It's Time to round up some tasty Mardi Gras Sounds!
He released his first album, Comin' Your Way, on Blind Pig Records in 1979. In 1981, he formed his own band, Bluesiana, with whom he has been recording and touring since. He has released albums from several different labels including Against the Wall on the House of Blues label in the U.S., and also others from the German labels CrossCut and Ruf. In 2000, he returned to Blind Pig to release Gone to Hell which featured Dr. John as a special guest. All I Want followed two years later on the label.
“I have been robbed of three million dollars all told. Everyone today is playing my stuff and I don't even get credit. Kansas City style, Chicago style, New Orleans style hell, they're all Jelly Roll style.” - Jellyroll Morton
We Got A Party - The Party Boys
Every year, this particular track is always on my Mardi Gras playlist! The gang that's singing the tune aka The Party Boys really bring a wild mojo vibe to the party! If I didn't know better, I'd be thinking that them Party Boys been hittin' the hooch!
Here's some of the history of Preservation Hall: "Situated in the heart of the French Quarter on St. Peter Street, the Preservation Hall venue presents intimate, acoustic New Orleans Jazz concerts over 350 nights a year featuring ensembles from a current collective of 50+ local master practitioners. On any given night, audiences bear joyful witness to the evolution of this venerable and living tradition.
The story of Preservation Hall dates back to the 1950s at Associated Artists, a small art gallery at 726 St. Peter Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. Upon opening the gallery the proprietor Larry Borenstein found that it curtailed his ability to attend the few remaining local jazz concerts, and began inviting these musicians to perform “rehearsal sessions” in the gallery itself. These sessions featured living legends of New Orleans Jazz – George Lewis, Punch Miller, Sweet Emma Barrett, Billie and De De Pierce, The Humphrey Brothers, and dozens more.
During this period, traditional jazz had taken a backseat in popularity to rock n’ roll and bebop, leaving many of these players to work odd jobs. Although concerted efforts by aficionados such as William “Bill” Russell succeeded in recording and documenting this fading artform during the “New Orleans Jazz Revival” of the 1940s, venues that offered live New Orleans jazz were few and far between. Before long, Borenstein’s sessions took on a life of their own; enthusiasts of the music gravitated toward the gallery, including a young couple from Pennsylvania named Allan and Sandra Jaffe.
ALLAN & SANDRA JAFFE
The Jaffes arrived in New Orleans in 1960, on an extended honeymoon from Mexico City. During their visit, they conversed with a few jazz musicians in Jackson Square who were on their way to “Mr. Larry’s Gallery.” As avid fans of New Orleans jazz, the honeymooners followed the musicians and were introduced to Borenstein along with a number of living jazz greats that had gathered that evening for a jam session. Needless to say, they were enraptured by what they saw and heard. The music was pure and unaffected by the swaying of popular music. Most of these musicians were elderly, many of whom were contemporaries of Buddy Bolden and other early jazz practitioners. The Jaffes knew they happened upon something special and soon after moved to New Orleans permanently.
The jam sessions at 726 St. Peter became much more frequent, so much that Borenstein moved his gallery to the building next door. Performances were held nightly for donations and were organized by a short-lived not-for-profit organization, The New Orleans Society for The Preservation of Traditional Jazz. Shortly after the Jaffes returned to New Orleans, Borenstein passed the nightly operations of the hall to Allan Jaffe on a profit-or-loss basis, and Preservation Hall was born.
Sadly, Allen Jaffe passed away in 1987. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band now operates under the leadership of the Jaffe’s second son, Benjamin. The track you're about to listen to was put together by Benjamin Jaffee, who is now a member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
Jon Cleary (born August 11, 1962) is a British-born American Funk and R&B musician who is based in New Orleans, where he has studied the “musical culture and life of New Orleans”. Cleary is an accomplished pianist as well as being a multi-instrumentalist.
Several years ago, I happened to be in New Orleans and stopped by my favorite record store, Louisiana Music Factory, and lo and behold there was Jon Cleary playing a musical history of all the great piano players that he studied on in New Orleans. It was a most wonderful moment in time.
The next track on the playlist is a song called Fortune Teller (written by Allen Toussaint) under the pseudonym Naomi Neville); the original version was by Benny Spellman but as you're about to hear, Jon Cleary takes hold of this song & takes it to an entirely different dimension!
In 1976, Tom Waits created a beautiful song about New Orleans that was called I Wish I Was In New Orleans on his Small Change album. This Tom Waits piece definitely captures the essence of New Orleans. The tune has a wistful melody and lyrics that combine both sadness and joy as the song rolls along. It's such a beautiful piece that has always stayed with me.
I WISH I WAS IN NEW ORLEANS (TOM WAITS)
Well, I wish I was in New Orleans, I can see it in my dreams,
Arm-in-arm down Burgundy, a bottle and my friends and me
Hoist up a few tall cool ones, play some pool and listen
To that tenor saxophone calling me home
And I can hear the band begin When the Saints Go Marching In,
And by the whiskers on my chin, New Orleans, I'll be there
I'll drink you under the table, be red-nosed, go for walks,
The old haunts what I wants is red beans and rice
And wear the dress I like so well, and meet me at the old saloon,
Make sure that there's a Dixie moon, New Orleans, I'll be there
And deal the cards roll the dice, if it ain't that old Chuck E. Weiss,
And Claiborne Avenue, me and you Sam Jones and all
And I wish I was in New Orleans, 'cause I can see it in my dreams,
Arm-in-arm down Burgundy, a bottle and my friends and me
New Orleans, I'll be there
Dave Bartholomew's “The Monkey” is a social commentary about the way humans have descended from “the monkey” but doesn’t always behave like the superior species. Dave Bartholomew, one of the major players in the New Orleans music scene in the 50's and 60's came up with a real cool vibe on this track.
This track brings back many New Orleans memories for me. I was living there in the early 1963 when my Dad took me down to Preservation Hall in the French Quarter where I heard the Preservation Hall Jazz Band with Billie and Dee Dee Pierce play Peanut Vendor which to this day is a magical song that conjures up the memories of old New Orleans. Life is so beautiful sometimes.
…and so that concludes today's Part One of this year's Mardi Gras Playlist!
Laissez les bon temps rouler!
“I’M NOT SURE, BUT I’M ALMOST POSITIVE,
THAT ALL MUSIC CAME FROM NEW ORLEANS.”
– ERNIE K-DOE
MIND SMOKE MARDI GRAS - VARIOUS ARTISTS