Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Meet Me on Frenchman Street

Mystery Street Records is an affiliate of the fan-funded Threadhead Records, that was established after Hurricane Katrina, as a way for lovers of New Orleans, its food, culture, architecture and music, to assist in the recovery of the city and its musical scene. It issued earlier this year Frenchman Street, an anthology of New Orleans music mostly derived from Threadhead Records, but also including rare material from other sources.

Frenchman Street is itself in the Bywater area just outside the French Quarter and the location of music venues such as Snug Harbor, d.b.a., The Spotted Cat, Blue Nile, and other music venues where one can hear Jazz Bands, Trad bands, Funk bands and more to paraphrase Shamarr Allen’s delightful Meet Me on Frenchman Street on which fellow trumpeter Kermit Ruffins joins for a celebration of the scene there. Songwriter Alex McMurray perhaps echoes what many might think when he sings You’ve Got to Be Crazy to Live In This Town, while blues and R&B singer Jesse Moore is heard on When the Hoodoo Come Down from a pre-Katrina CD. Glen David Andrews may be better known for gospel but his Dumaine Street Blues is a blues with brass band seasoning followed by The New Orleans Night Crawlers” with the invocation to party, Alright Alright.

Margie Perez & the King Cake Babies celebrate Mardi Gras Carnival, while Holley Bendtsen & Amasa Miller, joined by the Pfister Singers take us Down to Jazz Fest. Echoes of trad jazz support Paul Sanchez on his Exit to Mystery Street, while he is joined by John Boutté for their collaboration Stew Called New Orleans from a fine Threadhead disc by the two. The disc closes with Boutté’s updated take (from the 2006 JazzFest) of Randy Newman’s Louisiana 1927 with his biting new lyrics about President Bush’s response to Katrina and the levees failing in addition to Newman’s lyrics about floods in cajun Louisiana. Previously it was available on a limited edition WWOZ fundraiser but this release makes this available to a larger audience and would almost be reason enough to buy this varied compilation by itself. But there are 11 other additional reasons for obtaining this lively collection.

Previously I ran my review of the Mystery Street compilation Vieux Carre and this is a companion to it. I purchased this disc.

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