuggets of holiday cheer including a few from A Very Threadhead Holiday.
In addition to Alex McMurray’s ballad of how to extricate a drunken Santa from your home, this show includes “Pimp My Sleigh” (Theryl DeClouet the “Houseman”), “Christmas Biya Mama (Andre Bouvier’s Royal Bohemians), “Christmas Like Ya Just Don’t Care” (Panorama Jazz Band), “Santa Won the Lottery” (Frankie Ford) and, of course since its a New Orleans music show, “12 Yats of Christmas” (Benny Grunch and the Bunch).
There’s some fine vocal performances including those by Debbie Davis, Sweet Cecilia, Aaron Neville and my favorite, the Zion Harmonizers doing “White Christmas.”
And for lagniappe, Kermit Ruffins, who you’ll hear early in the show doing “Crazy Cool Christmas,” closes the show with his real Christmas wish (it’s the same every year actually) – “A Saints Christmas” – the New Orleans Saints football team in the Super Bowl. As long as they don’t play like they did against the Chiefs this weekend, they just might make it.
I love doing this show but the COVID closure of the KAOS studio has made it a true act of love.. Instead of slinging CD’s in real time, rocking out to the music and recording the show as it happens, I assemble the show, loading it up one song file at a time. But some times mistakes are made and for some reason, after my second try last week, I still had not managed to play Irma Thomas’ “Hittin on Nothin.’ That’s right I failed to hit Hittin on Nothin.
The first full set of this week’s show starts with that song and I think I got it right this time. The set is rounded out with Larry Williams’ “Bad Boy,” Creole String Beans “Seven Nights to Rock,” Lloyd Price’s “Where You At?” and a one-off record credited to “Marie Boubarere.” It’s possible this singer worked under other names as related by Dan Phillips in his wonderful music blog “Home of the Groove.”
Bobby Rush joins the show in the second set with a message recorded from his home. At 86, this grammy winning guitarist, singer, songwriter is still cranking out original music. Check out his website. That set also includes Leyla McCalla, Davell Crawford and Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes amongothers.
Andre Bouvier does a straight send up of the Kinks indictment of wealth “Sunny Afternoon” and from that song we flow into Smoky Greenwell’s anthem for the 99 percent and Occupy wall street movement.
Lena Prima has a done a wide mix of music including some wonderful personal songs of her own, but her live performance harkens to her father, Louie, in her live album recorded at the Dew Drop in Mandeville. You can hear and feel it when I do back to back Prima songs.
Later, Roland Guerin, who was Allen Toussaint”s bass player when he toured near the end of this life, does a song off his latest album and Delfeayo Marsalis takes a nice turn with the Sesame Street TV show theme song.
Much more in this show but I’ll let you discover those gems on your own. Let me know think by commenting on this page or you can reach me through Facebook. Keep tuned in.
Shamarr Allen wants to keep you in shape for when Second Lines return. This means today’s show kicks off with”Quarantine and Chill” and Allen’s exhortation that “just because you’re stuck in the house, don’t mean you can’t . . .show me that footwork!”
Get my show started and I’ll fill you in on the rest of the program’s line up.
Four more fine New Orleans artists help me out with calling the music this week, starting with Debbie Davis, former member of the Pfister Sisters. Davis has just released her second record with pianist Josh Paxton t– Interesting Times. She introduces us to her new album (about 5 minutes into the show) with “Other Than Everything, Everything’s Great” and “Will It Go Round in Circles.” She sings two more times in the set — David Bowie’s “The Man Who Sold the World” from her latest record and Lou Reed’s “After Hours” from an earlier project — Debbie Davis and the Mesmerizers.
Lena Prima comes on (at about 38 minutes into the show) to talk about how she’s been doing during the quarantine. As you can see from the picture, she’s been busy making masks. In her set, you’ll hear songs from three of her albums — the title track “Since the Storm”written by her husband who leads her band, “Jump for Joy” from her album of original songs Starting Something and a live recording of a classic pulled from her father’s songbook, “Scuba Diver.”
You will meet Sierra Green at about the 50 minute mark. Sierra Green & the Soul Machine recently received Offbeat Magazine‘s Best Emerging Artist award. You’ll hear two tracks from her self-titled debut record and, just for fun, I finish that set with Glen David Andrews powering through a Galactic number (You Don’t Know). If you were waiting to dance, wait no more!
Davis Rogan was scheduled to perform at Octapas in Olympia next month but obviously those plans are no longer. Like just about every professional musician with a mortgage, Davis has been learning how to get his music and his tip jar out on the Internet. You can catch his live performances on his Facebook page Sundays at 10 a.m. and Wednesdays at 4 p.m. (Left Coast Times). Rogan joins the show about 65 minutes in and introduces his latest single “Mardi Gras Chicken” followed by “No Blues” and “Fly Away.”
I throw in a set of Zydeco and Cajun along with a long string of brass band music kicked off by Chuck Carbo’s “Hurt Coming On.” But before I do that, I make a pitch for supporting community radio. My show airs on Thursdays on KAOS and Fridays on KMRE. Listener support is essential to these stations continued survival.
As for me, I just want to smile and you can make me smile by subscribing to this blog. I’ll be back next week.
I was in my 30’s when I finally understood that the deep depression I experienced every time I moved was related to having left New Orleans when I was a child. Hosting a radio show of New Orleans music has been cathartic. And today’s show marks five years on the air. (you can get the show started and then continue reading this post.)
Joe Lastie’s “New Orleans in Me” speaks to how when you live away from New Orleans (as happened with hundreds of thousands of residents post Hurricane Katrina) , the city stays with you. The song has always resonated for me and it opens this show as a way to honor why I’ve been doing this show for five years.
I was 10 when my family moved away and my heart stayed with the city, aided by frequent visits, until I moved out of the south after I graduated from college. The Northwest was such a good fit for me that over time, I lost touch with my New Orleans feelings — except that sense of loss that would return every time I moved into a new apartment or home.
By the time I returned to visit my sister who had moved back, it had been almost 30 years since I had visited New Orleans. I caught the New Orleans Nightcrawlers at the 2006 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival which caused me to have almost a mystical experience. I just loved their sound and quickly learned that there was more to New Orleans music than Dixieland. The Nightcrawlers open the first full set of the show with “Can of Worms.”
I do a funk set with Mem Shannon, Allen Toussaint and Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes. I make sure New Orleans Bounce is represented with the Queen of Bounce Big Freedia doing “Lift Dat Leg Up.”
I try to hint at the diversity of New Orleans music with original songs by Leyla McCalla, Anders Osborne, Kelcy Mae and Lena Prima. I throw in a fun set of Zydeco as well since that is music I would not have learned to love if I had not been doing this show. I hope you have a chance to listen to some of my shows and appreciate the uniquely melting pot American music that emanates from New Orleans
Thank you for tuning in and please consider subscribing.
To me, the Thanksgiving holiday is about being at home with loved ones. And so this show is about getting home and being home.
After Earl King sings about “Eating and Sleeping” (a succinct description of the typical Thanksgiving Day), I move on to this show’s theme with Seth Walker’s “Home Again.” I switch genre with a rock steady number by New Orleans reggae group 007 and finish the set with Clifton Chenier doing “I Am Coming Home.”
The Radiators do “The Long Hard Journey Home” and Lloyd Price asks for a another chance with “Let Me Come Home Baby.” Hoagy Carmichael’s early composition “My Home, New Orleans” gets a wonderful instrumental treatment by Al Hirt later in the show followed by Papa Grows Funk.
Before performing “Home”, Paul Sanchez introduces horn players Craig Klein and Shamarr Allen with a story of how these musicians helped him restore his home after Hurricane Katrina destroyed it. Stay with the show through to the end and you’ll hear Lena Prima’s song “Come On a My House” and Clarence Brown singing “On My Way Back Home.”
I hope the holidays find you in a place that you can call home. My best to you. Thanks for listening.
This week’s show is one of me catching up on playing music I’ve been meaning to get to but hadn’t been able to work it into a set. Here it is, with announcements edited out.
Tin Men’s “Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing” is another fine demonstration of how well Matt Perrine can play melody on a sousaphone. Their new album is Sing with Me and it kicks off the show. I dive into an earlier album of Bon Bon Vivant by playing the title track from”Paint & Pageantry,” serving notice that this show will rock a bit more than usual. By the time Bill Pierce does the Sonny Landreth number “Zydecoldsmobile” we are definitely rocking.
For some reason the 2001 release The Hoodoo Kings sitting in the KAOS blues section managed to elude my discovery until recently. This one-off album features Eddie Bo of New Orleans along with two well-regarded Baton Rouge musicians, Raful Neal and Rockin’ Tabby Thomas. I played “Luberta” and expect to hear more from this album in future shows. Ivan Neville’s collaboration with Chris Jacobs makes its debut on my show with “Money Talks” and I also play the opening track of the Ever More Nest release “Unraveling.”
A new group called Old Riley and Water also debut on my show and I play from Lena Prima’s new release Prima La Famiglia. There’s more in the show but if I haven’t convinced you to start playing by now, there’s no point writing any more. But if you do like, please subscribe. See you next week.
I miss the days when my Dad would pull out the slide projector and set up the screen and we’d look at the slides of our last vacation. Well, get my show started and you’ll hear an audio slideshow of my trip to New Orleans last week.
Since this show was part of the KAOS pledge drive, I have the honor of Anch Bergeson, host of Sundrenched, and Vertis Love, host of Old Ship of Zion (KAOS shows) as company. I kept our discussion of New Orleans but edited out the pledge requests. However, if you want to support our community radio station, its easy to do.
For West Coast visitors, there’s a nice alignment for catching Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf Bar on Tuesday nights. Usually, flights are cheaper on Tuesday and the two-hour time change helps in terms of staying up late enough to see this venerable band that usually doesn’t start performing until after 10:30 p.m. This show recognizes how I started last week’s trip with Rebirth’s “Who’s Rockin’, Who’s Rollin”
My next set portrays our ride on the Natchez boat down the Mississippi, an easy and fun tourist activity and I feature two bands we saw later in the day at clubs on Frenchmen Street (Bon Bon Vivant and Tin Men).
I do a set featuring coffee because my wife, Kim, still raves about the cup of coffee she had at Morning Call located at City Park. Most tourists get their cafe au lait at Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter. Morning Call used to be there but now they have a wonderful place at City Park. I finish the set with a Corey Henry song because we ended the day at Vaughan’s in the Bywater for his weekly late Thursday night performance.
Lena Prima, Louis’ daughter, is a wonderful performer with an excellent band and a crowd-pleasing songbook. She holds court in the Carousel Room of the Monteleone Hotel every Friday night. I play “Scuba Diver” off her live album which pretty accurately captures the music but to catch the antics, you’ll have to wait for my narrative after that set.
I caught up with Helen Gillet at the Courtyard Brewery’s fourth anniversary party and she gave me her latest release and I play “You Found Me.” Charles Sheffield “It’s Your Voodoo Working” and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown’s “Swamp Ghost” symbolize the Krewe of Boo parade we caught.
It took some deciphering but we figured out how to catch up with the Men of Luck’s Second Line parade on Sunday. Cyril Neville’s “Running with the Second Line.” capture that feeling.
I love birthdays and so it was no surprise that I thoroughly enjoyed myself on today’s Anniversary show. I hope you enjoy listening to it. (Go ahead and click the arrow right below and get it started)
Marcia Ball’s “The Party’s Still Going On,” which kicked off the show, totally fit my mood. In September of 2014 when the first Gumbo YaYa was recorded, I was a little nervous about how long I’d be able to sustain a show, aired in the Pacific Northwest, of strictly New Orleans music. After all, the KAOS air studio is more than 2,720 miles from Frenchmen Street).
But with the help and kindness of New Orleans musicians, music distributors and labels ike Basin Street Records, I’ve been getting some current music. I’m surprised how much variety the New Orleans format offers. And what particularly amazes me is how much I’ve learned in the last four years. (Several trips to New Orleans have helped — I like this hobby!).
On my bucket list for my next New Orleans visit is catching Lena Prima and her talented band in the Carousel Room of the Monteleone Hotel. Yes, its a total tourist thing but damn she does a great job, backed up by her band led by husband and bass player Tim Fahey. Early in today’s show, she pulls off a bit of a medley that starts as you might expect, then gets you and your body moving (guaranteed) by the end.
Got a phone call from a listener when I played The Wild Magnolia’s “Coochie Molly” a rocking song (thank you June Yamagishi on guitar) that dovetailed nicely in to the next track, the New Orleans Nightcrawlers live version of “Tchfuncta/On that Day.” That set finishes with Galactic’s “Wild Man” with chanting by Big Chief Bo Dollis. In fact, all three songs in that set feature chanting by Mardi Gras Indian Big Chiefs.
Another Big Chief performs later in the show but only on the saxophone — Donald Harrison Jr. backs up Davell Crawford in “River/White Socks & Drawers.” When he’s not playing jazz saxophone, Big Chief Donald Harrison Jr. is working on his next Mardi Gras suit. Oh, and before I forget, Dr. John and Big Freedia do some vocals on that Crawford song.
The show also features an in-studio performance (recorded earlier this summer) of “”Kibi” by Helen Gillet. I have other surprises, including a 12-minute live version of the oft-covered “Big Chief.” Thanks so much for putting up with these posts and shows for four years. As long as you don’t complain to management, I’m committed to ensuring that “The Party’s Still Going On,”
I’ve got two shows to share with you this week because I had to dash off last week and didnt’ have a chance to edit and upload until now
Start with this one which has three “kings” in it.
I celebrated Little Freddie King’s birthday with a song by him followed by a song by his namesake, Freddie King. (That’s two of the kings). Little Freddie King is actually Fred Martin and he turned 78 last week. I spin “I Used to be Down” from his latest release. To get to that song though, I “force” you to listen to two jazz and rhythm and blues sets that include tracks from new releases by Jon Cleary, Sabertooth Swing and Tin Men. I hope you can survive and stick with the show for the third king.
Later in the show, I do a set of songs that Elvis Presley popularized, including Smiley Lewis singing “One Night of Sin.” Elvis took the melody but toned down the lyrics so it was moreof a love song and less of a confessional. I did this so I could talk about “The King” a documentary about the American Dream viewed from the perspective of Elvis Presley’s life. I interviewed the director, Eugene Jerecki for a different program, and I include a one-minute clip of that interview where he describes the amazing music in this movie.
The July 26 show celebrates saxophonists Kevin Harris’ birthday by playing “Swampthang” from the New Orleans Suspects live album recorded at the Maple Leaf club. Kevin Harris, who performs with the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, blows his horn with with the Suspect’s Jeff Watkins that must made that old nightclub feel like it was coming down. This song alone is worth playing the show but you’ll also hear Lil Queenie (and Dog Days by Leigh Harris), Dr. John, Charmaine Neville, Lena Prima, Slim Harpo, Zigaboo Modeliste, Larry Garner, Tab Benoit to name a few.