The Wild Tchoupitoulas gonna stomp some rump

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If you really want to learn something about New Orleans music, subscribe / bookmark Dan’s Home of the Groove, the music blog about New Orleans music. Going along with the Mardi Gras Indians theme from the previous Iko Iko post, listen to this great Wild Tchoupitoulas song.

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Helped out by members of the Meters and the Neville Brothers, and produced by Allen Toussaint, the Tchoups release their self-titled – and only – album, in 1976. For a more thorough background of this song and the Mardi Gras Indian culture, see this great post from Home of the Groove.

F
rom The Wild Tchoupitoulas…

NOLA Related:

Iko Iko

dixie cups

I’ve been hearing “Iko Iko” for years and years, primarily the Dixie Cups version from The Big Easy soundtrack and live versions from the Grateful Dead. But I never really took the time to understand what the lyrics were all about. “My flag boy and your flag boy”, “look at my king all dressed in red”, etc.

Well, here’s the story behind the song:

Following is the “Iko Iko” story, as told by Dr. John in the liner notes to his 1972 album, Gumbo, in which he covers New Orleans R&B classics:

“The song was written and recorded back in the early 1950s by a New Orleans singer named James Crawford who worked under the name of Sugar Boy & the Cane Cutters. It was recorded in the 1960s by the Dixie Cups for Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller’s Red Bird label, but the format we’re following here is Sugar Boy’s original. Also in the group were Professor Longhair on piano, Jake Myles, Big Boy Myles, Irv Bannister on guitar, and Eugene ‘Bones’ Jones on drums. The group was also known as the Chipaka Shaweez. The song was originally called ‘Jockamo,’ and it has a lot of Creole patois in it. Jockamo means ‘jester’ in the old myth. It is Mardi Gras music, and the Shaweez was one of many Mardi Gras groups who dressed up in far out Indian costumes and came on as Indian tribes. The tribes used to hang out on Claiborne Avenue and used to get juiced up there getting ready to perform and ‘second line’ in their own special style during Mardi Gras. That’s dead and gone because there’s a freeway where those grounds used to be. The tribes were like social clubs who lived all year for Mardi Gras, getting their costumes together. Many of them were musicians, gamblers, hustlers and pimps.” – from this Wikipedia article

The Dixie Cups: Iko Iko (mp3) – from the Big Easy soundtrack (HIGHLY recommended)

So what is a Flag Boy??

Tootie Montana on Indian Hierarchy: The fundamental framework of a Mardi Gras Indian gang is a functional hierarchy. Montana spells out the positions: “You’ve got first chief, which is Big Chief; First Queen; you’ve got Second Chief and Second Queen; Third Chief and Third Queen. First, Second, and Third chiefs are supposed to have a queen with them. That’s just tradition. I found them doing that. Your fourth chief is not called fourth chief, he’s the Trail Chief. From there on it’s just Indians, no title. You also have your Spy Boy, your Flag Boy and your Wild Man. Your Spy Boy is way out front, three blocks in front the chief. The Flag Boy is one block in front so he can see the Spy Boy up ahead and he can wave his flag to let the chief know what is going on. Today, they don’t do like they used to. Today you’re not going to see any Spy Boy with a pair of binoculars around his neck and a small crown so he can run. Today a Spy Boy looks like a chief and somebody carrying a big old stick. It’s been years since I seen a proper flag. Today everybody has a chief stick. The Wild Man wearing the horns in there to keep the crowd open and to keep it clear. He’s between the Flag Boy and the Chief.” – – check out the whole Wikipedia article about Mardi Gras Indians.

How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live?

This song was written in 1929 by one Blind Alfred Reed. I became familiar with the song through Bruce’s Seeger Sessions tour. I happened across this video tonight (thru a post on Crooks and Liars). It’s Ry Cooder performing the song in a 1987 concert in Santa Cruz, CA. It’s a completely different arrangement from Bruce’s, slowed down considerably, with excellent slide guitar courtesy of Ry. Like I say to myself every darn time I hear something by Ry Cooder, I really need to do myself a favor and buy every last thing the man has done.

On the anniversary of Katrina, I think this fits right in with the theme… Oh, and that’s Flaco Jimenez there on accordion.

A Year Since Katrina

ctk

Here comes the one year anniversary of Katrina. Tuesday, August 29th marks one year since the storm hit the Gulf Coast, and set off a chain of events – natural and unnatural – that caused devastation to the region.

I watched the first half of Spike Lee’s documentary, When the Levees Broke, last week on HBO. Talk about feeling sick to your stomach all over again. Then I read in the NYT today about the influx of politicians to the area this week to – yes – politicize the tragedy. The Democrats there to point fingers at the Bush Administration and the Republicans, and their seeming incompetence in responding to the tragedy; and W. and the GOP on site to point out the successes so far in the reconstruction effort. No fly overs in Air Force One this time…

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To be fair, positive steps have been taken, but there’s obviously a long way to go. And fact is, all of the wonderful politicians in town this week for their staged events and photo ops will be cleared out by week’s end. And large swaths of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast will sit,
untouched since the storm, waiting for the help they so desparately need.

Chris Thomas King

So let me turn to the music. Chris Thomas King is a blues artist from southern Louisiana (you’ve also seen him in O Brother Where Art Thou and Ray). I saw him perform in Telluride just three weeks after Katrina (I took that pic above @ the festival). He had lost most of his equipment in the floods, so was using new and borrowed equipment. He played a song which had made its debut a few days earlier on a nationwide televised relief broadcast. It’s called “What Would Jesus Do?”, and points out the incompetencies and injustices found in the aftermath of Katrina. The song is also found on King’s latest CD, Rise, which was released earlier this summer.

Chris Thomas King: What Would Jesus Do? (mp3) – Please support Chris by buying the song and/or album on iTunes, eMusic, Amazon (or wherever). You can check out his official web site here.

Here are a couple of Aaron Neville tunes I posted last year soon after Katrina.

Aaron Neville:

Louisiana 1927 (mp3) – original post from last year | Aaron’s version of a Randy Newman song about the 1927 Louisiana flood. Its lyrics fit right into the present day situation. From Warm Your Heart.

St. Jude’s Hymn (mp3) – original post from last year | “St. Jude’s Hymn” was sent to me by a reader (William) last year. I thought I would repost his moving and thorough background of the song. You can buy Midnight at St. Jude’s here.

On the edge of what used to be the notorious Storyville section of New Orleans, a short walk from the famous St. Louis #1 Cemetery, rests a small and beautiful church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel /International Shrine of Saint Jude.

This church has withstood the test of time and adversity. Surviving through the Civil War, the Reconstruction, coexisting in the heart of Storyville, standing after the horrible aftermath of 1965’s horrible Hurricane Betsy; and, as of August 30, 2005 was still standing amidst the
impoverished and crime-ridden projects of New Orleans.

Nested in one of the poorest sections of New Orleans, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel / International Shrine of St. Jude provides a quiet haven for meditation and a place of solace, a place where one can escape the worries of this world for a while. Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations. This small chapel exemplifies the very qualities of hope for the hopeless, and help for the helpless, the very qualities that Saint Jude so embodies.

In March and May of 1987, two masses were held which attracted New Orleans music legends such as Aaron Neville and Allen Toussaint. The ensuing recording from these masses was released as the album ‘Midnight at St. Judes.’ At the time, proceeds from this album and all artists’ royalties were donated to St. Jude’s Community Center in New Orleans.

Now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, amidst so much devastation, hopelessness and feelings of helplessness, the track “St. Jude’s Hymn” as sung by that gentle and kind giant of New Orleans, Aaron Neville, resonates in a way that it never has before. If one ever watches
Aaron Neville deliver a live performance, one will notice a large, gold medallion hanging from his left ear. On that medallion is the image St. Jude, an image Aaron carries with him to remind him of the power of faith.

This hymn was composed by a housewife, who is credited only by her more formal married name, Mrs. Herb Quaid. One only need listen to this song for a minute or two to recognize that she creatively used a variation of John Lennon & Paul McCartney’s “Hey Jude” as the cornerstone for her lovely hymn.

One need not be religious to recognize the promise of hope, of help and the promise of a better day when hearing this song sung so beautifully by Aaron Neville. It is with the spirit of hope and the belief that no situation is ever a lost cause that I hope you will listen to this hymn. As we watch on the news what will, no doubt, be nightmarish images of loss in the coming days, let us all try to keep alive the spirit of hope and the promise of better days. Hear this song and keep alive the faith that New Orleans will rise up to see another era of glory, and will again be the Multi-Cultural Jewel; the most European-like city that exists in the United States. Listen to this song and believe that many will persevere against impossible circumstances. Sing this hymn with the heartfelt belief that there will be hope for the hopeless, and help for the helpless.

May our Maker keep us all safe in the days ahead, in particular those souls, both living and departed, who have suffered from Hurricane Katrina.
~ William Innes, September 5, 2005

Get Your Greencards

Greencards

In my recent explorations through the latest and the greatest bluegrass, it was only a matter of time until I found the Greencards. They’re a trio from Nashville. Well, they call Nashville home now. Before Nashville, they made their mark over the last few years in Austin, Texas. But originally, Kym Warner is from Adelaide, Australia; Carol Young is from Coffs Harbour, Australia; and Eamon McLoughlin is from South London, England. The music they play is billed as “high-energy acoustic music with deep roots in bluegrass.” Though they all grew up outside the U.S., they spent their time absorbing inherently American music. Before they knew it, they were on tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson!

While I wait for my new month of 40 eMusic downloads to pick up their latest album (for $9.99 – quite a deal! – click the eMusic thingie on my sidebar to find out more), I zipped on over to Archive.org, and found their performance from this year’s Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It’s a great sunny day accompaniment, music rich with great harmonies, amazing playing, and just a nice overall vibe.

For those of you who have not seen Archive.org before, check out the Greencards performance on this page. You can listen to the whole show streaming, and it has flac and mp3 downloads of the whole show.

Here are a couple I selected from the show. The first one demonstrates their “high energy”-ness. By the end, bass player Carol is yelling for oxygen (Telluride sits at 8,745 feet, folks). The second tune shows their affinity for slowing it down, and showcases Carol’s great vocals.

The Greencards, live at the Telluride Bluegrass Festival – June 16, 2006:

Washington County (mp3)

The Ghost of Who We Were (mp3)

Rocking the Seine with Calexico

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Some fine Frenchman recorded Calexico at the Rock en Seine music festival in St. Cloude, France yesterday afternoon. Originally from Tucson, these boys bleed the sound of the southwest through their music… South-spaghetti-western, Mariachi mavens of the indie music world.

They kicked off the festival with this short but suh-weet set.

Calexico
Rock en Seine
Domaine National De St-Cloud, France
August 25th, 2006

1. Frontera/Trigger
2. Lost In Space
3. Roka
4. Deep Down
5. Minas De Cobre
6. Not Even Stevie Nicks
7. Alone Again Or
8. Letter To Bowie Knife
9. Crystal Frontier

calexico

Grab Bag of New Stuff

The Primms

Here’s a little cleaning out the ol’ closet project I’ve been meaning to get around to. We music / mp3 bloggers receive a lot of correspondence from bands, labels, promoters, etc. I try to
give everything a fair listen, but honestly, there aren’t enough hours in the day. That damn day job gets in the way, my friends.

So here’s a few that have caught my attention over the last few months… take some time and give them a listen.

Hard Fi Remixes

I’m really glad I was turned on to Hard-Fi. They have that Brit-punk sensibility that I enjoy so much. Definitely check out their CD Stars of the CCTV. One thing the Brits love is their house music remixes. You know, bump bump bump bump… I flip on Radio One on Sirius every once in a while and the odds are good I’ll hear me some house beats. Is it still called house? Well, listen to these remixes of “Hard to Beat”, and correct me if there’s a better term.

Hard Fi “Hard to Beat” Remixes: Ashley Beadle (Real | WMP) ; Axwell Mix (Real | WMP) ; Minotaur Shock (Real | WMP); Hard to Beat Mix (Real | WMP)

Tobias Fröberg

How’s this for an intro. Tobias is “the sweetest carameliest 1974 summerlovin spoonful of Scandi candy that’ll sticky your lips all year.” Worth a listen for sure!

When the Night Turns Cold (mp3)
Love and Misery (mp3)

Official Site | MySpace

For Those Who Know

FTWK is a psychedelic band from Austin, Texas, who released a self-titled EP that came out last year, and caught a lot of attention in Texas. Comparisons have been made to the Jesus and Mary Chain, New Order, Sonic Youth, and My Bloody Valentine. You can download the entire album for free at http://www.for-those-who-know.com and at http://www.myspace.com/forthosewhoknow.

The Majestic Twelve

From Wilmington, North Carolina, the Majestic Twelve are giving away their CD, ‘Schizophrenology’, on their web site. You can also hear them on http://www.myspace.com/themajestictwelve. Worth checking out, if only for “Condoleezza, Check My Posse.”

The Primms

Andy of the Primms sent a nice email recently. They’re a UK band recently transplanted to NYC (that’s them pictured above). They have a residency at Pianos coming up in September, “deafening the good people of the Lower East Side every Thursday at 10pm.” I really like what I’m hearing from these guys.

Official Site: http://www.sonicbids.com/theprimms
MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/primms

Hem

Ready for some laid back folksy sounds with real nice vocals courtesy of Sally Ellyson? Check out Brooklyn’s Hem.

He Came to Meet Me (Real | WMP)
Not California (Real | WMP)

Official Site: http://www.hemmusic.com
Myspace: http://www.myspace.com/hem

Pinto

My man Andreas from Sweden wants you to hear his band, Pinto. The man likes Tom Petty, and you’ll hear it in Pinto’s music.

Never Leave (mp3)

MySpace URL: http://www.myspace.com/pintopintopinto
Offical Site: http://www.pinto.se/ (more free mp3 downloads)

Well, that’s it for now. I’ll try to put more of these together more often, just to support the musicians out there. They’re doing their best to live that dream, so check them out….

Pete Droge, Part 2

Skywatching

I like it when this happens. You know when you hear a great song for the first time, a tune that just connects with you? Where you have the innate ability to know that you’ll be listening to the song 5-10-15 years down the road? And for me, in this digital world, the kind of song that goes straight to the CD burner so you can carry it around with you, listen in the car, etc?

I found that song of the moment yesterday. “Things Will Change and Go My Way”. Pete Droge. Song 6 on 2003’s Skywatching. Great tune, and a great album, and I can tell you this after owning the album for just over 24 hours.

I’ll be reviewing Pete’s new album, Under the Waves, very soon. For now, travel back 3 years in time and put your ears to this gem.

Pete Droge: Things Will Change and Go My Way (mp3) – buy Skywatching on eMusic, the United Musicians store, or from his web site.

Check out Pete Droge

droge

Thanks in part to a friendship with Mike McReady of Pearl Jam, Pete Droge secured a contract with American Records in the early 90’s, and released a fantastic album called ‘Necktie Second’ in 1994. The single that really caught my attention back then was “Sunspot Stopwatch”. With clever lyrics, and obviously influenced by Bob Dylan and Tom Petty, the tune sucked me in to Mr. Droge’s world, and led me to the debut album, which is great from start to finish.

The song that made the biggest impact, “If You Don’t Love Me (I’ll Kill Myself)”, was featured on the soundtrack to Dumb and Dumber (YouTube clip). It’s pretty much the most electric and uptempo song of the album. But it’s the more relaxed, acoustically oriented tracks that are my favorites: “Faith in You”, “Fourth of July”, “Hardest Thing to Do”. The album is produced by Pearl Jam buddy and producer extraordinaire Brendan O’Brien, who also produced Springsteen’s ‘The Rising’ (always a Boss connection!), and Soundgarden and Neil Young and Stone Temple Pilots and on and on.

Droge just released his fifth album, Under the Waves, last Tuesday. You can hear the album streaming on his web site or his Myspace page. I just picked up his fourth album, Skywatching, on eMusic, and am listening to it right now, and digging it immensely.

So take a listen to this great tune from Droge’s debut, and show the fella some love by checking out his links below.

Pete Droge: Sunspot Stopwatch (mp3) – from Necktie Second.

Pete Droge Links
: His Very Well Done Official Site | and everyone has to have their MySpace (except me! I will not succumb!)

Shriekback live at the Paradiso

shriekback

It’s an 80’s triple assault! First Journey, then Prince’s ’88 aftershow, and now the circle is complete with a 1984 Amsterdam set by Shriekback. I posted a year ago about my fondness for their 1986 record ‘Big Night Music‘. This show comes a couple years before that release.

Made up primarily of Barry Andrews, Dave Allen, and Carl Marsh, this British group formed in 1982. Andrews was originaly in XTC, and Allen came from Gang of Four. Put together Allen’s strong presence on the bass, Andrews’ synthesizer and whispered vocals, Marsh’s rhythm guitar and more melodic vocals, and a mix of cool drum programming and live percussion, and you have a funky, ethereal, and very unique sound.

Shriekback got together again in 2004 after a long hiatus and recorded their 2005 release, ‘Cormorant’. You can hear a couple tracks from every one of their albums on their web site. When this Amsterdam show took place in October of 1984, they had an EP and an album under their belt (‘Tench’ and ‘Jam Science’).

This is a short set, and I’m not sure if there was more to their set this evening or not, but it’s a neat glimpse into Shriekback’s world, circa 1984.

Shriekback
Live at the Paradiso, Amsterdam
August 10, 1984

DOWNLOAD

1. Flayling
2. Hand On My Heart
3. Feelers
4. Mothloop II
5. White Out
6. Suck
7. My Spine (Is The Bassline)

Lineup:
Barry Andrews: keyboards, vocals
David Allen: bass, backing vocals
Carl Marsh: guitar, vocals
Martyn Barker: drums
Pedro Ortiz: percussion