Lizzie Miles (1895-1963) was a blues singer from New Orleans. (Her music was recently featured during the closing credits of Blue Jasmine.) Less well-known are her two half-siblings, blues singer Edna Hicks (1895-1925), and jazz trumpeter and vocalist Herb Morand (1905-1952). [more inside]
Snooks Eaglin has died. One of New Orleans' most authentic and underrated guitar players won't be making his jazz fest gig this year. Next time you have some red beans & rice, take a moment to remember the guy who some called the human jukebox.
In the French Quarters of New Orleans you are very likely to come across various street entertainers. Grampa Elliott is one such performer.
Elliott Small has had a smattering of recordings over the years like the 1976 Malaco record discussed hereSince that time no record lables have produced any of his work that I can find. He spent his time performing on street corners in the Quarter until Katrina, some people feared the worse, but he turned up on Royal street in 2005 no worse for wear. Here is a story by Rick Bragg of the NYT [more inside]
Sounds of America is a new monthly streaming audio program, a collaboration between the National Museum of American History and Smithsonian Global Sound. Up now are 3 episodes: African-American music in New Orleans, Women in American Music, and Freedom Songs of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement.
After the Storm Sometime this weekend, you may be able to hear one of the best expressions of New Orleans’ role in music and culture available in any mass media. It's American Routes, a weekly show carried on many US public radio affiliates. Programmed and hosted by folklorist and UNO professor of folklore and culture Nick Spitzer, the show normally broadcasts from a studio in the heart of the French Quarter, but has found a temporary home on a Creole/Cajun French/English public radio station in Lafayette. Spitzer told the NYT that he began planning the music for this week’s show as he was fleeing the flooding city in his car, playing Fats Domino’s “Walking to New Orleans." This week’s show highlights New Orleans’ recovery from disasters past, emphasizing the city’s role as the greatest single wellspring of American music. The Crescent City, after all, has either birthed or nurtured everything from jazz, R & B, cajun and the related black-influenced zydeco, soul, blues, gospel, and rock and roll.) With an encyclopedic knowledge of American vernacular music, an utterly democratic spirit, and an unmistakeable respect and love for American musical forms and the people who create them, Spitzer has stepped forward several times this week to serve as a compassionate and optimistic spokesman for the irrepressible creative spirit of a suffering city and a culture in diaspora.
Longtime Mefi member chuq offers a tiny respite from the misery with his report on the survival of many of Louisiana's beloved musicians, including the good news that Fats Domino was rescued from his roof. More coverage here and here. (more)
"Picasso of keyboard funk" - Professor Longhair would be 84 today if he were still alive. His distinctive meld of boogie woogie, blues, funk and Latin makes for piano that is quintessentially New Orleans...Tipitinas, one of the more famous local music bars, took its name from his signature song. "Fess" was a seminal influence on such musical greats as James Booker, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, Art Neville, Doctor John and Marcia Ball, one of my current favorites. You can hear a few Fess samples from Crawfish Fiesta, arguably his best recording, issued just after he died in 1980. He was inducted in the R&R Hall of Fame as an early influencer in 1993. Happy birthday, Professor!