Posts Tagged: 1990s

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Corey Harris - “Eh La Bas”. 1999. I first heard his rendition of this traditional tune on the excellent  Greens from the Garden.

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jscarlton:

I love Christmas music, even though 85% of it is dreck. This year, I’m combatting the dreck with this lame feature I’m calling A NOLA Christmas. 12 days, 12 Christmas tunes from New Orleans-area artists, 12 write-ups that will be ultimately unsatisfying. Enjoy!

I had a few possible songs planned for today, depending on the outcome of today’s game. Well, the outcome came, and it wasn’t so hot.

So, here’s a tune by Greg Barnhill (who is more of a producer than anything) and the New Birth Brass Band. It’s a one-off novelty deal, but manages to be a credible brass band song, if you’re into that kind of thing. Barnhill actually sounds a lot like Lyle Lovett in places, for what that’s worth.

New Orleans seems to produce a lot of novelty music (there’s at least one more coming in this countdown). I think there are a couple of reasons for that. Primary among them is that New Orleans still has a local music tradition, and even the big radio stations will occasionally play at least some local music*.

*Although even that is dying off as Clear Channel et al. continue to homogenize music toward a mushy, unsatisfying middle.

A second reason is that New Orleans music lends itself to novelty songs for two reasons: (1) there’s a sense of playfulness and joy in most New Orleans music, and (2) New Orleans music is an old-fashioned music (even as much of it remains cutting edge), and novelty songs seemed to have been more popular in the early days of rock than it is now.

And, keeping with the theme of the week (that much of Christmas music is just an attempt to cash in on the holiday), I suppose that a Christmas novelty song is one of the best chances a local act has to actually get some air play and sell a few singles.

Regardless, Santa didn’t bring the wish this year, but I suppose we can still be content with the Super Bowl victory. Playoffs are around the corner, anyway, and that’s a whole new ballgame, y’all.

Source: jscarlton
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A few years ago I posted a bunch of NOLA Christmas tunes on my rarely updated main site. I’ll reblog a few of the tunes here, because why not?

jscarlton:

A NOLA Christmas 2

I love Christmas music, even though 85% of it is dreck. This year, I’m combatting the dreck with this lame feature I’m calling A NOLA Christmas. 12 days, 12 Christmas tunes from New Orleans-area artists, 12 write-ups that will be ultimately unsatisfying. Enjoy!

The Zion Harmonizers are a venerable New Orleans gospel group that has been around in various incarnations since the 1939. Sort of a New Orleans version of the Blind Boys of Alabama, but without being from Alabama or, well, blind. I guess the similarity stops at the music, then.

I don’t know a ton about this group; I’ve seen them at Jazz Fest a couple of times and they play (or used to, anyway) a gospel brunch every week at the House of Blues. But they do show the diversity of New Orleans music: New Orleans has a grand tradition of gospel music (and don’t worry, Mahalia Jackson is coming), but it tends to get lost in the shuffle of everything else. I used to love to listen to the gospel show Sunday mornings on ‘OZ…such singers!

I attended an Episcopal school in New Orleans, and we had a 20-minute chapel service every day. It wasn’t that big of a deal: march in, sing a hymn, listen to a sermon, sing again, go about your day. I remember a few things about those services (like snickering with my friends at lines like “blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord”), but I especially remember the “hymn sings”.

A few times a year, we wouldn’t have a sermon or a prayer or anything, we’d just sing hymns. I don’t know if it was because the priest couldn’t come up with a sermon for that day or what…more likely it was because everyone loved the hymn sings. Everyone except the teachers, administrators, or any other adults in earshot, I suppose.

The process was simple: students would raise their hand and, when called upon, pick a hymn from the hymnal. We’d sing it. Rinse, repeat, etc.

The funny thing about the hymn sings was that it seems like we always picked the same songs to sing. Every. Single. Time. “If I Were a Butterfly”, “Onward Christian Soldiers”, and “Go, Tell it on the Mountain”. Never anything different. If I’d been a teacher, I’d of had to fake going into labor or something to avoid hearing the same songs, sung poorly, once again.

I don’t know why no one ever raised their hand and called out a totally random hymn that no one knew. I mean, that would be funny right? Why didn’t someone do this? Little Boxes, I suppose.

So, here’s “Go Tell it On The Mountain”, sung much better than we did in chapel. 

Source: jscarlton
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Two 1994 promos: one for Buddy D's radio show and another for the short-lived Morten Andersen show. I don’t think Saints fans would tune in for a Garrett Hartley show right now.

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May you see more than leaves falling this autumn. Also: be cool.

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"In the 1990s K-Doe began billing himself as “The Emperor of the Universe” and wearing a cape and crown he became a famous local eccentric on the New Orleans scene. K-Doe continued performing and occasionally recording until shortly before his death. Always an elaborate showman, one of K-Doe’s most notable later performances was at New Orleans’ Aquarium of the Americas where he performed at a benefit for a local group aiding people with disabilities. The show ended with K-Doe performing seven continuous renditions of “Mother In Law” while dancing in front of the Gulf of Mexico shark tank exhibit dressed in a green plumed cape."

- Wikipedia: Ernie K-Doe. Too good to fact check.
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Jim Mora tells it like it is before quitting in 1996. I probably watch this 10 times a year. Oh, and the site is back, thanks for your patience.

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Ricky B (B for “Bounce”): Shake it fo ya hood. Quite NSFW, thanks to the F word, the N word, and other words that start with letters. A friend of a friend had this on tape in the mid-to-late 90s; we played it quite a bit, though many of the name-checked hoods were not represented in our friend group.

Almost done with the dissertation, so I can resume curating this here site. Thanks for your patience.

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Earl King - It All Went Down the Drain, Jazzfest 1993.

Back in action after a minor hiatus. Sorry about that…dissertation is due in 5 weeks!

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The Band - The Weight, April 22, 1996, UNO Lakefront Arena. RIP, Levon Helm.