Mick Jagger’s health issues cancelled the Stone’s North American tour so I thought this week’s show, aired right as the gates were opening at the race track where Jazz Fest is held, should feature the great New Orleans songs covered by this great rock n roll band over its lengthy career. I started with “Fortune Teller”, using the snaky version by The Iguanas. Dale Hawkins takes it from there with “Suzie Q,” followed by Irma Thomas’ “Time Is On My Side,” Larry Williams’ “She Said Yea” and Slim Harpo’s “Shake Your Hips.” He comes back later to sing “I’m a King Bee.”
I also feature a cover by Erica Falls of Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” because apparently that band was arranged as a fill in for the Stone but bailed when Stevie Nicks had health issues. Damn, we’re getting old.
Perhaps my favorite pairing of songs in the show is Maria Muldaur’s rendition of Danny Barker’s “Now You’re Down in the Alley” followed by Antoine Diel’s robust “Hallelujah, I Love You So.”
Stay with me to the end to hear the Radiator’s Jazz Fest performance of “7 Devils”. This live recording was captured in 2006 at the first festival after Hurricane Katrina. I was lucky enough to catch that performance. What I can’t recreate was the amazing healing vibe that was going on throughout the field as New Orleanians who just gone through a lot of pain, swayed to their favorite hometown jam band. I could sense their return to home.
I’m a little late in posting last Thursday’s show but I’m hoping its worth the wait, featuring music written by and in some cases performed by Earl Silas Johnson – aka Earl King.
Born in the Irish Channel district of New Orleans on February 7, 1934, Earl Silas Johnson is behind one of the more covered Mardi Gras standards, “Big Chief.” So in today’s show (which you should have playing by now – click the arrow above) I dive into Earl King’s music as well as other Mardi Gras numbers — including perhaps the most covered “Mardi Gras in New Orleans” song written by Professor Longhair.
This weekend, the 2019 Mardi Gras parade season ramped up with the quirky, Sci-Fi parade “Krewe of Chewbacchus.” The 900-member, self-described satirical space cult, walks, pedals, pushes but does not drive its contraptions down its parade route. Only three rules: No unicorns unless with rocket thrusters; no elves unless cyborgs; and no whinebots.
Earl King kicks the show off with one of my favorites: “No City Like New Orleans.” Later I play an early recording of his called “Til I Say Well Done” and an example of him funking it up with “Do the Grind.” Covers of King songs by The Roamin’ Jasmine and Dr. John round out my tribute to what would have been his 85th birthday if we hadn’t lost him in 2003. I finish the Earl King segment with The Radiator’s tribute song “King Earl.”
The fun continues though with new music by Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Lena Prima. Benny Turner, Big Al and the Heavyweights and Yvette Landry and the Jukes.
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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, I’m perhaps just a bit more of serious in my pursuit of an answer from the perspective of New Orleans music. 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 love, 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 you’ll at least need to listen to a bit of the show and let me know what you think by subscribing or leaving a comment. Cheers.
Nothing like putting up a new calendar to feel the passage of time. Was 2018 a good year? What about 2019? Welcome to my musical reflection of this new year (first show of 2019) with amazing music from New Orleans. You can play it now while you finish reading
No matter how good my life is, it all seems hollow with our growing unhoused population, a gridlock country and a world that requires solutions built from collaboration rather than conflict. These thoughts guided my selections of songs.
Earl King kicks off the show with his “Make a Better World” followed by Lee Dorsey singing “Why Wait Until Tomorrow.” Later, Colin Lake performs his original song “The World Alive” followed by Tom Hambone’s “Faith” from his NOLA Sessions’ recording
The Radiators exhort us to “Never Let Your Fire Go Out” aided by The Neville Brothers “Wake Up” and Galactic’s “Action Speaks Louder than Words.”
“Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further” written and sung by Allen Toussaint with help from Elvis Costello seemed to fit right in at this point, along with “Street Symphony” by the Subdudes and an encore by Toussaint with “We’re All Connected.”
Carlo Ditto and Louie Ludwig songs take on complacency when it comes to war and Irma Thomas and James Booker close it off with “River is Waiting” and “Amen” respectively.
In between the above are appropriate songs by Dr. John, Helen Gillet, Paul Sanchez, the Iguanas, John Mooney, Mem Shannon, Marcia Ball and Ever More Nest.
I wish you a happy and fulfilling year. Stay engaged!
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.
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.
Hello. Today’s show marked three full years of airing a show about New Orleans music in a town over 2200 miles away from the Crescent City. My thanks to community radio station KAOS and its listeners and supporters for letting me do this show.
The show kicks off with Theryl “Houseman” Declouet with his infamous introduction regarding the third world status of New Orleans at a Galactic concert and flows quickly into Shamarr Allen’s “Party All Night.” Al Hirt takes a turn and so does patron saint of this website and the show, Ernie K-Doe, with his classic “A Certain Girl.” Who is she? Can’t tell ya. I have reggae and hornpipes, jazz and blues and an amazing live airing of the Radiator’s 7 Devils from the 2006 New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. It was that concert that cinched the deal for me that I would be coming back to New Orleans as often as I could.
Here’s the edited show from today (September 7, 2017) marking three years. Thank you for listening.
Are you ready to get in the holiday spirit New Orleans style? Here’s the edited radio archived show inspired by the season.
I’ve pulled together another collection of videos of NOLA musicians celebrating the season. Starting with Shamarr Allen and friends busting moves to “This Christmas.”
Spencer Bohren fronts an all-star New Orleans cast including his son Andre and Marc Paradis of Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notes, Camille Baudin and Reggie Scanlon of The Radiators and featuring the amazing saxophone of Aurora Nealand.
Hannukkah has passed and this isn’t necessarily a seasonal song but its a fascinating video of the New Orleans Klezmer All Star Band. Check out that violin.
Tom Day Wait and his group Pigpen is another excellent example of how many young excellent musicians shun Nashville for New Orleans to do real country. Here he is doing “I’m Trimming My Christmas Tree with Teardrops.”
When that country sound hits New Orleans swing, sometimes the music comes out like”Santa’s Going Back Home,” by Jenavieve Cook & the Royal St Winding Boys.
Kelcy Mae used to have to spend her holidays splitting time between her family and her partner. This poignant video and her elegant song celebrate how the legal and social acceptance of same sex marriages (and the relationships that build toward that commitment) make it easier to stay together during Christmas.
I’ll have some of these songs above and much more on Monday’s show. You all have a fine and relaxing holiday. Stay in touch by subscribing and tuning in.
This is my second year of offering holiday videos. Check out last year’s collection which features Kermit Ruffins, Bonerama, Aaron Neville, Luke Winslow-King, Benny Bunch, TBC Brass Band, Paul Sanchez, Funky Butt Brass Band, and Trombone Shorty.
Here’s Part One of my survey of New Orleans (and nearby) releases for 2015 worthy of your attention. I’ve played this music on Sweeney’s Gumbo YaYa and I’ll play them a lot more through the rest of this month. So many good releases, there will be a part two very soon. The first four albums below were featured heavily in my November 30 show and many of the albums following those four were featured in this show.
The New Orleans Jazz Vipers – An institution on Frenchmen Street that gained fame through the HBO series Treme, the Vipers have locked in their reputation with their fifth release, Going, Going Gone. The six-member band will take you back to the day when swing bands were laying the foundation for R&B.
Red Hot Brass Band – Fire-bearded Doyle Cooper keeps the spirit alive. Don’t let his youth fool you. Doyle grew up in the tradition and has the chops to prove it. His band’s inaugural release Hot Off the Presses hits the usual touchstones like Tiger Rag, West End Blues, Bourbon Street Parade and Go To the Mardi Gras. But there’s nothing stale about their execution.
Shotgun Jazz Band – I dare you to try to sit still while listening to Yearning. They bill themselves as playing traditional New Orleans jazz in the spirit of the Great Revivalists. It’s fresh, uncluttered and expertly delivered. It came out late enough last year that I’m including it in this 2015 review.
Aurora Nealand & the Royal Roses – I totally missed this 2014 release until I bought The Lookback Transmission from Aurora during a break at the Maison last spring. Uber-talented Nealand demonstrates her ability to put a fresh, entertaining spin on traditional jazz and swing. Having sousaphone savant Matt Perrine backing her doesn’t hurt either. Everyone of the 16 tracks are a delight.
Peter Novelli – His third release, St. Amant Sessions, reminds me how engaging blues can be, particularly in the hands of a songwriter and performer who knows how to shake it up with zydeco, swamp, slide and funk. From Shreveport Stomp to I-10 Boogie to his anecdotal Drinkin’ and Driving, Novelli has solidified his space on the KAOS blues shelf.
Little Freddie King – His distinctive delta/country blues makes him easy to love. His persistence in returning to the city after Katrina to live, perform and record is another testament of why I love New Orleans. His latest Messin’ Around tha Livin’ Room (a reference to the Algiers studio he recorded in) delivers beyond expectation.
Papa Mali – Also recorded at the The Living Room, Music is Love mixes covers of Joni Mitchell, Fred McDowell, Mississippi John Hurt, Lead Belly and the title track by David Crosby with a few originals by this former reggae rocker, turned funk, blues, swamp guru.
Josh Garrett – Having returned to Louisiana after a brief flirtation with Nashville, Garrett deploys just the right mix of delta blues, soul, swing and swamp in Honey For My Queen. Baton Rouge legend James Johnson who played with Slim Harpo joins in while fiddler Waylon Thibodeux adds one more reminder where this music is coming from.
The Deslondes – This young band defies New Orleans music stereotype while creating country-infused songs rooted in the city’s soul. The self-titled debut album presents an array of facets with all five band members contributing songs and taking turns on singing. Like all memorable CDs, this one grows on me the more I push “play.”
Lynn Drury – Another 2014 release that I missed last year but deserves mention. I fell in love with Lynn when I first caught the video of her CD title track “Come to My House” video. This collection is a powerful observation of love with wonderful, occasionally sultry vocals and excellent guitar support by Alex McMurray.
The Radiators – The band that wouldn’t die. Allegedly retired, the Radz still occasionally perform for those lucky enough to catch them. For the rest of us, there is the Wild and Free releases. Part II includes vintage performances from the Dream Palace, Tipitina’s and Knight Studios. Get your fishhead on.
Clayton Doley – Funky didgeridoo! What else needs to be said? A lot if we’re talking about Bayou Billabong. Doley’s an Aussie but he recorded part of this CD at the Music Shed in New Orleans with the backing of the Absolute Monster Gentlemen (as in Jon Cleary and . . .) and the Treme Funktet.
Jon Cleary –Speaking of Cleary, his releases are always a delight. Sadly, for GoGo Juice, he switched from Basin Street Records, which has always done a great job of sharing music with KAOS, to a new label which has failed in that chore. Still, the cuts I’ve heard on line show he continues to be a master of blending soul, funk and R&B.
Catch my show on Mondays or online. And subscribe to the blog to be sure to catch Part 2 of this 2015 retrospective.