Tag Archives: Dr. John

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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Up and Down career in Rhythm and Blues: Jessie Hill

JessieHillatJazzFest1996

“there was something about that city, though it didn’t let me feel guilty that I had no feeling for the things so many others needed. it let me alone.”

― Charles Bukowski

Jessie Hill New Orleans Rhythm and Blues

New Orleans Rhythm and Blues legend Jessie Hill had a life full of ups and downs. Hill toured throughout the U.S and recorded and wrote with the best songwriters around. But he also was homeless for a while when his career went rock bottom. You may best remember Jessie Hill for the classic “Ooh Poo Pah Doo,” a favorite at Mardi Gras and “Whip It On Me”.

Musical career alongside the greatest

Born and raised in the Crescent City alongside Eddie Bo, Oliver Morgan, and Prince La La, it was according to allmusic almost inevitable that he would pursue a career in music, and by his teens he was playing drums in bands fronted by Kid Arnestine and Freddie Domino.

When Hill was 19 years old he started his own group the House Rockers. With these guys he performed in local bars all over the northern U.S. This trip lasted about a year and after the House Rockers split up Jessie became part of Professor Longhair’s band as a drummer. Unfortunately there are no recordings of this collaboration found. After drumming in Professor Longhair’s band he took a spot in Huey “Piano” Smith’s band. In 1958 Jessie Hill took the stage again to lead a new version of the House Rockers.

Biggest hit Ooh Poo Pah Doo

The origins of his Biggest hit “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”, released in early 1960, lie with a local pianist known only as Big Four. According to Allmusic A drunk who played the club Shy Guy’s Place for booze and tips, he once performed the song with the House Rockers in attendance, and Hill scribbled the lyrics and melody on a paper sack. “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”  reached the top 5 of the Billboard chart, and as a Mardi Grass traditional it sold over 800,000 copies.

Favorite song Whip It On Me

Also released in 1960 ‘Whip It On Me” is my favorite Jessie Hill song. The boogie woogie piano, the strong voice and the fantastic backing vocals make this song. It is nice to see how ‘easy’ a good song can be made. A catchy lyric, a groovie drum and not to forget a fine swinging saxophone tune. Whip it on me was suceeded by “Scoop Scoobie Doobie,” which was a local hit.

Relocated in California

For a long time Jessie Hill was a succesful singer, songwriter and drummer and in an effort to reignite his career he moved to California. There he befriended fellow bayou expatriates Harold Battiste, Dave Dixon, and Mac Rebennack (the future Dr. John), who convinced him to temporarily sideline his performing career in favor of songwriting. His songs were covered by Ike and Tina Turner and he wrote alongside Willie Nelson.

Career went Down

In the seventies Hill’s career went down he served a while in the Los Angeles County Jail for an accumulation of traffic warrants, his car, which contained all of his songwriting material, was stolen. 1977 he returned to New Orleans and drove his own cab called “the Poo Cab”. For a time Hill was homeless.

Hill passed away due  to heart and kidney failure on September 17, 1996, and his body was laid to rest under a plywood grave marker in New Orleans’ Holt Cemetery.

JESSIE HILL Scoop Scoobie Doobie

 

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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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Dr. John’s New Orleans blues Gumbo

dr Johns gumbo black bull blues

Dr. John’s New Orleans blues Gumbo

The music of Amerian icon Dr. John has always been filed with the New Orleans rhythm and blues flavor. I listened to the debut
album of the Nighttripper Gris Gris which has a psychedelic, hoodoo and swamp approach. Gris Gris contains hits like ‘Mama Roux’.  But the true New Orleans music of Dr. John’s can be found on his fifth and in my opinion his best album Dr. John’s Gumbo. Search through the playlist of this album, and you will conclude that there are only classic New Orleans songs on it. The piano, the rhythm, the bass and the vocals Dr. John’s Gumbo is a delicious musical meal for blues lovers.

Stackolee Folk and blues traditional

Stackolee is a traditional folk song which has been recorded by a legion of blues and folk singers. Stackolee is a song about the murder of  Billy Lyons by local pimp “Stag” Lee Shelton in St. Louis  Missouri at Christmas, 1895 (Mother Jones). Dr. John version contains a basis blues bass line that continuously  grooves through your head. But above all, every piano player should know how to play this song. The honky Tonking piano of Stackolee is a standard, a great example of honky tonk piano. This song shows how Dr. John proves to be the embodiment of New Orleans’ musical legacy.

Mess Around piano boogie

Piano boogie woogie lovers wil alsol like Mess Around. This song kicks in with a monster piano line and that groove goes on till the last note. Mess Around was  written by Atlantic Records president and founder Ahmet Ertegün under the pseudonym of A. Nugetre, Ray Charles scored a hit with Mess Around, Dr. John’s version however equals Charles’ version and is filled with the New Orleans boogie.

Iko Iko, Big Chief and Let The Good Times Roll…

Dr. John black bull bluesThe Beat of Iko Iko keeps dancing through my head. It is the backbone of the song, and around that beat  John created a compositionof horns, piano and vocals that keeps growing bigger. Let The Good Times Roll was written by New Orleans rhythm and blues artist Earl King. King isn’t the only New Orleans legends that has been tributed on Dr. John’s Gumbo. Professor Longhair, The Dixie Cups and Huey Smith are all represented on ‘Gumbo’ . Professor Longhair’s Big Chief is one of my favorite piano songs. The piano boogie-line in Big Chief is something I wish to play one day. Dr. John used a hammond organ to play the famous line. Like Iko Iko, Big Chief  is also a song that really grows during the song.

Dr. John made fame as a session musician and as solo artist. Througout his career he won six Grammy’s and has been inducted in the Blues Hall of fame.  I recommend everybody to listen to this New Orleans musical treasure Dr. John’s Gumbo.

Read the original Album review from Rollingstone (1972) here…

Video/Audio Credits:I do not own the copyrights to these recordings. These videos are for historical and educational purposes. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED

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Cousin Joe Piano Blues legend from New Orleans

Cousin Joe Piano Blues legend from New Orleans


The rhythm and groove, the lyrics and slang and the harp and guitar solos make blues music so great. In New Orleans the piano is the primarily instrument that made the blues big. Throughout the years many blues pianist recorded their albums in New Orleans like Dr. John, Allan Toussaint,  Eddie Bo  and James Booker. Last few weeks the great blues pianist Cousin Joe inspired me the most.

In 1984 Joe played at a concerthall in New Orleans where he, an old man, performed his favorite songs. I really enjoy cousin Joe’s songs. They are rhythmic, relax and have great themes. Songs like ‘Thats Enough’ and ‘How Come My Dog Don’t Bark’ are a good example of that. 

I Dont Want Fortune And Fame, All I Want Is You To Carry My Name, And Thats Enough Yeah Tats Enough Baby Your Loving Is Enough For Me.

His New Orleans concert in 1984 was filmed bij Storyville Films, it is a cool show, Joe performes his bluesiest Piano songs and adds a lot of laughter to his lyrics. Cousin Joe shows he is having a good time. And the song… listen to ‘ New Orleans’ and ‘ Everything Made of Wood Once Was a Tree’. Especially these song are vocally absolute jewells.

Cousin Joe – New Orleans

Cousin Joe – Everything Made of Wood Once Was a Tree (New Orleans 1984)

Cousin Joe – Spotify

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