The 50 must-have New Orleans records

The 50 must-have New Orleans records

To pick a Professor Longhair recording, a few things needed to fit the formula. One, it needed to be live. His strength was in stunning live shows – folklore has it when Fess made his “comeback” appearance at Jazz Fest in 1971 his performance was so good food vendors, musicians, fans from other areas just stopped what they were doing and started gravitating to the stage where he was playing. This album has the same jaw-dropping playing. It continually beckons.

Two, it had to be at Tipitina’s. The club is a holy shrine in his honor and arguably the city’s most sacred live music venue. When this was recorded, Tip’s is in its infancy -- a little over a year old at this point.

Three, his music is as essential to Mardi Gras as is his legacy to the city itself. This album is taken from two nights – Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras – inside the venerable, if-a-little-too-dirty halls of Tipitina’s in 1978.

The sound quality, location, dates and Fess’ performance – insane versions like “Got My Mojo Working” and “Mess Around” and, of course, “Mardi Gras in New Orleans” with him whistling away makes this the selection over other every good Longhair albums like “Crawfish Fiesta,” or “Rock n’ Roll Gumbo.” Fess’ piano playing is sparkling, spry and sharp and he is backed by a dynamite band.

Listening to the recording, this is the magic – the legendary sounds from a special time in the city that has a legacy and is still inspiring musicians and delighting fans. Oh, what anyone would give to be in Tip’s for these two shows. Until the time machine comes along, this is as close as we’ll ever get.

-Michael Luke

Professor Longhair - "Big Chief"

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 29, 2012 at 6:10 PM

Updated Wednesday, Nov 13 at 12:09 PM

Here is a list of each album for your viewing pleasure:

Piano Masters
1. James Booker – "Resurrection of the Bayou Maharajah" – Rounder – 1993
2. Allen Toussaint - "Allen Toussaint" - Varese Fontana - 1971
3. Professor Longhair - "The Last Mardi Gras" - Atlantic - 1982
4. Dr. John - "In the Right Place" - Elektra - 1973
5. Jelly Roll Morton - "The Complete Library of Congress Recordings - Rounder - 1938
6. Fats Domino - "My Blue Heaven" - Capitol - 1990
7. Eddie Bo - "Check Mr. Popeye" - Rounder - 1988
8. Henry Butler - "Homeland" - Basin Street Records - 2004
9. Joe Krown Organ Combo - "Livin Large" - Joe Krown - 2005
10. Ellis Marsalis - "Whistle Stop" - Sony - 1993

Indians 'n' Jazz
11. The Wild Magnolias - "The Wild Magnolias" – Polydor – 1974
12. Preservation Hall Jazz Band - "An Album to Benefit Preservation Hall" - Preservation Hall - 2010
13. The Neville Brothers - "Nevillization" - Black Top - 1984
14. The Meters - "Rejuvenation" - Reprise Records - 1974
15. Wynton Marsalis - "Black Codes (From the Underground)" - Sony - 1985
16. Los Hombres Calientes - "Vol. 3 New Congo Square" - Basin Street Records - 2001
17. The Wild Tchoupitoulas - "The Wild Tchoupitoulas" - Mango - 1976
18. Astral Project - "Big Shot" - Astral Project - 2001
19. Louis Armstrong - "Complete Hot Five & Hot Seven Recordings" - Columbia - 2000
20. Pete Fountain - "Pete Fountain's New Orleans" - MCA - 1957

Modern Acts
21. Anders Osborne - "American Patchwork" - Alligator Records - 2010
22. Glen David Andrews - "Walking Through Heaven's Gate" - Threadhead Records - 2009
23. The Radiators - "Law of the Fish" - Sony - 1987
24. John Boutte - "Jambalaya" - CDBY - 2008
25. Lil Wayne - "Tha Carter III" - Cash Money Records - 2008
26. Down - "NOLA" - East/West Records - 1995
27. Juvenile - "400 Degreez" - Cash Money - 1998
28. Jon Cleary - "Mo Hippa Live" - Mri Associated - 2008
29. Theresa Andersson - "Hummingbird, Go!" - Basin Street Records - 2008
30. Mystikal - "Let's Get Ready" - 2000

Brass Bands
31. Rebirth Brass Band - "Feel Like Funkin It Up" - Rounder Records - 1989
32. Galactic - "Ya-Ka-May" - Anti - 2010
33. Kermit Ruffins - "Live at Vaughan's" - Basin Street Records - 2007
34. Trombone Shorty - "Backatown" - Verve Forecast - 2010
35. Soul Rebels Brass Band - "No More Parades" - Tuff City Records - 1998
36. Shamarr Allen - "Meet Me on Frenchmen Street" - Pome Music - 2007
37. Treme Brass Band - "Gimme My Money Back" - Arholie Records - 1995
38. Big Sam's Funky Nation - "Peace, Love & Understanding" - Big Sam's Funky Nation - 2008
39. Dirty Dozen Brass Band - "What's Going On" - Shout Factory - 2006
40. Bonerama - "Bringing it Home" - Bonerama - 2006

Crooners
41. Irma Thomas - "In Between Tears" – Fungus – 1973
42. Lee Dorsey - "Yes We Can" - Polydor - 1970
43. Champion Jack Dupree - "Blues from the Gutter" - Atco - 1958
44. Earl King - "Street Parade" - Charly Records - 1972/1982
45. Mahalia Jackson - "16 Most Requested Songs" - Sony - 1996
46. Ernie K-Doe - "A Real Mother-in-Law for Ya" - Westside - 2002
47. Joe Krown, Walter “Wolfman” Washington, Russell Batiste Jr. -- Live at the Maple Leaf – 2008
48. Snooks Eaglin - "Teasin You" - Black Top - 1992
49. Johnny Adams - “Heart & Soul” - Vampi Soul - 1969
50. Lloyd Price - "The Exciting Lloyd Price" - Hoo Doo Records - 1959

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