Monday, February 27, 2006

throw my baby out the window!

today is called 'lundi gras' in the big easy. the day before mardi gras.
they said it couldn't happen ... shouldn't happen. but how the hell ya gonna stop it?
as fat tuesday approaches we wonder how many families in hot 'lanta, houston, and points beyond are doin' some kinda funky second line? and it's not like it is so bad in the easy that someone would head to st. louis for carnival. it sure seems like everywhere (even in vermont!) people are doin' their own mardi gras thing. we sure have been doin' our share here. packin' and jivin' all the way home.

i have very fond memories of mardi gras. working mardi gras balls and trying to stay awake from friday til tuesday, dressing up as harpo marx for a couple carniavls, riding around town looking for the marching indian tribes, sleeping on the st. charles neutral grounds to have a great spot for the parades of zulu and rex, and marching with 'pete fountain's half-fast walking club' a few years (i was 17 the first time, second lining with my snare drum at 7 am and trying to keep up while being plied with liquor; these guys stop for a drink at every bar along the route, and everyone carries a flask filled with their favorite poison).

with every year it is something, if not everything. too hot, too cold, just plain wet and those wonderfully beautiful spring days that only happen in new orleans not often enough. but this year a little rain wasn't gonna be enough to stop the party, nor would a few skeptics.
of course, it is not all that well all over the easy. parts of town are still completely destroyed and will probably never be the same. it seems my good friend at 'tim's nameless blog' is experiencing a new problem everyday as his family tries to get their shit back together. that is happening to a lot of people up and down the gulf coast.
that is why it was so important to pull this off. as of right now things are flowing like wine. no major problems and everybody's having fun. at least until wednesday when it is time to get back to rebuiling the city and the coast.

cnn is covering fat tuesday live and it appears that the celebration is recieving a lot more press, but there is always gonna be someone who whines about it being to early to party. even to the point of suing to stop 'the krewe of zulu' from parading. yeah, right ... can't stop the indian tribes from hitting the streets early tuesday morning either, after making new suits since all were trashed. it's like all the members of the the krewes from the hardest hit areas feel a need to carry on for those that can't. and so the party goes on ...

'carnival time'
by al johnson

The Green room is smoking, and the Plaza's burning down.
Throw my baby out the window, let the joint burn down ...

All because it's Carnival Time, oooooohhh, it's Carnival Time....!
Oh Well it's Carnival Time and, everybody's having Fun!

The allspeed is rocking from one side to the other.
The joints are jamin, packing, and I'm bout to smother ...

All because it's Carnival Time, oooooohhh, it's Carnival Time....!
Oh Well it's Carnival Time and, everybody's having Fun.

Right Now, it's Carnival Time, oooooohhh, Carnival Time....!
Oh Well it's Carnival Time and, everybody's having Fun.

_Sax instrumental -

Well if you put a nickel, well now, I put a dime now.
we can get together now and drink us some wine!

All because it's Carnival Time, oooooohhh, Carnival Time..!
Oh Well it's Carnival Time and, everybody's drinking wine!

- Sax instrumental -

fade out ............

yeah buddy, let the joint burn down! well this a natural thing for us yats, laughing and giggling about things most normals cringe at. like parading when the place is still reeling like a wounded drunk. sure things suck, but it could always be worse. from the looks of it quite a few revelers agree. the streets appear crowded, more so than i thought they would be ... and how we wish we were there doin' that thing the locals do. boppin' to the beat on the street, hangin' and yakkin' with friends whilst waitin' for the parade, watching the flambeaux as they light the way at night. the sights, sounds and smells of the experience are overwhelming and intoxicating. and mardi gras music fills the air where ever you go. it blares from open windows, passing cars, boomboxes, and marching bands. someone will belt out a chorus from 'carnival time' and have a street corner full of strangers join in, not missing a note. priceless!

and here are a few tunes, in mp3, that we know are being played somewhere in the easy right now at a very loud volume, and we suggest you do the same ... good until lent, via yousendt:

al johnson - carnival time
the hawkettes - mardi gras mambo
fats domino - mardi gras in new orleans
professor longhair - big chief pt 1
professor longhair - big chief pt 2
paul simon - take me to the mardi gras
the wild magnolias - new suit
stop, inc - second line
the meters - hey pocky way
the balfa freres - danse de mardi gras
dr. john - mardi gras day
dave bartholomew - good jax beer
satchmo and the dukes - bourbon street parade
the dukes of dixieland - if i ever cease to love

oh yeah, a thanks to johnno at 'the open mind' for his nod to the w'room. we stumbled onto his blog about a year ago, found these really silly pictures and just had to leave a silly comment. since then it has become one of our fave reads, and we're glad to know he likes to hangout in here now and then. he is an excellent photog, posting wonderful pics from australia of his travels around the country and the coolest birds that inhabit his yard ... and he is very smart and witty too. so johnno, if you ever wake up and find yourself in new orleans, look us up. we'd love to have ya over.

Monday, February 20, 2006

looped, stooped and full of juice

it's mardi gras time down in new orleans. revelry and debachary rule the streets. throngs of people, masked and not, shout at masked float riders to throw them something, anything. we're sure most people are hoping for a trailer or some kind of assurance that things will get back to normal. but then again what is normal in the easy was never for the rest of the civilized world. all we really want is a few beads ... and a roof over our heads to put them in. guess that is asking too much for what the city (or 'that part of the world') has done for america. and yet the city still lives and thrives and slowly tries to recover, despite all the non-efforts of w. and company to help and their efforts to just wish it away. fuck you very much george, we'll party on! it's something you'll never understand.
is it 2008 yet?

the real bourbon street party cam

and yet another rebuilding plan?

listen to wwoz-fm stream for the best of new orleans mardi gras music (wma stream)

... and here is a radio show from 'billy delle's records from the crypt' in feburary 1998 on wwoz-fm out of new orleans featuring tommy ridgley and eddie bo having a lively conversation about big easy music and mardi gras. the reverend mr. pain tells us this was originally a 3 hour show but was whittled down to the hour presented here, ripped and fixed up in glorious mp3 and available for download via yousendit on a limited time basis:

01. Intro

02. Eddie Bo and Tommy Ridgley > "I'm Wise" (Eddie Bo, 1955) >

03. Belt Buckle Polishing Music/Junker Blues > "Dr. Proffessor Longhair" (Prof. Longhair) >

04. No Souls on His Shoes > "Great Big Eyes" (Archibald, 1952) >

05. Mardi Gras National Anthem > "It's Carnival Time" (Al Johnson and Eddie Bo, 1960) >
Long, Dirty, Union Drawers and a Comode with Yellow Mustard >

06. "Don't Go Potty" (Olympia Brass Band) (includes station ID) > Mardi Gras >

07. And Then There's Zulu > "It's All Over Now" (Dirty Dozen Brass Band w/ Dr. John) >

08. Mardi Gras Indians ( "...there gon be some stuff goin' on.") >
"Two Way Pocky Way" (Big Chief Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles) >

09. I Never Was A Masker > Big Chief (Earl King) >

10. Tommy Ridgley > "Street Parade (Earl King) >

11. New Orleans' Drummers > That's Why They Call Him Hungry >
"Tim Tam" (Allen Toussaint feat. Hungry Williams on drums) >

12. Smokey Johnson > "It Ain't My Fault" (Smokey Johnson) >

13. ...Something About That New Orleans' Beat (It's In The Music) >
"Oogsey Moo" (Allen Toussaint and Jesse Hill >

14. Hungarian Trio > "Hey Now Baby" (Prof. Longhair) > Outro >

15. Outro > Credits ("Jam Up" by Tommy Ridgley plays throughout track)

happy mardi gras ya'll!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

hello, i have to go!

here's another viddy ... about being on the road and wishing you weren't. funny how things go the way you want sometimes!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

return to pepperland

s.a. has been on a paul mccartney kick lately. she brought all of her work cd's to new orleans (including her beloved macca stuff) so i have been rippin' and burnin' paul songs to keep her happy while she 'makes the doughnuts'.
in the course of digging thru the stack of macca cd's i came across a bunch of the hard to find and bootlegged discs, like 'the fireman', 'return to pepperland', 'liverpool sound collage' and 'the paul mccartney and elvis costello sessions' ... so here we go!

'return to pepperland' is a collection of tunes paul did during 1984-87. he was working with various producers (phil ramone, hugh padgham and david foster), and trying to find his way to a new musical direction. the songs vary from great beatlesque pop to silly disco dittys but as a whole it is a very satisfying assortment. the highlights include the title tune, which is a whimsical reminder of the summer of love 20 years on, the very mccartney sounding 'yvonne', a rousing tune called 'i love this house', a few outstanding instrumentals recalling the man early in his solo years and the grand 'the lovliest thing'. it's a shame that most of these cuts never were released to the world proper as it is a much better record than the last couple of wings albums of the late 70's. he may yet come around tho.

during the summer of 1987 paul and elvis costello got together to write and record an album of new songs. the collaborated record never happened but almost all the tunes ended up on a few of their solo albums, notably paul's 'flowers in the dirt' and elvis' 'spike'. the teaming also garnered a hit song for elvis, the wonderful 'veronica', written for his late grandmother (the video is still a big fave in the wreckroom). as mentioned above paul was searching to expand his musical horizon's and the demos from the sessions show a tightness that had never been in paul's music since the breakup of the beatles. the songwriting is concise and witty with harmonies that bring up the neck hairs. it is one of the strangest and most likey duos that never were. they just sound so natural together and one listen will convince anyone it was a missed opportunity for the world.

'the fireman' was a project of paul's (with help from 'youth') that spawned two albums of techno/trance music that is nothing like his beatle days or solo stuff. 'strawberries oceans ships forest' (released in '93) is a droning dancefloor affair. using tracks from 'wings' albums as a source the nine songs have a sameness that may work on ecstasy-laden ravers but make for a tedious listen as a whole. the second record, 1998's 'rushes' has a much lighter and ambient feel. it's dream-like momentum carries the listener along with lush production and flowing arrangements. it is actually the best of paul's experimental works and well worth a listen.

which brings us to 'liverpool sound collage'. released in 2000 the record is more like 'revolution 9' than anything macca has ever done. it's truly a collage in that paul uses loops from a 'rubber soul' vocal session (one where they were stoned and kept screwing up the george harrison song, 'think for yourself'), soundcheck snippets, pieces from his 'liverpool oratorio', 'man-on-the-street' tapes done in liverpool then all chopped and remixed by 'youth' and members of 'super furry animals'. a very strange, but enjoyable piece of experimentation and completely un-wings like. which some would say is a good thing. it rode in my cd walkman for a few months durning those bleak months in 2001 before i was whisked away from the lonely shores of jersey to the snow capped vista of the sierras. it was fun to listen to again after all these years.

... and as if that wasn't enuff macca shit. paul spent an afternoon last december in studio 2 of abbey road entertaining a select crowd of about 60 people playing with various instruments vital to the beatles and showing how a lot of songs were recorded. the situation was filmed for posterity and will be shown as chaos and creation live at abbey road on pbs feb 27th. (check yer local listings, it sez). the whole thing was up on the bbc site as an audio stream last month (thanks again a.g.). so, i ripped it, cleaned it up and i throw it out for all those willing to grab it (it's a 56 minute mp3 file, but worth every bit) see below...

a few dittys from those thingys mentioned above, in mp3 and delivered free of charge by way of yousendit, for a limited time only, enjoy!:

from 'the mccartney/costello sessions':
the lovers that never were
twenty-five fingers
don't be careless love
my brave face
so like candy
playboy to a man
tommy's coming home
one after 909

from 'liverpool sound collage':
plastic beetle
free now

from 'the fireman' cd's:
watercolour guitars
palo verde
strawberries oceans ships forest

from 'return to pepperland':
return to pepperland
back on my feet
the lovliest thing

and here's paul at abbey road:
chaos and creation live at abbey road studio 2

Sunday, February 12, 2006

c'est levee (or life in the land of limbo)

well, we made it back to the high sierras ok. the trip to the big easy was fun, productive, frustrating and at times pretty scary ...

the flight out was one of the more hair-raising rides in a plane i have ever had (that 'jetway jim' experience was the most unnerving tho). taking off from reno-tahoe airport in a 60 mph windstorm is not something i ever want to do again anytime in the future. i had sworn not to fly again after the last jaunt to new orleans and grugingly agreed to make one more trip by air. after having flown away practically my life and the whole decade of the 90's i have grown an aversion to airplanes and airports, especially since the 9/11. it's just not very fun, the paranoia, the scrutiny, the cold indifference of everyone you have to deal with all add up to one miserable way to get around. fast and convienient maybe, but not the joy-filled adventure it was when i was a kid, or even 10 years ago. when we go back in the next few months it'll by wheels not wings. i'd rather my chances on the wide open hi-ways than in a plane. i like to be in some sort of control over the vehicle in which i traverse. no more flying, yeah!

so, anyways, we made it to a still battered, but very vibrant metry. it seems to be getting up and about, if just a little slowly. but not as slow as new orleans proper. parts of the city look just as they have right after katrina. it is heartbreaking to see. what the fuck happened to 'whatever it takes, as long as it takes'? guess we are not in the sights of the bush plan to build nations. it's only a few months before the next hurricane season. and nobody really cares, unless you're there. but then if you had a house in the worst parts, you ain't there at all. there are miles upon miles of debris and destruction. no rebuilding, no thought of it. it really feels like the city of the dead. the city that care forgot. what a cryin' fuckin' shame. it is heartbreaking to see.

during the time we were home there were three tonadoes that ripped thru the city, (just tossing debris and already broken houses around), and two major fires, one consuming the old coliseum theatre (which had been converted into a film and music studio and was being restored from the storm). yep, and the hits just keep on coming ...

despite all the bullshit that has gone down in town during the past few months some semblance of normalcy is finally returning to the city (if public intoxication, brief nudity and controlled chaos is your idea of normal). last night the first parade of of the 2006 mardi gras season rolled thru the french quarter. the krewe du vieux is not one of the super parades with huge floats and marching bands, but they are the most satirical and irreverent. mocking all things political and topical the krewe has always been a bit of a throwback to the original idea of mardi gras, with floats this year bearing titles like 'a fridge over troubled waters' and 'buy us back chirac'. some would think it not right to even have a mardi gras this year, what with the death and destruction of the last few months, but this is a city that doesn't take itself seriously and celebrates funerals by having a jazz parade and partying well into the night for the dearly departed. much better to have a sense of humor for such matters than sitting around feeling sorry about it. i only wish we were there already. soon enuff yes, but not soon enuff!

new orleans is 'limbo land'
'heck of a job' brownie sings like a canary
new orleans:the natural history (45 min film by walter williams)
mr. bill saves the wetlands (a short film)

... oh yeah, feb 1st was the w'rooms 1st birthday. my how time flies. we sure made a lot of friends over the course, and from all over the world. we thank everybody for support, tea and sympathy during the past year and we hope to keep on doing that thing we do, whatever it is, whatever it takes, for as long as it takes ... doo dah doo dah!

a few birthday tunes to whistle along with as we celebrate, available for a little while via yousendit:

stevie wonder - happy birthday
bugs bunny and pals - birthday
andrew bird - the birthday song
snot - happy birthday fuckhead
cracker - happy birthday to me
they might be giants - it's not my birthday
the sugarcubes - birthday
taproot - birthday
bright eyes - happy birthday to me
the beatles - birthday (alt mix)