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Red Beans 'N' Rice

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Album Review

An enigmatic pianist and vocalist whose hip-shaking, Caribbean-influenced sound in many ways served as the archetype for the entire New Orleans R&B genre, Professor Longhair was the foundation upon which the careers of Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, and countless others were built. Red Beans N Rice contains many of Fess' best-known songs, including the Mardi Gras standards "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" and "Tipitina," as well as "Big Chief," a virtual Rosetta Stone of Big Easy 88's-tickling. That said, the versions included here are a bit of a mixed bag; about half the tracks appear to be from the same high-energy 1979 Chicago club date documented on Fuel 2000s Big Easy Strut release, while others are much earlier classic studio tracks also available on several older collections. Among the less-common highlights are the jaunty, humorous "She Ain't Got No Hair," and a particularly loose, greasy live take on the drug-themed NOLA standard "Junko Partner." While certainly not the most representative, best-sounding, or most complete introduction to Professor Longhair, Red Beans N Rice is still a fine collection of music from an iconic artist.


Born: December 19, 1918 in Bogalusa, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s

Justly worshipped a decade and a half after his death as a founding father of New Orleans R&B, Roy "Professor Longhair" Byrd was nevertheless so down-and-out at one point in his long career that he was reduced to sweeping the floors...
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