A Little Music from The Big Easy

Programming note – Howard Stern interviews Bruce Springsteen on HBO on November 27. 

The weather’s starting to get cold here in New England. This morning it’s 27, last weekend it was 72. Go figure. In any event, as soon as it gets cold, the Music Enthusiast likes to imagine he’s someplace warm, like New Orleans where today they’re going to have a high of – 52?

Ok, well it’s not that warm. But they do have chicory coffee and beignets.

So let’s head down south to New Orleans, LA, and cook up a big dish of gumbo.

From their press: The Mudbugs’ music can best be described as true roots music from the South. The Mudbugs create a delicious Americana music gumbo. You’ll hear a bit of Zydeco, Country, Blues, Cajun, and Folk. The Mudbugs play classic tunes by Clifton Chenier, Hank Williams, Snooks Eaglin, and Doc Watson, just to name a few, as well as many originals penned by the duo.

The Mudbugs are KG Jackson on vocals and guitar with Candy Jackson on accordion, washboard, triangle, and backup vocals.

Wikipedia: The Meters are an American funk band formed in 1965 in New Orleans by Zigaboo Modeliste (drums), George Porter Jr. (bass), Leo Nocentelli (guitar), and Art Neville (keyboards). The band performed and recorded their own music from the late 1960s until 1977 and played an influential role as backing musicians for other artists, including Lee Dorsey, Robert Palmer, Dr. John, and Allen Toussaint.

A few months ago, astute readers will recall that ME went to an Allmans/Dead rock camp. The music played wasn’t entirely those two bands and The Meters’ “Cissy Strut” was apparently a perennial favorite. I learned it quickly but alas never got to play it:

I’m pretty sure you know Aaron Neville from the Neville Brothers. I spoke about them before in this post. Here he’s joined on “Stomping Ground” by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

“The Dirty Dozen Brass Band is a brass band based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The ensemble was established in 1977, by Benny Jones and members of the Tornado Brass Band. The Dirty Dozen revolutionized the New Orleans brass band style by incorporating funk and bebop into the traditional New Orleans jazz style and since has been a major influence on local music.”

This one’s got more than a little bit of that second line feel:

You know how there’s sometimes strange synchronicity in stuff that happens? Well, recently I started reading a fascinating book by Ted Gioia called The History of Jazz. Far from being some dry tome, the book really brings the genre alive and traces it back to specific types of music from Africa and really from all over the world.

You may (or may not) be surprised to know that one of the first truly great famous influential jazz musicians was Louis Armstrong.* Sure you know him like a lot of people do, that smilin’ guy with a handkerchief who’s always singing in some growly voice and did “Hello Dolly.”

Well, not only does this book set the record straight on old Louis as a true innovator but the synchronicity here is that Apple TV just started airing a documentary about Satchmo called Black & Blues: The Colorful Ballad of Louis Armstrong. And to top it all off I just got a music magazine in the mail showing one of his early posters for sale. So I guess it’s Louis time.

Here he is with some dude named Duke Ellington doing “It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing).”

The Wild Tchoupitoulas (named after a Native American tribe) were Native Americans who made exactly one eponymous album back in 1976, The Meters helped out on this one as did the Neville Brothers. Working on this album convinced the brothers to stick around as a group. Produced by the legendary Allen Toussaint

“Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd (December 19, 1918 – January 30, 1980),[1] better known as Professor Longhair or “Fess” for short, was an American singer and pianist who performed New Orleans blues. He was active in two distinct periods, first in the heyday of early rhythm and blues and later in the resurgence of interest in traditional jazz after the founding of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1970.”

Here is Fess doing the “501 Boogie.” You think maybe Jerry Lee listened to him?

*I was living in Corona, Queens where Louis lived and died. His house is now a museum. And Paul Simon immortalized it. “Goodbye, Rosie, the queen of Corona,” in “Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard.”

For good measure I decided to create a Spotify list with these songs and some from my previous posts. Laizzez les bon temps roulez!

13 thoughts on “A Little Music from The Big Easy

  1. Great set Doc. Not one bad cut in fact all of them sound good to these ears. It’s amazing how much music i listened to that is either from this area or heavily influenced. I get hooked into this groove. So much great music that never seems to stop coming to me.
    When Burns did his film on jazz, the two through musicians were Louis and Duke. It wasnt by accident. These two were there as close to the roots of the music as you get get. Louis would be a direct descendent of the sounds that came out of NO. When he takes a solo like the one he does on the cut you included that goes back to blowing hard and wanting to be heard. Love that cut. So many good version. Dr John does a good one. Later.

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    1. If you go back further – to Louis’s Hot Five and Hot Seven ensembles – it sounds great but maybe old and corny to modern ears. Woody Allen movie music. But it’s good if not spectacularly well-recorded stuff. But if I’m honest, what resonates even more with me is that NO second-line gumbo stuff. Love it. Only time we can hear it live in these parts is the yearly Lowell Folk Festival.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I have all those Hot Five and Seven recordings. The whole scene down there was a mixed bag of blues, Cajun, jazz with so many good musicians putting their unique spin on things. Like I said I get immersed into the whole bag of goodness.

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        1. I almost used that or one of his versions of that. The only reason I didn’t is I wanted something
          jumper for the post. Looks like CB is headed down the rabbit hole for a while.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Tasty stuff, Jim! I haven’t listened to much music from New Orleans yet, but what I’ve heard thus far, I surely like. “Doctor Doctor” by The Radiator is a killer tune. I also dig what I’ve heard from the Neville Brothers and Dr. John.

    Are you by any chance aware of The Subdudes? I featured one of their tunes called “Need Somebody” a couple of months ago in my Sunday feature after I had come across the New Orleans group. Or John “Papa” Gros? Check out “It’s Raining,” which has a cool Randy Newman vibe.

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    1. I’ve been listening to the New Orleans list for a couple of days. It’s a side trip from my usual diet that I’m digging. Gotta get the funk in there. Radiators were fairly popular on FM a number of years back. Great band. I’ve heard of Subdudes, don’t know their tunes. I will give those tunes you mentioned a listen.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Just listened to both tunes. I liked that guitar intro to Subdudes tune. Good song but interestingly doesn’t sound “New Orleans=y,” Wikipedia says one of the guys in the band is a brother of one of the guys in Radiators! Very incestuous players down there.

      As to Papa, yeah it reminded me of Randy’s beloved tune that you might know. “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today.”

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