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The Lost Paramount Tapes

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Album Review

This is a disc made by one of the best piano players to come out of New Orleans, James Booker, playing with an all-star band of New Orleans musicians, most of whom Booker befriended during his days with Dr. John. The music sparkles, all the more amazing because it was recorded live in the L.A. area with no overdubs in 1973, and is just being released in 1997 because it was lost for 20 years. This disc hits a groove and does not quit, shifting from straight-ahead blues to an R&B beat, drifting into some complex Caribbean rhythms, moving off into some jazz riffs, but all the time maintaining the original blues feel it started with. All the players get to shine, but it is definitely James Booker's disc.

Customer Reviews


I have been a Booker fan since I was a child. He was on top of his game on this album. I would be curious to find out what happened when they faded out on some of the tunes, nonetheless, it's pure gold. The "Junco Partner" (1 & 2) are as dark and dirty as I've ever heard him do....he was really in touch with what he sang about so it seems. I'm totally all about this album and would recommend it to anyone who wants to know what true and original New Orleans piano playing is about.

The best Booker, the best NOLA piano

I was in the Louisiana Music Factory (support them if you are in NO) after Jazzfest about a decade ago… I asked someone working there for some real NO piano, something along the lines of Professor Longhair, but different. Something that other folks might not know.
The fellow asked me if I knew what a tack piano was - I said "Yup, but I don't own any." He then asked me if I knew James Booker, and I said "Nope." He handed me this CD and said "Get to know him."
Then he gave me a few Booker stories… I sadly found out that I'd never hear him live, but thank heavens that this got made. Out of 20,000 plus CDs and 5000+ vinyl LPs, this is in the top five I own.

My favorite JB

If you've ever heard folks raving about James Booker and wondered what the fuss was all about, here's the record that proves it all. So much of Booker's recorded output is solo recordings and uneven live sets that they don't capture the brilliance of the man. JB was easily as funky as Longhair but with a virtuosity that was untouchable. On this set he has a strong band backing him up and freeing him from having to provide his own rhythmic base. The results are astounding....some of the best New Orleans funk piano you'll ever hear. It's a pretty strong vocal set as well. Don't miss this one....a hidden gem for sure.


Born: December 17, 1939 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Certainly one of the most flamboyant New Orleans pianists in recent memory, James Carroll Booker III was a major influence on the local rhythm & blues scene in the '50s and '60s. Booker's training included classical instruction until age 12, by which time he had already begun to gain recognition as a blues and gospel organist on radio station WMRY every Sunday. By the time he was out of high school he had recorded on several occasions, including his own first release, "Doing the Hambone," in 1953....
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