As a city that treasures its musical heritage, New Orleans is probably second only to Nashville.
I’ve been listening to WWOZ in recent weeks. WWOZ is a free- form community radio station that’s become a linchpin of the New Orleans music scene.
WWOZ rocks ass. Below are just a few recordings to which I’ve been introduced by ’OZ’s dedicated volunteer deejays. Click the track titles to listen on my Vox blog.
(The track that’s missing is Eddie Bo’s “Stink Bomb.” I’ve turned the Internet upside down trying to find an MP3 of that hard-funkin’ instrumental. Couldn’t even locate it on disc at the Louisiana Music Factory. Can anybody hook me up with a sound file?)
1. “Trick Bag” – Earl King
The late Earl King, a native New Orleanian, recorded his first R&B singles in the mid 1950s. He cut this side for legendary producer Dave Bartholomew in 1961. It’s pretty damn funky for 1961.
2. “Don’t Smoke Around Susie” – John Boutté/Paul Sanchez
John Boutté is probably the top nightclub singer in New Orleans right now. On certain songs, his voice is reminiscent of Sam Cooke. Paul Sanchez is a popular guitarist and songwriter and was a founding member of the band Cowboy Mouth.
Boutté and Sanchez collaborated on a new CD: “Stew Called New Orleans.”
3. “Frankenstein” – Po’ Boys Brass Band
The Po’ Boys Brass Band is a white group based in Rochester, N.Y., but its vibe is black New Orleans. Its sound was influenced by the Rebirth and Dirty Dozen brass bands.
The twist here is that the Po’ Boys cover classic rock tunes... like this Edgar Winters monster jam.
4. “Stop What You’re Doing to Me” – Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown
Roots-music titan Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown was raised in Texas and made his reputation there. But he moved to New Orleans in the late 1970s, and the city now claims him.
Brown’s home in the suburb of Slidell was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, and Brown died soon thereafter from multiple pre-existing conditions.