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Classic Sounds of New Orleans from Smithsonian Folkways

Various Artists

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Editors’ Notes

Don’t let this album’s mundane title put you off: Classic Sounds of New Orleans is a superb compilation of the city’s music. The various tracks — many of which were recorded in the 1950s — range far and wide, offering a kaleidoscopic portrait in sound. Things kick off with the Eureka Brass Band’s version of “Just A Little While to Stay Here,” by the white gospel composer Eugene Monroe Bartlett. The group’s joyful noise could only have come out of the Crescent City, making it a perfect opener. Some great street music is next: a shoeshine boy’s rendition of “Shine-Hambone,” Freddie L. Small’s harmonica take on the well-known song “Tiger Rag,” and fruit vendor Dora Bliggen’s street call, “Blackberries!” The tradition of Mardi Gras Indians, known for their flamboyant costumes and call-and-response vocals, is represented by “Red White and Blue Got the Golden Band,” a cut performed by members from different tribes. There’s also “Spooky Drums #1,” a solo by Baby Dodds; “Back to the Time” by the Choir of Pilgrim Baptist Church; a guitar version of “High Society” by Snooks Eaglin, and much more. A true treasure trove.

Customer Reviews

New Orleans Finest

A brilliant collection of traditional NOLA roots music: as raw, raucous, and full of life as anything you'll ever hear on Planet Earth. This is the musical mothership that birthed everyone from Buddy Bolden and Louis Armstrong to Allen Toussaint and the Neville Brothers. Tom Waits and David Johansen and their ilk are just pale imitators of these bodacious sounds. Required listening for all students American music (just check out the percussion on these tunes!), but it's a lot more fun than that. Buy the album; then tell your main squeeze to come over, crank up the volume, open up a bottle, and have your own private Mardi Gras!

Classic Sounds of New Orleans from Smithsonian Folkways
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  • $9.99
  • Genres: Jazz, Music, Blues
  • Released: Jul 27, 2010

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