Bayou Maharajah

|April 23, 2016 | New Orleans Music, Stuffs

Hey. A little while ago I did some sound-design and audio restoration work on a documentary film out of New Orleans about James Booker. If you’re not super-into N.O.L.A. music and culture, or soul-jazz and funk from the 60s and 70s, it’s a safe bet you don’t know who Booker was.Thinner

He was a beautiful maniac who had a monster-sized gift for music. He was a one-eyed drug addict, alcoholic, schizophrenic, he suffered from bipolar disorder. He was more interesting than almost anyone I can think of.Thinner

It’s been a long, long road getting the movie in front of people, but now, here it is! You can watch it on itunes.ThinnerBooker

 

 

 

Tis The Season

|October 29, 2015 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

ThinnerThinnerMr.Michael’s Class : Fischer Halloween Anthem

Mr.Michael’s Class : Fischer Halloween AnthemThinnerThinner

Suplecs

|March 5, 2014 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

Every Mardi Gras day, towards the evening, we go to the corner of Decatur and Esplanade to see Suplecs play, and they play for hours, and they’ve been doing it for 13 years now.

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Suplecs : Gotta Pain

Suplecs : Gotta Pain

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Happy Mardi Gras

|March 4, 2014 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

Hey, if you’re in town, have a good time, don’t spend it all in one place; try to pace yourself (you don’t want to end the day sitting on a curb crying). If you’re not here in New Orleans, this is what it sounds like. Would you believe I found both of these 45s in a milk crate in an alley?

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1. Professor Longhair : ” Big Chief Parts 1 & 2 “

 

Professor Longhair : Big Chief Parts 1 & 2

 

2. Professor Longhair : ” Go To The Mardi Gras “

 

Professor Longhair : Go To The Mardi Grasskinny-blackLonghair 45 2skinny-black

Bayou Maharajah

|September 6, 2013 | New Orleans Music, Video

What was I up to during the little vacation from the internet I took last month? Well, one thing is, I did some work on the soundtrack of the forthcoming documentary about the legendary ( and deeply troubled ) musician James Booker. I just got to see a rough cut of the film, and I was spellbound – even if you’re not into New Orleans music, I think you’ll have the same reaction, and I urge you to see it when it comes out.

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Songoftheday

|July 8, 2013 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music, Songoftheday

I taped this off the radio the other day ( ha ha, ” taped “, ” radio ” — but no, really ). Alex McMurray is often described as a New Orleans institution who plays Tom Waits-y music, which I bet is tiresome for him, but, hey, they have to write something. This is him playing live at WWNO, doing an off-the-top-of-his-head clean version of a song which I understand is normally quite filthy.

Alex McMurray : Captain Sandy

Alex McMurray : Captain Sandy

Vox

|October 28, 2012 | Found Images, New Orleans Music

A collection of digitized issues of Vox Humana ( later called The Vox ), the magazine of New Orleans’ Tulane University station WTUL, is here.

Songoftheday

|July 18, 2012 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music, Songoftheday

This 1963 recording isn’t elevator music, not quite – but it is definitely smoothed-out for the cocktail generation. Even so, you can tell that the man and his horn are from New Orleans.

Al Hirt : Night Theme

Al Hirt : Night Theme

And Now, Vinyl Pt.II / She’s Still Dead

|January 3, 2012 | New Orleans Music

As related to this post of a couple of weeks ago. So, you’re a musician in 2012, nobody’s willing to pay for music, things are rotten, nobody cares, there are no fucking jobs, I know, I know. Here, though, is a band who, by thinking things through and budgeting carefully, are pulling it off. I met these guys when they’d been together only a few months, and we bonded immediately over a shared love of old hardcore, classic metal, and horror movies. Most of them have been in bands before, so they were able to come together pretty quickly, write songs, and play shows – they hit me up about recording, and it was based on these early gigs, flying-bodies-mosh-pit-super-action, the band burning it up right out of the gate, that I thought, ” yeah, we could do that – we could make a raw, old-school thrash record “. I was attracted to their strong DIY ethic. They are not rich kids, and they will not spend money on anything they can learn to do themselves, like hand-screening t-shirts, fixing amps, painting banners.

The band rehearsed quite a bit before recording ( this is something I can’t stress enough : if you’re good at playing the songs, they will be much easier to record. Practice EVERY DAY, for at least a week, before you go into the studio ), and we were able to capture something good fairly quickly, often on first or second takes. So, She’s Still Dead, New Orleans metalcore horror band, debut album. Now what? First of all, want the tracks? They’re free. Here. That Radiohead pay-what-you-want thing a couple of years ago was kind of a fiasco, but the honest truth is that most people will download your digital music files for free, and you, the artist, might as well direct them to a place – your website or Bandcamp page or whatever, where it’s about not just your tunes, but you, and what you’re doing, and other stuff you’re selling. Offer people a chance to pay for the tracks, and, surprise, a few will.

01. She’s Still Dead : Hands Of The Ripper

01. She’s Still Dead : Hands Of The Ripper

02. She’s Still Dead : Voices

02. She’s Still Dead : Voices

For the physical release, as has been the case recently with just about everything everyone I know has been recording, the primary objective was vinyl – good quality, heavyweight colored wax ( just look at this ” blood and teeth in a porcelain sink ” color scheme ), nice inner sleeve with photos and lyrics ( one of the funnest things about this group – it’s all Jack The Ripper, coffins, knives, blood, and screaming ), and a heavy matte cardboard cover ; all this ( plus a free download code ), by the way, for $14.00, direct from the band. Getting a record pressed is pricey, and there’s no way around that, but rather than coming out of pocket or gigging for a year to pay for mastering and manufacturing, they funded the whole thing with Kickstarter ( you’re probably familiar with the concept, but if not, this ). I’m a big fan of Kickstarter ( and of crowd-sourcing in general ) because it allows things to happen that might not otherwise be possible, but also because it can be a pretty good indicator of whether or not you should be trying to sell your music. If you mount a Kickstarter campaign, and you really work it, making sure all your friends and relatives know what you’re trying to achieve, and you don’t make your goal, well, that’s sobering, but it’s a lot better than ending up with 490 of your 500 CDs under your bed, forever, which is what happened quite a bit in the very different world of 10 years ago.

Speaking of CDs, they made those too. They did the smallest run possible, the packaging is as simple as possible ( a CD in a matte cardboard sleeve, really just a little replica of the LP — no plastic, thanks! ), and they’re selling them for as little as they possibly can ( $6.00, which is a pretty good deal considering that you still see handwritten, burned discs on merch tables for $5.00 ). As I’ve said before, some people still want CDs ( I sometimes buy them, although it makes me feel funny ), but if you make a few and they don’t sell, it’s not the end of the world.

Drunk Drunk Drunk

|August 12, 2011 | Found Images, Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

Drunk Drunk Drunk

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The Kidds : Drunk, Drunk, Drunk

The Kidds : Drunk, Drunk, Drunk

New Orleans Suite

|April 29, 2011 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

Because today is Duke Ellington’s birthday, and because it’s such a cool album. Sometimes we have these freak afternoon rainstorms that last 10-20 minutes, and this is what I always put on.

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01. Duke Ellington : Bourbon Street Jingling Jollies

01. Duke Ellington : Bourbon Street Jingling Jollies

02. Duke Ellington : Thanks For The Beautiful Land On The Delta

02. Duke Ellington : Thanks For The Beautiful Land On The Delta

03. Duke Ellington : Portrait Of Wellman Braud

03. Duke Ellington : Portrait Of Wellman Braud

04. Duke Ellington : Portrait Of Mahalia Jackson

04. Duke Ellington : Portrait Of Mahalia Jackson

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New Orleans Suite

CRASH songs

|April 28, 2011 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

.. An assortment of old records and cassettes.

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01. The Scripts : Nobody Cares

01. The Scripts : Nobody Cares

02. Groanbox : Waste Of Time

02. Groanbox : Waste Of Time

03. The Dictators : Stay With Me

03. The Dictators : Stay With Me

04. Down : Pillars Of Eternity ( Demo )

04. Down : Pillars Of Eternity ( Demo )

05. Flower : Crash

05. Flower : Crash

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Crash!

Some Real Scurvy Thing Happenin’ Behind The Scenes

|March 15, 2011 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music, Philosophy

The other night, my friend Rami had me laughing uncontrollably with his dead-on Dr. John impersonation, and he told me that NPR just aired a great 1986 interview, which I went and found for you. Doctor .. Mother .. Fucking .. JOHN. Unbelievable. Anyone familiar with 1950s-1960s New Orleans will tell you that the crazy stories here are not embellished, and while Dr. John is a mystical character portrayed by the great musician Mac Rebennack, his accent is 100% true old school NOLA – I know people down here who talk just like him. Also, you can go here and download Dr. John’s amazing, psychedelic first album.

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Dr. John NPR Interview

Dr. John : NPR Interview

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Dr. John

I Got Loaded

|March 13, 2011 | Found Images, Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

I Got Loaded

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Lil’ Bob & The Lollipops : I Got Loaded

Lil’ Bob & The Lollipops : I Got Loaded

Fly Away

|February 25, 2011 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

Sometimes, you wake up, and you realize that the party is indisputably over, and that it’s time to get off at the next station. Here’s a song for such an occasion.

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Hurray For The Riff Raff : Fly Away

Hurray For The Riff Raff : Fly Away

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Hurray For The Riff Raff2

Photo by Andy Cook.

The Real Deal, Part 1

|February 23, 2011 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

Bandy 700003, from the New Orleans Series. The beautiful queen of New Orleans – down here, we think of her as the Queen Of Soul, although that title has been claimed by a slightly more famous singer. You know that scene in High Fidelity where the guy goes, ” watch me sell a couple copies of this record “, puts that Beta Band 12” on and everybody in the store buys one? I once saw that happen with this album, or rather, the Mississippi Records reissue of it. L-O-V-E.

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Irma Thomas Sings2

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01. Irma Thomas : Two Winters Long

01. Irma Thomas : Two Winters Long

02. Irma Thomas : Somebody Told You

02. Irma Thomas : Somebody Told You

03. Irma Thomas : Gone

03. Irma Thomas : Gone

04. Irma Thomas : Cry On

04. Irma Thomas : Cry On

05. Irma Thomas : Look Up

05. Irma Thomas : Look Up

06. Irma Thomas : I Done Got Over It

06. Irma Thomas : I Done Got Over It

07. Irma Thomas : It’s Raining

07. Irma Thomas : It’s Raining

08. Irma Thomas : Ruler Of My Heart

08. Irma Thomas : Ruler Of My Heart

09. Irma Thomas : I Did My Part

09. Irma Thomas : I Did My Part

The Real Deal, Part 2

|February 23, 2011 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

Bandy 70004, from the New Orleans Series. Late in his career, K-Doe started billing himself as the ” Emperor Of The Universe ” — I don’t know about all that, and Fats Domino is the king of New Orleans rock n’ roll, but Ernest Kador Jr., singing, wailing, never boring, was its prince.

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K-Doe

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01. Ernie K-Doe : Mother-In-Law

01. Ernie K-Doe : Mother-In-Law

02. Ernie K-Doe : Make You Love Me

02. Ernie K-Doe : Make You Love Me

03. Ernie K-Doe : Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta

03. Ernie K-Doe : Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta

04. Ernie K-Doe : Hurry Up And Know It

04. Ernie K-Doe : Hurry Up And Know It

05. Ernie K-Doe : Tain’t It The Truth

05. Ernie K-Doe : Tain’t It The Truth

06. Ernie K-Doe : Rub Dub Dub

06. Ernie K-Doe : Rub Dub Dub

07. Ernie K-Doe : Hello My Lover

07. Ernie K-Doe : Hello My Lover

08. Ernie K-Doe : Where There’s A Will There’s A Way

08. Ernie K-Doe : Where There’s A Will There’s A Way

09. Ernie K-Doe : Heebie Jeebies

09. Ernie K-Doe : Heebie Jeebies

10. Ernie K-Doe : Wanted, $10.000 Reward

10. Ernie K-Doe : Wanted, $10.000 Reward

11. Ernie K-Doe : Waiting At The Station

11. Ernie K-Doe : Waiting At The Station

12. Ernie K-Doe : She’s Waiting

12. Ernie K-Doe : She’s Waiting

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It’s The Coolest New Orleans Record EVER

|July 31, 2010 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music, You Could Download

.. and it was recorded in 1967 on borrowed studio time in Los Angeles by a crew of eccentric, heroin-addicted, paranoid New Orleanians led by Malcolm John ‘Mac’ Rebennack, Jr., who was on the run from the cops, sleeping on floors, and, for the first time, playing the character of mystic /shaman /voodoo priest Dr.John.

skinny-blackGris-Gris is one of the most psychedelic records I’ve ever heard, but not in a rock n’ roll fuzz-wah-wah-acid sort of way. Dr.John conjures up a timeless, dark, magic place – literally, this sounds like it could have been recorded in a swamp to an audience of frogs, blinking in the moonlight. You can download the tracks here, which are taken from my original vinyl copy. Note : if you’re a windows user and are having problems opening files from this site, try 7-Zip.

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GrisGris

Here’s more, from Rebennack’s excellent autobiography Dr.John : Under A Hoodoo Moon :

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” In 1967, after a couple of years of studio and other kinds of sidetripping in L.A., me and my New Orleans partners-in-exile finally fell into a situation where we could cut an LP on an idea I’d had since before I left New Orleans. I had always thought we could work up an interesting New Orleans-based concept behind the persona of the legendary conjureman Dr.John. This would not only allow for a dash of gris-gris in the lyrics but would also let us musicians get into a stretched-out New Orleans groove. With the help of Harold Battiste, we recorded at Gold Star Studios between sessions Sonny & Cher were doing there for Atlantic Records. The album we created, Gris-Gris, was heavy on rhythm, percussion, and guitar, and light on keyboards. I did play some organ, as on songs Mama Roux and Danse Kalinda, but stuck mostly to guitar. Steve Mann and Ernest McLean also played guitar on the session. On some songs we used two basses ( Harold Battiste and Bob West ), and our percussionist, Didimus, also doubled up on a bunch more instruments with the rest of the cats.

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We were looking for an unusual, textured sound, and the cats nailed it. Naturally, we wanted the album to sell, but we weren’t into bending our music to fit somebody’s idea of what the market was about. First and foremost, we were into it for the music. This attitude isn’t often appreciated by record companies. To give you a for instance, at one point later on, I was doing a session for Bobby Darin when Ahmet Ertegun walked into the studio looking for me. ‘ Why did you give me this shit? How can we market this boogaloo crap? ‘ He was stuck with a record that was done on the sly, and he was acting as if he wouldn’t release it.

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But we was of the mind that a hip record might sell if it was pitched the right way. The way we was looking at music was that it was circular in its groove, with no corners. That was what the old-time hipsters had meant by hip — something that hadn’t been squared off to fit into some kind of computerized, market-ized nightmare. In any event, Ahmet must have sensed something happening. We made five more albums for Atlantic before the deal fell through. Our theme song of that time, the first cut on the album, was Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya-Ya. It framed a mental picture of an imaginary New Orleans, and put our main character, Dr.John, out front and center. “

you could download THE WTUL NEW WAVE HOUR * 1978

|July 22, 2010 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music, Philosophy, You Could Download

I recently managed to get my hands on a tape of an old college radio show – 72 minutes of music and DJ banter – from WTUL, which is the station at Tulane University in New Orleans. I edited and smoothed things out a little bit, but what you have here is pretty much what went out over the airwaves on November 29th, 1978.

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NEW WAVE HOUR 2

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There’s a lot of music that you’ll be familiar with if you’re a fan of early punk and postpunk, but there are also some obscure treats – The Normals are widely considered, along with the Red Rockers ( who came along in 1979 ), to be the most happening early New Orleans punk band, and you can listen here to Almost Ready, the ultra-rare, ultra-great 45 that was their only release.

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It’s easy to forget what an exciting time this was, with fresh records arriving weekly from the UK and underground American bands starting to pop up all over the place. When the DJ ( Jay Hollingsworth wrote in to identify him as John Guarnieri, who went on to work at IRS Records ) says, casually, that Captain Beefheart is playing at Tipitina’s that night, I think, God, I’d give my right arm to be able to travel through time and see that show. Anyway, you can download the whole thing here.

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THE WTUL NEW WAVE HOUR * 1978

01. DJ : Elvis Costello – ” Emotional Fascism “

02. Elvis Costello : Tiny Steps

03. The Jam : I Need You

04. Sid Vicious : My Way

05. WTUL Kraftwerk promo : ” Your FM alternative .. in stereo “

06. The Stranglers : No More Heroes

07. The Normals : Almost Ready

08. The Damned : New Rose

09. The Adverts : Gary Gilmore’s Eyes

10. DJ : playlist – station ID – import album hour – Johnny Thunders

11. New York Dolls : Who Are The Mystery Girls?

12. DEVO : Social Fools

13. The New Hearts : Plain Jane

14. The Radiators : Million Dollar Hero

15. Chelsea : High Rise Living

16. Blunt Instrument : No Excuse

17. DJ : playlist – station ID – import album hour – ” riding streetcars at strange hours ”

18. Jilted John : Jilted John

19. Split Enz : Crosswords

20. Ultravox : The Quiet Man

21. Brian Eno : Alternative 3

22. Brian Eno : Strange Light – DJ : station ID – import album hour – playlist – Captain Beefheart at Tipitina’s – The Shirts

23. The Shirts – Lonely Android

24. The Clash : Tommy Gun

25.The Boomtown Rats : Like Clockwork

26. Peter Hammill : Pushing 30

27. DJ : playlist – station ID – import album hour – musical entertainment at The Contemporary Arts Center

Allen Toussaint * 1973

|March 1, 2010 | Found Sounds, New Orleans Music

Here’s a couple of beautiful, heartfelt tunes from Allen Toussaint’s Southern Nights LP. Although this musical giant has written and produced a flabbergasting number of hit songs for other artists, he is not generally known for his solo recordings – maybe it’s his voice – he’s a good singer, but not truly great ( or not totally distinctive, or something like that ) — which he certainly is as a composer and piano player. Here, backed by The Meters, he reflects on his childhood in New Orleans’ Gert Town neighborhood and visiting his French-speaking country relatives.

Allen Toussaint : ” Last Train “

Allen Toussaint : ” Last Train ”

Allen Toussaint : ” Southern Nights “

Allen Toussaint : ” Southern Nights ”

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