Album Details

October 21, 1997
Charly Records
Rhythm & Blues, Soul-Blues, Early R&B, Soul, Funk, Rock & Roll, New Orleans Blues, Pop-Soul, Regional Blues, New Orleans R&B

Album Review

Whatever you call it -- the Big Easy, Crescent City, N.O., or just by its regular name -- there's no doubt that the contribution of New Orleans to American music is almost as big as Memphis or Clarksdale. So big, in fact, that it takes two CDs to offer a selection of hits to come out of the city from 1950-1970. The unique rhythm runs throughout the music, from the early rock & roll of Fats Domino (whose tracks, it should be noted, aren't well-known studio recordings, but live takes, albeit good ones) on "The Fat Man" and "Walking to New Orleans" and Jessie Hill ("Ooh Poo Pah Doo Parts 1 & 2"), all the way through to the Meters and "Chicken Strut." The simple truth is that New Orleans has more funk than any other place in America. It's there in Ernie K-Doe's "Mother in Law"; almost anything by Lee Dorsey, be it "Ya-Ya," "Holy Cow," or the classic "Working in a Coalmine"; Betty Harris (who, sadly, only has a single track here); and Aaron Neville's glorious "Tell It Like It Is," one of those transcendent vocal performances (although his more up-tempo, but lesser-known "Over You" is equally interesting). But New Orleans also offers the more obviously pop stylings of the Dixie Cups, with "Chapel of Love," "Little Bell," and others; Chris Kenner, whose "Land of 1000 Dances" remains an oldies staple; Benny Spellman; and Bobby Marchan, whose utterly scary "There Is Something on Your Mind" sounds like therapy to a rock & roll beat -- pure '50s surrealism. Robert Parker's "Barefootin'" gets a look in the hits section, as does Little Richard -- who was actually from Georgia, although his career really began in the Big Easy in 1955. Of course, there are omissions; how can you look at New Orleans and not include Professor Longhair, the city's most influential pianist, for instance? He had regional hits, as did Mac Rebbenack, better known as Dr. John. And there's perhaps too much reliance on tracks by the Meters to fill out the second CD, although it's perhaps difficult to be too harsh on anything from the funkiest band America's ever produced. The excellent liner notes are full of facts salient and obscure (did you know Benny Spellman provided the bass voice on "Mother-In Law"?) and a brief history of one of the most vibrant musical cities in the United States.
Chris Nickson, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. The Fat Man [Live]
  2. I'm Gonna Be a Wheel Someday [Live]
  3. Blueberry Hill [Live]
  4. Walking to New Orleans [Live]
  5. Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Pts. 1 & 2
  6. There Is Something on Your Mind
  7. Whip It on Me
  8. Over You
  9. Mother-In-Law
  10. Wanted $10,000 Reward
  11. Te-Ta-Te-Ta-Ta
  12. I Like It Like That, Pts. 1 & 2
  13. I Cried My Last Tear
  14. A Certain Girl
  15. It Will Stand
  16. Country Fool
  17. Ya Ya
  18. Do-Re-Mi
  19. Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)
  20. Fortune Teller
  21. Popeye Joe
  22. Come on Home
  23. People Say
  24. Land of 1000 Dances
  25. Something You Got
  26. Chapel of Love
  27. You Should Have Seen the Way He Looked at Me
  28. Little Bell
  29. Iko Iko
  30. Ride Your Pony
  31. I Don't Know What You've Got (But It's Got Me) (Pts. 1 & 2)
  32. Get Out of My Life Woman
  33. Barefootin'
  34. Working in the Coal Mine
  35. Confusion
  36. Tell It Like It Is
  37. She Took Me for a Ride
  38. Holy Cow
  39. Nearer to You
  40. Go-Go Girl
  41. Release Me
  42. Sophisticated Cissy
  43. Cissy Strut
  44. Reconsider Me
  45. Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On)
  46. Ease Back
  47. Hook and Sling, Pt. 2
  48. I Can't Be All Bad
  49. Dry Spell
  50. Look-Ka Py Py
  51. Chicken Strut
  52. Handclapping Song
  53. I Won't Cry
  54. A Message from the Meters