1. I started off with the Staple Singers doing "New Orleans." I decided to start off with someone not from New Orleans, singing about their love of New Orleans. Seemed appropriate.
2. Then we've got Lonnie Johnson singing "Big Leg Woman" off of Prestige Profiles. Lonnie Johnson was born in New Orleans, and this is a wonderful country blues track.
3. Next we've got "Basin Street Blues." It's a classic about the main street in the Storyville district of New Orleans and there's so many versions it's hard to choose from. Personally I'm a big fan of the one by Ray Charles, so I featured it.
4. "New Orleans Bump" by Wynton Marsalis... this song is so inspiring. Sass, intensity, attitude, sneakiness, silliness, there's just so much to draw from. There's a reason folks use it for competitions and performances.
5. This is the first of a couple songs I played featuring Dr. John. He's a New Orleans staple and this song "My Indian Red" references the Mardi Gras Indians and their traditional chant.
6. Joe Krown Trio - "Tchoupitoulas St. Rag" I got to see Joe Krown perform when I was in New Orleans for my 30th birthday. The Saints had just won the game that placed them in the Super Bowl and New Orleans was insane. We took the trolley way out to a seedy bar where they dumped giant tubs of crawfish boil on plastic tables in the middle of the dance floor (which was consumed with a fury I have yet to encounter again). Then Joe Krown on his organ led the trio in an amazing night of music. It was memorable and perfectly New Orleans.
7. Slim Harpo wasn't from New Orleans, but Baton Rouge, Louisiana is just a stone's throw away. "Baby Scratch My Back" is a classic swamp blues song and one of my favorites.
8. "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" is another classic New Orleans song originally written by Jessie Hill, but covered by numerous musicians (I was tempted to play the version done by Trombone Shorty, who funny enough is Hill's grandson).
9. "There'll Be No Next Time" is one of my favorite Louis Prima songs to dj for blues. The New Orleans native is known for his over the top songs such as "Just a Gigolo/I Ain't Got Nobody" and "Jump Jive An' Wail." This song has just the right amount of ridiculous with it's back and forth with Sam Butera, Louis' sax player, also from New Orleans.
10. Alvin Robinson is the New Orleans artist I'm most excited about finding in my digging through music for djing this night. He recorded glorious southern rhythm and blues songs. "Down Home Girl" crawls into my soul and transports me to a late night house party.
11. Ain't no party like a brass party! I decided to close out the first hour before announcements with this cover of "Sexual Healing" by the Hot 8 Brass Band.
12. Jam song time! I went with Preservation Hall Jazz Band's "That Bucket's Got a Hole In It" off of their 50th Anniversary Collection. The first of many to feature the iconic Preservation Hall Jazz Band.
13. Back to the dance! I kicked things off with the perfect song to get the party started, Professor Longhair's "Go To The Mardi Gras." Just try not to jump up and shake it.
14. Keepin' the party rollin' with Dr. John's "Chickee La Pas." I love the rhythms and horns in this tune. So many layers and so much sass.
15. Next up a cover of New Orleans' own Fats Domino's "My Girl Josephine." Taj Mahal teams up with The New Orleans Social Club, featuring New Orleans artists George Porter, Jr., Henry Butler, and Ivan Neville.
16. Eden Brent is a great pianist who recorded "Right to Be Wrong" and the rest of her "Ain't Got No Troubles" at the New Orleans' Piety Street Studios, enlisting the help of George Porter, Jr and achieving a great New Orleans sound.
17. Fats Domino is another one of New Orleans icons who has lived there his whole life (didn't even leave during Hurricane Katrina). He's had many hits, but "Blueberry Hill" was his biggest.
18. There are lots of hymns featured in New Orleans music. You'll commonly hear them during second line and funeral processions. Preservation Hall Jazz Band does this soul-nourishing version of "His Eye is On the Sparrow."
19. First time I saw Meschiya Lake was before she'd achieved recognition in the dance community and we just happened upon her busking on the street in New Orleans. I was blown away her and the band, including the clarinetist and other vocalist, Aurora Nealand (who's incredible in her own right). Here's Meschiya's band doing "I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues."
20. I couldn't dj a New Orleans night without playing something by the great Sidney Bechet. Speaking of great clarinetists, he's one of the tops in my books. Here's the sultry "Black and Blue."
21. I also couldn't dj a New Orleans night without playing Louis Armstrong. Everyone loves Louis. And most folks are familiar with his version of "La Vie En Rose." It's timeless. There's an incredibly beautiful and bittersweet delight captured in this song.
22. Yep, it's another Preservation Hall Jazz Band song. Get used to it. The band has endless combinations of many different musicians since it's formation in 1961, making nearly every performance unique. The venue is a landmark, even the weathered turquoise door is iconic. Here's their version of "Le Petit Fleur" off of the 50th Anniversary Collection.
23. Here's another hymn, "Just Another Closer Walk With Thee." This version is performed by Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton, with Taj Mahal singing on this track. The album, "Play The Blues: Live From Jazz At Lincoln Center," is incredible. You should get the whole damn thing.
24. Alright, those of you who know me, know there's a special place in my heart for Sam Cooke. John Boutté is pretty much the next best thing. He's a New Orleans native who I first saw on the HBO series Tremé about New Orleans post-Katrina (which I highly recommend if you've never seen it). Drool. This is his original song, "At the Foot of Canal Street."
25. Sweet Emma. This woman had so much damn talent. She played piano and sang with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band. In 1967 she had a stroke that paralyzed her left side and she continued to play piano and record with_one_hand until she passed away at the age of 85. No words. This is one of my favorite Pres Hall tunes featuring Sweet Emma on piano and vocals, "A Good Man Is Hard To Find."
26. It seems appropriate to follow the last song with "If I Was Your Man." Henry Butler, an incredible New Orleans pianist, is joined by Corey Harris on guitar and vocals. I had the pleasure of seeing Henry Butler play the dirtiest, grittiest blues I've ever seen (at a reputable establishment) at the House of Blues during Lindy Gras my first visit to New Orleans. Then we stopped by Donna's, a hole-in-the-wall joint with late night home cookin', and he randomly stopped by to play some blues at the piano right next to our table. Heaven.
27. Irma Thomas. She's the "Soul Queen of New Orleans" for good reason. This is her doing "There Must Be a Better World Somewhere" and killing it.
28. Here's another Alvin Robinson, "Something You Got." This one you can really feel a Ray Charles influence. But the addition of the brass gives it a great New Orleans feel.
29. So Hugh Laurie obviously isn't from New Orleans, but he put out a great album that really captures the vibe. I actually like his version of "Tipitina" better than Dr. John's :P
30. I had no idea that Lily Allen's song "Knock 'Em Out" sampled Professor Longhair's "Big Chief" before researching music for djing this night. The original has such a great groove and is pretty damn cool.
31. Another Fats Domino cover, "A Whole Lotta Loving," this one featuring Lenny Kravitz on vocals, backed by Maceo Parker and New Orleans Trombone Shorty and the Rebirth Brass Band.
32. Harry Connick, Jr. is another native New Orleans musician to make a name for themselves in multiple genres. "(I Could Only) Whisper Your Name" took a step away from the jazz standards most folks know from him with a funkier sound. If you had any doubts about him, check out this clip of him turning the tables on an audience cringingly clapping on 1 (he adds an extra beat around 0:40 so the crowd will be clapping on 2). Brilliant.
33. "Every Night About This Time" is another great Fats Domino cover with Joss Stone on vocals, Buddy Guy on vocals and guitar, and New Orleans' The Dirty Dozen Brass Band on horns. It's a sultry combination.
34. John Boutté's voice just gets me every time. This is his version of "A Change Is Gonna Come," super simple and beautiful.
35. I've had this version of Nina Simone's "House of the Rising Sun" in my blues library since I first started dancing. It's just guitar and her piercing vocals (and occasional snaps, which I love). It's a gorgeous blues waltz and perfect for late night dancing.
36. The New Orleans Jazz Vipers are another band I'm happy to say I got to see play live on one of my visits there. Their music called us off the street and into the bar they were playing at because we absolutely had to dance to them (best version I've heard of Digga Digga Do to date). I played "Ghost of a Chance" and faded it out around 5:30.
37. I love the pairing of Cory Chisel's vocals with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band on "Some Cold Rainy Day." The song trudges on with a beautiful resilience.
38. Alvin Robinson... sigh... just soak it in. Can you blame me for playing another one? He does a killer version of "Fever" but I was trying to restrain myself from just playing this guy all night. This is him performing the gut-wrenching song "Let Me Down Easy."
39. Sticking with the old school rhythm and blues for another song with Fats Domino doing "I Hear You Knocking." The song was written by New Orleans' Earl King, who also wrote Professor Longhair's "Big Chief."
* The last hour of our Tuesday Blues dance is free to veer away from blues and the tendency is to play music that falls into the alt or fusion category, so my choices start to branch further from blues.
40. You may have heard Portland's Kevin Selfe cover "Hey Pocky-Away." It's a song by The Meters, a New Orleans band comprised of Art Neville, George Porter Jr, Zigaboo Modeliste, and Leo Nocentelli. It's a New Orleans standard.
41. This Preservation Hall Jazz Band song features Tom Waits and a whole lot of sass and latin rhythms. I'd expect nothing less from a song called "Tootie Ma is a Big Fine Thing."
42. A different take on the usual "St. James Infirmary." Dr. John is joined by Eddie Bo, another famous New Orleans pianist, to create a version of the song that combines latin and funk elements on top of the usual jazz components.
43. This song, "I Count The Tears," was a moments-before-clicking-play decision. I remember vetoing the song I had cued up 'cause I knew the floor needed something else and being not thrilled that I was about to play another Irma Thomas song after the following song, but there were reasons at the time that this was the song to play despite that. Whatever the reason, it's a great chill song that'll make you want to meander around the floor.
44. I love Trombone Shorty. His was the first concert I went to here in Portland and he's a wonderful entertainer. "On Your Way Down" has a healthy dose of chill funk and groove and features another New Orleans artist, Allen Toussaint, who wrote the original song and plays piano on the track.
45. So back to Irma Thomas, this time with "River is Waiting." I first heard this song when Jae Wilson djed it and I've loved it ever since. It's an uplifting, feel-good tune with wonderful rhythms and a rolling, driving beat.
46. This Harry Connick, Jr song, "One Fine Thing," is off his most recent album and I really like the vibe. It's sultry, chill enough for late night dancing, and still has lots of fun rhythms to play with.
47 In doing some research on the hip-hop/rap scene in New Orleans I came across Nesby Phips. He's got great flow, beautifully crafted lyrics, and he doesn't fall into the all too common trap of gratuitous violence and/or objectifying of women. It's refreshing. He's got a bunch of great tunes, but I went with "Inside Lookin Out."
48. Next up we've got Big Chief Monk Boudreaux doing "Monk's Mardi Gras." Boudreaux is the Big Chief of a Mardi Gras Indian Tribe who recorded a fair amount of music with The Wild Magnolias. This tune has a nice funky, jazzy feel.
49. I'm so excited about this collaboration. Mos Def, Lenny Kravitz, Preservation Hall Jazz Band. "Ain't My Fault" is about the oil spill in the Gulf. Sad that it takes a terrible event to create something this cool. That's just how art works sometimes.
50. Continuing on with another kick-ass collaboration, "A La Modeliste" is produced by Mark Ronson and features Erykah Badu, Mos Def, and New Orleans artists Trombone Shorty and Zigaboo Modeliste.
51. This track is also produced by Mark Ronson, though this one features New Orleans rapper Mystikal. Mystikal has a rap style unlike any other and I dig it. Prepare for a healthy dose of funky ridiculousness.
52. Alright, to close out the night I decided to bring the last couple songs back towards trad blues, starting with Dr. John and Mavis Staples doing a haunting version of "When The Saints Go Marching In."
53. Another track off the live album with Wynton Marsalis and Eric Clapton. "Joe Turner's Blues" is a perfect late night blues song with a touch of melancholy and a whole lotta soul and heart.
54. Only one way to close out a night of New Orleans music. Louis Armstrong's "Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans." This song gives me a lump in the throat. Every. Single. Time. I'm used to a different version by Louis, but I really like this one and the energy and incredible playing by the band.
This night was an incredible treat and I was so touched by all the folks who dressed up, danced their asses off, and thanked me for sharing this amazing New Orleans music that only touched the surface. It was absolutely my pleasure.