Monday, December 7, 2009

NolaFunk Lagniappe

Blind Blues Daddy's terrific new release

Whether you call Bryan Lee The Blind Giant of the Blues or Braille Blues Daddy, it does not matter. Lee, a New Orleans institution since 1982 had a long-time residency at the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street with his Jump Street Five. This writer saw Lee there in the eighties and was impressed by his Albert King influenced style and husky straight-forward singing to get the vinyl album they had for sale. When the Old Absinthe House stopped being a bar with entertainment, he moved on to other Crescent City venues as well as toured throughout the US and Europe. Since 1991 he has recorded for the Canadian Justin Time label which previously issued 11 albums (one being a compilation) by Lee has just issued “My Lady Don’t Love My Lady,” the third Lee recording that Duke Robillard has produced and it is a typically strong recording. Robillard put together the studio band of some of his long-time associates including bassist Marty Ballou, pianist Dave Maxwell, and saxophonists Gordon Beadle and Doug James with guest appearances by Buddy Guy and Kenny Wayne Sheppard.

2009 VOODOO Experience: REDUX!

In Pursuit of Bo-Consciousness - Part 7

Although the two would never exactly bond professionally, Joe Banashak hired Eddie Bo not only as a producer, arranger, and writer, but also as a recording artist. Starting in 1966, Bo worked primarily on projects for the Seven B label, including his own releases, and also did writing and production duties for Instant, Alon, Tune-Kel and Busy-B (busy he was). His impressive catalog for Seven B has been discussed and featured by Larry Grogan at hisFunky 16 Cornersweb-zine and blog, and, of course, by Martin Lawrie'sEddie Bo Discography; and I encourage you to look into those sources, if you haven't already. There was so much good Seven B material of Bo's to get into that I will have to come back to it at a (much) later date. I'll be focusing here on just a few of the other interesting records Eddie oversaw for Banashak at the time.

Dee-1 ft Shamarr Allen: Bring 'Em to the Dome

HBO's 'Treme' starts production on regular-season episodes

The first scenes captured for HBO’s “Treme” were sanctified by the smoke of Kermit Ruffins’ mobile barbecue rig, so no wonder it got a green light.


Ruffins plays himself in the pilot episode of the series, which was shot in March and April in New Orleans.

Set immediately post-Katrina, the drama intends to tell the city’s recovery story through fictional characters drawn from some of the real characters who were here then -- men and women who live and work in and around the peculiar vernacular culture known mostly to locals: second-line musicians, Mardi Gras Indians, cooks and chefs, music fiends, Kermit Ruffins.

The trumpeter showed up for his first day of work on “Treme” with his grill in tow – a gig is a gig, after all – and by mid-afternoon on the first day of shooting, the barbecue smoke drifting into the streets around the location set could’ve been the work of special-effects artists. In a way, it was.

Dr. John's weird New Orleans psych music

Years ago, I got turned on to the psychedelic New Orleans "voodoo" vibe of Dr. John (aka Mac Rebennack, Jr.). His 1968 debut Gris-Gris is a fantastically weird amalgam of R&B, dark psych rock, and NOLA culture. I'd never seen footage of the Night Tripper, as Dr. John is also known, until today. Quite a spectacle.

The Maple Leaf Bar: Dive In
They’re up there in ‘shrine’ status, places to be venerated, get plastered in, danced to within inches of your life in, become besotted with great music in, rub elbows with as wide a mix of America as you’ll find at a really good dive in. Which is what Zagat, for god’s sake, lists the Maple Leaf Bar as in its section about New Orleans - not the other stuff, but the ‘top dive’ part.

ChazFest 2009: Jeremy Lyons & Deltabilly Boys

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