I’m overdue to stream a few tracks from the CDs I purchased during my first visit to New Orleans. (Eight weeks overdue, to be precise.)
The Louisiana Music Factory in the French Quarter is a hella great record store. They got more NOLA funk, R&B, jazz and brass band music under one roof than you can handle.
Click the song titles below to listen on my Vox blog.
1. “Door Poppin’ ” – John Boutté
Encouraged by none other than Stevie Wonder to pursue a career in music, John Boutté sang gospel and street-corner a cappella before earning a reputation as one of his home town’s best and most versatile soul men.
This track is from Boutté’s latest album, “Good Neighbor.”
2. “Turn This Thing Around” – Dumpstaphunk
Ivan Neville is Aaron Neville’s son, and Dumpstaphunk is his hardcore funk band. This tune is from Dumpstaphunk’s 2007 EP, aptly titled “Listen Hear.”
3. “Stanky” – Papa Grows Funk
Led by organ player John “Papa” Gros, Papa Grows Funk carries on the N’Orleans groove tradition of the Meters and Dr. John. PGF is a presence on the national jam band circuit and has toured Europe and Japan.
“Stanky” is from the band’s 2007 album “Mr. Patterson’s Hat.”
4. “Just Like That” – Walter “Wolfman” Washington
Guitarist Walter “Wolfman” Washington goes way back in New Orleans rhythm-and-blues. In the 1960s, he toured with Lee Dorsey. In the ’70s, he backed Johnny Adams.
For the past two decades, Washington has been a solo artist. And he’s a big deal in the Crescent City. This track is from his 2008 album “Doin’ the Funky Thing.”
5. “For the Love of Money” – Lil Rascals Brass Band
Perhaps the most distinctive element of black New Orleans is its “second line” culture... and the brass bands that drive it. New Orleans is the only city in America where it’s hipper to blow a horn than to rap.
A throwback to the earliest days of jazz, the brass band tradition was revived in the mid-’80s by the Dirty Dozen Brass Band and the Rebirth Brass Band. They stretched the repertoire to include modern R&B tunes.
The Lil Rascals Brass Band covered this O’Jays classic on its 2001 album “Buck It Like a Horse” (co-produced by Cyril Neville). The album was reissued last year.
6. “If You Want Me to Stay” – Big Chief Alfred Doucette
The Mardi Gras Indians are another signature element of black New Orleans. Much mystery and mythology surrounds the ritual of black men dressing up in ornate Indian costumes and challenging the members of rival “tribes.”
But everyone who knows anything about New Orleans respects “big chiefs” such as Bo Dollis and Monk Boudreaux. Big Chief Dollis’s tribe, the Wild Magnolias, started making records in 1970. Now the Mardi Gras Indians have their own sub-section in the Louisiana Music Factory’s CD racks.
Big Chief Alfred Doucette (of the Flaming Arrow Warriors) put out an album last year called “Rollin’ Wit da Legends & Marie Laveau.” Doucette isn’t much of a singer, but his backing band sure knew what to do with this Sly Stone joint.