Sugar Boy and the Cane Cutters recorded this song in the early 1950s, with Professor Longhair holding down the piano chair. But Dr. John staked his own claim to ownership of "Iko Iko" at the Van Nuys session for his 1972 release Dr. John's Gumbo, where he delivered a modern-day classic of New Orleans music. The good doctor brings out all of the contradictions submerged in this style of performance. "Iko Iko" is loose and tight at the same time, on the beat and off, hot and cool—and, most important of all, has "Party" written all over it with a capital P. But before you get out on the dance floor, check out the ingredients here—in particular the drum part, which demonstrates how an old-school march beat can morph into a tasty funk groove. You don't really need to know what "Iko Iko" means to enjoy it, but a grad student could spend a month deciphering the Creole patois and the song's various significations. The tune was originally recorded under the name "Jock-A-Mo"— which means jester. A "spy dog" is a lookout. Marraine is a godmother, etc. But even the composer claims he was just imitating phrases he had picked up from Mardi Gras Indians, and didn't really know what they meant. He thought it was some sort of victory chant. Works for me. Next time you come up on the winning side—in the office football pool, with pocket aces in a hand of Texas hold 'em, with a lottery ticket from the convenience store—try it out: Jockomo feena nay.
Yeah, You Right: Kirk Joseph
This week's guest is sousaphonist extraordinaire and Dirty Dozen Brass Band co-founder Kirk Joseph. The 7th Ward native helped establish the modern brass band sound in New Orleans and pushed the boundaries of playing big brass. His band, Backyard Groove, plays all over town at clubs like Le Bon Temps Roulé and d.b.a.
Q: Crystal or Louisiana Hot Sauce?
A: With a meal, Tater Tots. But for a snack, gimme Zapp's.
Jazz trumpeter and vocalist Jeremy Davenport recently released "We'll Dance 'Til Dawn," his first studio album in more than a decade, on Basin Street Records. Reviews have praised the album's seemingly effortless grace and polished sense of style.
But the behind-the-scenes story of its creation is not as tidy.
|Video: Jeremy Davenport and Kermit Ruffins record a song|
Dave Bartholomew: My Ding-a-Ling
Dave Bartholomew ranks among the most important individuals in the history of New Orleans music, but his name never became widely known among the general public, and most of his influence was exerted behind the scenes. He was a songwriter, talent scout, arranger and general man-about-town, whose greatest successes came via his partnership with Fats Domino, which resulted in some 40 hit songs. Yet Bartholomew also recorded his own material, as he demonstrates on this 1952 track. "My Ding-a-Ling" became a huge hit, but for another rock legend—Chuck Berry, in this instance, who brought it to the top of the charts in 1972. In fact, this was the only number one hit in Berry's career. Bartholomew might have grumbled that he deserved the big success, but he would only be foolin' himself. In 1972, many deejays refused to play Berry's version because of its thinly-disguised double meaning, and there are still lots of oldies stations that won't touch it even today. And Berry (unlike Bartholomew) added the explanation that he was simply singing about "silver bells upon a string"—a clarification that did little to stop the calls for censorship. So Bartholomew could hardly have had high expectations back in '52, when it was little short of a miracle that this tune was even recorded.
NOMRF ReDefines 8/29 on the 4th Katrina Anniversary
It's almost impossible to think about the city of New Orleans without its trademark and historical music community. The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, Inc. has provided housing, furniture, transportation, instruments and anything else it can to assist those still struggling to rebuild their lives post Katrina. The New Orleans Musicians Relief Fund, Inc., a grass roots certified 501c(3) non-profit was founded in Internet cafes and FEMA rooms by musician Jeff Beninato and his wife Karen and is supported by volunteer graphic designers, publicists, video producers and friends of New Orleans music including Wilco, REM, Dr John and Ian Hunter.
Jango Song Of The Day-Robert Parker
The 1966 top ten hit Barefootin' was New Orleans R & B singer Robert Parker's only chart hit. So thechnically he's a one hit wonder but he's been a fixture in the New Orleans music scene since the late 40s and was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in 2007. He was born Oct. 14, 1930 in New Orleans. He started out as a sax player for Professor Longhair and played on his 1949 hit Mardi Gras In New Orleans. He played sessions in the 50s with Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas and many others. He signed as a solo act with Ace Records in 1958. In 1959, he had some regional success with the instrumental All Night Long on Ron Records. But Parker's big break came when he signed with Wardell Quezerque's Nola label in 1965. Barefootin' was the first single and it reached #7 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1966. Parker recorded some more singles and an album but was unable to repeat the success of Barefootin'. All his recordings with Nola are on this comp. Parker was actually more popular in England and toured there in the late 60s. He recorded for Shelby Singleton's SSS International in 1969 but other than a rerecording of Barefootin' in 1984 for the Charly label, he hasn't recorded in years though he continues to perform regularly in New Orleans clubs. Robert Parker was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall Of Fame in 2007 and here's his performance of Barefootin' at his induction ceremony.
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