Category Archives: New Orleans Blues

New Orleans boogie and Blues piano by The Swinging Dice

Hailin’ from France The Swinging Dice deliver a repertoire of  New Orleans Blues, Rhythm and Blues up to Rock ‘n’ Roll.  They bring many songs written themselves, plus rearranged standards from the likes of Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris, Sam Butera, Dave Bartholomew, Merrill Moore, Nat King Cole.

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NEW ALBUM by New Orleans Trombone Shorty featuring “Here Come The Girls

This April Trombone Shorty released a new album called  Parking Lot Symphony. For the New Orleanian singer and multi-instrumentalist Trombone Shorty, this is his debut album for Blue Note Records and his first release for four years.

New Song from Parking Lot Symphony

Parking Lot Symphony features 10 new original songs along with covers of Allen Toussaint’s “Here Come The Girls” and The Meters’ “It Ain’t No Use” and was released las month. Trombone Short released “Here Come The Girls” recently and is a real hit. This song could be featured on all radio stations because of the approachable beats, soulful vocals, and the New Orleans style arrangement.



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Huey “Piano” Smith’s Hit song: Rockin’ Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu

Rockin’ Pneumonia & the Boogie Woogie Flu

It was on Dr. Johns Gumbo, the Dr. John album where he ‘honored’  the great artists and music of New Orleans when I first heard the music Huey “Piano” Smith. Dr. John recorded a medley of Huey’s songs. One song that was not part of Dr. John mix is “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”.

Ace Records 1957 release by Huey “Piano” Smith

Ace Records was the biggest independent label in Mississippi in the 1950s and 60s containing a roster of Mississippi blues artists and Louisiana musicians like Huey “Piano”  Smith. Alongside label owner Johnny Vincent, Huey Smith  wrote the “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” in 1957 and scored a minor hit, nr 52 in the billboard Chart. 

The song gained a whole lot of attention in  1972 when Johnny Rivers scored and international hit with it and reached number six on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 during the winter of 1973.

Johnny Rivers – 1972 version  “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”

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ALBUMS | Allen Toussaint: 3 Albums you should listen

 

“My music is homegrown from the garden of New Orleans. Music is everything to me short of breathing. Music also has a role to lift you up – not to be escapist but to take you out of misery.”

ALBUMS | Allen Toussaint: 3 Albums you should listen

Last week the legendary producer, songwriter and pianist Allen Toussaint passed away.  Following a concert at the Teatro Lara on Calle Corredera Baja de San Pablo in Spain, he suffered a heart attack at his hotel and was pronounced dead on his arrival at hospital.

Allen Toussaint wrote songs for musicians like Jessie Hill, Ernie K Doe, Soloman Burke, Dr John and The Meters. Allthough he wrote songs for a whole lot of musicians, Allen Toussaint recorded also some very good solo albums.

AllenToussaintFeb07

Allen Toussaint – 1975 -Southern Nights

In this article I’ll show you three of my favorite Allen Toussaint albums. Starting off with Allen’s Southern Nights  which was released in 1975 and consists some great soulful songs. This album has been called Toussaint’s signature album. Southern Nights really has the boogie, and bassplayers will like the album very much. According to wiki ” Southern Nights” was Toussaint’s tribute to evenings spent with his Creole family on a porch in the song-writer’s native Louisiana.”

Allen Toussaint – Last Train

A cool example of that boogie is “Last Train” a song with like you would expect a nice groove, the bassline is funky and the vocals are smooth and soulful.

Allen Toussaint – The Bright Mississippi (2009)

The Bright Mississippi is an album with a whole lot of different sound. The funk and soul is replaced for New Orleans Blues and Jazz

According to Wiki: “The album title is taken from the 1963 Thelonious Monk song of the same name and features a new version of the song. The album is a unique juxtaposition of modern and traditional jazz tunes with stylistic cues drawn from both worlds”.

Some great tunes on this record are “St. James Infirmary”, “Egyptian Fantasy” and “Blue Drag”. The trumpet and piano really connect on this album which is ideal to come back to earth after a wild night.

Allen Toussaint – The wild sound of New Orleans

Allen Toussaint’s debut album concist a crazy mix of New Orleans part music inspired on Rhythm and Blues. WhirlAway is by far my favorite song on this album, mostly becvause of the speed the catchy piano tune and the train-esque saxophone.

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Georgia Morning Dew by Johnny Adams

Johnny Adams – Georgia Morning Dew

Johnny Adams from New Orleans was already a well known musician when he released the album Heart and Soul in 1969. Born and raised in the Cresent Ciy Adams was part of a group musicians which absorbed the local music heritage. “Georgia Morning Dew”, is a wonderful song which contains Gospel, Soul and Blues influences.

Group of Gospel, Blues and Soul Musicians in New Orleans

During the Sixtees Johnny Adams work alongside Dorothee Labostrie who you might know for co-writing Little Richards ” Tutti Frutti”. Dorothee ask Johnny to Sing some lines on a song he had just written “I Won’t Cry” produced by a 19-year-old Mac Rebennack aka Dr John. I Won’t Cry is featured on the album Heart and Soul. But the song that may touch you the most is “Georgia Morning Dew”1024px-JohnnyAdams1997

Standing On This Mountain
Looking over L.A. at the break of day
Takes My Mind Back To Georgia
Many Years Ago

And No Resemblens Between L.A. and Georgia 
But The Morning Dew
Later On In The Afternoon
We Gone Picking Peaches
And Sing A Song Or Two

I Am Looking Out Of LA
With My Eyes Full Of Georgia Dew

Walk in the park on a rainy day

You feel the Soul and Blues through you bones and in a certain way I notice some similarities to Otis Redding‘s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay“. Otis and Johnny  share the same relaxed style of singing that can be best described as a walk in the park on a rainy day.

Johnny Adams started singing at a young age, he was a member of several gospel singing group including  The Soul Revelers and Bessie Griffin & The Soul Consolators. In the fiftees however Adams was drawn into secular Rhythm and Blues. It did him good!

Feature Picture: By Masahiro Sumori (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0  or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

I Won’t Cry – Johnny Adams

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Louisiana Blues harmonica monument Schoolboy Cleve

Louisiana Blues harmonica monument Schoolboy Cleve

‘She’s Gone’ is one of the finest rocking blues song around and was recorded for Feature Records in 1954 by Schoolboy Cleve. As you can hear Cleve was an excellent harmonica player and one of the founders of the New Orleans, Louisiana Blues sound. He managed to preserve this Blues legacy for over fifty years.

Louisiana blues harmonica players

Back in the day Schoolboy Cleve was part of a group harmonica players in New Orleans that made a whole lot of fame. Buddy Guy was one of the musicians that was impressed by the work of these guys that included people like Cleve, Lightnin’ Slim and Lazy Lester. In his biography “When I Left Home: My Story”,  Buddy Guy tells “I was into the Baton Rouge harmonica players: They were the original harmonica players, and Cleve and Slim were first around. Those guys were always talking about New Orleans music”. All these guys found a place in the Blues history books, but I like Schoolboy Cleve the most because of Rhythm ‘nd Blues approach.

South To West: Iron & Gold

His monumental work has been brought to getter in what CD Baby calls ‘A historical musical treasure’. It is the album South to West: Iron & Gold, with Schoolboy Cleve’s original recordings and unreleased material from the period 1954 to 1998. “Schoolboy Cleve felt living in the South was hard like iron. After moving to the West it felt like he struck gold. The title, South to West – Iron and Gold, represents his journey”.

During production of this CD, Hurricane Katrina and Rita hit New Orleans, Louisiana and other parts of the South.

Video Credit: Posted on Youtube by Sanma Bluesanddroll : I do not own the copyright to this recording so if it needs to be removed.

She’s Gone and Strange Letter Blues

In She’s Gone you hear a fast rhythm a groovy harmonica and swinging vocals. It is the easy listening blues sound that especially with a nice beer or whisky makes a man wanna dance. Alongside his regional college’s he recorded several songs. Saidlt enough his solo work wasn’t released that much. You can hear him on Lightnin’ Slim’s recording ‘Sugar Plum’ and a whole lot of other songs on Slim’s album “”It’s Mighty Crazy!”. Schoolboy Cleve is known worldwide and is considered one of the greatest harmonica players that ever lived. He played with other legendary artist like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Grammy nominee Ron Thompson and many others.

photo credit: Blues Harp via photopin (license)

She’s Gone : Schoolboy Cleve

SCHOOLBOY CLEVE- STRANGE LETTER BLUES

Schoolboy Cleve Beautiful Beautiful Love (1957)

Schoolboy Cleve – My Heart is Crying

Schoolboy Cleve – I’m Him

School Boy Cleve – Here I Go Again

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Blues and Country from Swamp master Lazy Lester

Blues and Country from Swamp master Lazy Lester

He is a ‘National Treasure’ and the ‘High Sheriff of Louisiana’, he is ‘The Nut’, but above all Lazy Lester is a defining musician in the Louisiana Swamp and Country Blues scene. Since he started recording in the mid-fifties at the Nashville based label Excello alongside Lightnin’ Slim he has seen more Juke Joints in the United States than a man could remember.

Key creator of the Louisiana Swamp Blues

Lazy Lester (aka Leslie Johnson) Is one of the key creators of the South Louisiana swamp blues sound in the 1950s, Lester has been often imitated but never duplicated. His ride in the world of blues started when he was a boy working as a woodcutter and at a grocery store. In that store he bought the #1 hit record ‘Juke’ of Little Walter and a new harmonica. That buy was a life changer and a future living. He is highly influenced by Little Walter and Jimmy Reed, especially Reed’s vocal style is hearable in a lot of Lester songs. He has a lot of love for country and got hooked by Jimmy Rogers.

Meeting Lightnin’ Slim in the Bus

The most interesting story about Lazy Lester is the one about the Rayne, Louisiana bus ride. Lightnin’ Slim -who was already an established recording artist- was also on the bus Lester took. Slim was on his way to Crowley, where he would record at Jay Miller’s Studio for Excello Records. Crowley was seven miles further than Rayne and because Lester had a serious itch to be around big time music making he stayed on the bus and accompanied Slim to the studio. Slim’s harmonica player wasn’t in the studio. The probably nervous Lazy Lester was asked to do the harmonica part for Slim’s recording, and did not disappoint.

Jay Miller, the producer was impressed by Lester’s work and in 1957 he debuted at Excello as a solo artist with the record “ I’m Gonna Leave You Baby” and ‘Lester’s Stomp’. It was the producer Miller who gave Lester his nickname “Lazy”, “because of Lester’s slow and lazy style of talking. This nickname already stands more than fifty years now!

They call me Lazy album from 1976

Lazy_Lester_in_2004A Lazy Lester album you should listen to is definitely They Call Me Lazy released in 1976. This album contains classic songs like ‘Lester’s Stomp’, I’m So Tired’, ‘Strange Things Happen’ and Tell Me Pretty Baby’. The cool thing about Lazy Lester’s material is the diversity. Song change from Rock ‘n Roll to Country, to Blues and to Swamp pop. This cocktail of musical roots makes his songs never boring and always interesting to Listen to.

Lazy Lester Rides Again

Lightnin’ Slim and Slim Harpo moved from Louisiana to Michigan and Lazy Lester would follow them. He lived in obscurity, till he recorded a new album Lazy Lester Rides Again. In 1988 he would release the follow up Harp and Soul which was recorded for Alligator Records. The album featured Lester’s harp-fueled swamp blues and brought him to the largest audience of his career.

Louisiana Swamp Heratige

Today Lazy Lester is one of the few original Bluesmen who is still around today. It is nice to imagine the man performing on a stage of an old school Juke Joint with a Harmonica in his hands blowin’ the Harp on a Swampy Blues beat. The heritage of Louisiana Blues and Country is in his hands, soul and bones.

Photo Credit: By Tom Beetz [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pondarosa Stomp – Lazy Lester 

Rockin’ Blues * I’M A LOVER, NOT A FIGHTER – Lazy Lester 

My Home Is a Prison – Slim Harpo & Lazy Lester 

Lazy Lester – They Call Me Lazy (Full Album)

Lazy Lester They call me Lazy (Released 1976)

01 – Lester’s Stomp
02 – Strange Things Happen
03 – I’m So Tired
04 – Lover Not A Fighter
05 – Late Late In The Evening
06 – Whoa Now
07 – They Call Me Lazy
08 – Bloodstains
09 – Come On Home
10 – Quit Foolin’ Me
11 – Tell Me Pretty Baby
12 – I’m Leavin

Lazy Lester – I Hear You Knockin’ 

 

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