Everything had a connection to the Crescent City in a slightly shortened show due to some technical gremlins during Neil's rock show. Two gracious and generous guests spoke about their stories to us: Joe 'Survival' Caruso and Sybil Gage. They both told how they - and their families - had been affected by those storms ten years ago. The unquenchable spirit of the city came through loudly in the telling and both shared their personal details and some of their music exclusively with STAR BLUES.
Bryan Lee has played at a Bourbon Street residency since 1982 and we thought his Katrina album worthy of starting the party on our show. Wolfman Washington embodies the distinctive funk feel found so often in New Orleans music, nice to able to report he is still a big draw in town. James Booker was one of those special, unique guys who hard hard to classify: Dr John called him "the best gay, one-eyed piano player in New Orleans", elsewhere he was known as "the Black Liberace" but we just prefer his playing without needing a definition. Similarly keyboard kings Prof. Longhair, Champion Jack Dupree Fats Domino and Dr. John himself have strong identities ties to the city.
We heard their roots too from a terrific four disc survey which yielded Larry Darnell and Joe Google-Eyes' August for us. Our time dilation meant we had to leave Edgar Blanchard and Dave Batholomew until a further show. The work done by Cosimo Matassa at J&M studio was acknowledged, as was one MVP of his team: Earl Palmer. Those old jokes about "what do you call someone who hangs around with a band" are silly in the extreme when you listen to the wealth of music he helped create: Thurston Harris, Smiley Lewis, Roy Montrell and Amos Milburn each had him in the engine room. Guitarists Guitar Slim and Earl King represented the Specialty label, forever associated with that regions output.
The current crop of artists issued some interesting projects after Hurricane Katrina - Dr John renamed his band after one of the worst affected wards in the city and was one of the high-profile "names" trying to draw attention to the plight of those with substantial loss. Chris Thomas King was right on the nose with his album, almost entirely self-written, played and produced. Irma Thomas lost a home and a club she'd run for 25 years. Though her "After The Rain" album was already in planning before the tumult, her magnificent performances gained extra poignancy and relevance. This album is virtually mandatory in her canon of work, showing why she is a major player.
Our show wouldn't have been complete without Sybil Gage or Joe Caruso who kindly gave us their time to add a human context to what we wanted to do on STAR BLUES. Grateful thanks to them. I'm already planning to be back round your place at 10pm (BST) on Sunday if you'll have me. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.
PS(1) - We did play Amos Milburn twice courtesy of the Neil Jones gremlin cohort.
PS(2) - If you want to know which track is guarding my socks for the next seven days, look for me on Facebook.
|Flat Food Sam||Bryan Lee||1||Katrina Was Her Name||Bryan Lee||[ 2 mins 52 secs ]||Bryan Lee|
|0n the prowl||Walter 'Wolfman' Washington||6||rounder 25 years||various artists||rounder||[ 4 mins 06 secs ]||Walter 'Wolfman' Washington|
|rockin' pneumonia||James Booker||4||New Orleans Keyboard King||James Booker||ORBIS BLUES COLLECTION||[ 2 mins 50 secs ]||James Booker|
|Chicken Shack Boogie||Amos Milburn||6||Backbeat||Earl Palmer||ACE||[ 2 mins 31 secs ]||Amos Milburn|
|We Gettin' There (City That Care Forgot)||Dr. John & The Lower 911||19||Hans Theesink And Dr. John And More ...||Various Artists||[ 5 mins 14 secs ]||Dr. John & The Lower 911|
|i've got to tell somebody||joe caruso||1||i've got to tell somebody||joe caruso||lakehouse records|
|(Ev'ry Time I Hear) That Mellow Saxophone||Roy Montrell||3||Backbeat||Earl Palmer||ACE||[ 2 mins 26 secs ]||Roy Montrell|
|I Want To Walk You Home||Fats Domino||8||Gumbo Ya Ya: The Cosimo Matassa Story Volume 2||Various Artists||PROPER||[ 2 mins 24 secs ]||Fats Domino|
|Shame, Shame, Shame||Smiley Lewis||4||Backbeat||Earl Palmer||ACE||[ 1 mins 58 secs ]||Smiley Lewis|
|just to be home with you||joe google-eyes august||25||gettin' funky - birth of new orleans r'n'b||various artists||proper|
|for you my love||larry darnell||26||gettin' funky - birth of new orleans r'n'b||various artists||proper|
|Life Is Just A Struggle||Johnny Adams||11||Soul City New Orleans: Big Easy Gems From The Dawn Of Soul Music||Various Artists||Fantatsic Voyage||[ 2 mins 40 secs ]||Johnny Adams|
|catch new orleans||sybil gage||4||NOLA Calling||sybil gage|
|Flow Mississippi Flow||Chris Thomas King||4||Rise||Chris Thomas King||21ST CENTURY||[ 4 mins 10 secs ]||Chris Thomas King|
|Katrina Blues||Ronnie Earl||5||Hope Radio||Ronnie Earl||Stony Plain Music||[ 0 mins 0 secs ]||Ronnie Earl|
|In The Middle Of It All||Irma Thomas||1||After The Rain||Irma Thomas||Rounder||[ 4 mins 45 secs ]||Irma Thomas|
|something you got||chris kenner||5||crackin the cosimo code||various artists||ace|
|(come on) let the good times roll||earl king||16||kings of new orleans r'n'b||various artists||music club|
|barefootin||robert parker||19||crackin the cosimo code||various artists||ace|
|don't you just know it||huey piano smith||19||kings of new orleans r'n'b||various artists||music club|
|Ball The Wall||Professor Longhair||9||Mardi Gras In New Orleans: Complete Recordings 1949-1962||Professor Longhair||Jasmine Records (UK)||[ 3 mins 20 secs ]||Professor Longhair|
|Little Bitty Pretty One||Thurston Harris & The Sharps||18||Backbeat||Earl Palmer||ACE||[ 2 mins 23 secs ]||Thurston Harris & The Sharps|
|Trouble At Midnight||Roy Brown||6||Hard Luck Blues Volume One||Roy Brown||[ 2 mins 51 secs ]||Roy Brown|
|sufferin' mind||guitar slim||1||sufferin mind||guitar slim||blues encore||[ 2 mins 50 secs ]|
|junkers blues||Champion Jack Dupree||16||New Orleans Barrelhouse Boogie||Champion Jack Dupree||COLUMBIA||[ 2 mins 10 secs ]||Champion Jack Dupree|