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Dr John
Title: Peace Brother Peace
Author: Mac Rebennack
Album: In the Right Place

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Peace And Funk - More Seasonal Lagniappe

Peace Brother Peace (Mac Rebennack)
Dr. John, from In the Right Place, ATCO, 1973

Just a couple of more tunz in the spirit of the season, more or less.

I've posted this photo before, snapped by yours truly while strolling through the French Quarter a few Christmas seasons past. Seeing it again reminded me of this Dr. John song, which was the theme song of my radio show on WEVL Memphis for 16 years. Having come of age in the 1960s, I actually spent over a month in and around (and high above!) Haight-Asbury in San Francisco during the Summer of Love, 1967, before going off to my freshman year of college in Columbia, Missouri, draft-deferred, taking time out to get bussed over to Washington, DC by Students For a Democratic Society sympathizers for the huge anti-war rally that October. Before I knew it, I had marched through the streets of the capitol and crashed onto the green lawns of the Pentagon itself along with thousands of others, serenaded by the Fugs playing on a flatbed truck in the parking lot, only to barely escape arrest later that night by climbing through a hole in the back fence. But, maybe that's a story for another blog. What I am getting around to is that Mac Rebennack's hippy-dippy "peace and love is something everybody needs" lyrics and general thrust that great music has healing power and can change the world, pretty much sums up at least part of my mindset and modus operandi for doing a radio show and, later, a blog on New Orleans music. The music changed my life, several times so far; and I'm hoping for similar results in at least a few of you - in a less overtly obsessed, negative cash flow kinda way. Know what I'm sayin'?

"Sandy Claw Stole My Woman" (Bobby Parker)
Bobby Parker, from Blues, Mistletoe, & Santa's Little Helper, Black Top, 1995

Oh, man. I just ran across this tune by accident. My wife asked me to put on some Christmas music while we trimmed the tree; and I went and dug up this CD that the now defunct New Orleans label, Black Top, put out in the mid-1990s. I was actually thinking of it for an Earl King blues song, "Santa, Don't Let Me Down", I remembered being on it. So, I put it on and about halfway in, well past Earl's fairly straight ahead number, I suddenly noticed things getting funky in the backfield as I'm trying to get the electric star stuck up on the tree top. Who dat? So, I pull out the notes to see that it's Bobby Parker, backed up by Lee Allen Zeno on bass, and Raymond Webber on drums. And, lo, did it thus appear abiding on the lagniappe list.

I have the two Bobby Parker CDs that Black Top put out in 1993 and 1995, Bent Out Of Shape and Shine Me Up (this cut is not on those - just on the Xmas sampler of numerous of the label's roster); but I had not listened to them for years. So, I reviewed them. Parker has a great, gritty, soulful voice, is a prolific writer and hot guitar player to boot. A lot of his stuff is the blues; but he can throw down on some soul, and funk, especially with Webber and Zeno in the house. Webber, a New Orleans powerhouse, later played behind Henry Butler, was one of Jon Cleary's Absolute Monster Gentlemen, became a member of New Orleans Social Club, and now lays it down with Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk. Zeno, an all around versatile player from my current abode, the Lafayette, Louisiana area, has made many session dates and played on the road for years backing Buckwheat Zydeco. I see him regularly around here playing with bluesman Paul "Lil' Buck" Sinegal, too. During all this quick research, I recalled that Funky 16 Corners had featured Parker's famous, influential 1961 single "Watch Your Step". So you can read more about it and him there. Come to find out, Bobby Parker was born right here in Lafayette, grew up in East Los Angeles, and eventually settled in Washington, DC. I hope to feature something else by him later. For now, let this just be a funny, funky stocking stuffer.

Peace and love, y'all,

December 23, 2007- click date for entire article, updates and possible comments

These Amazon links are adventureous, interesting
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Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo, Ned Sublette
The World That Made New Orleans: From Spanish Silver to Congo Square, Ned Sublette
The Year Before the Flood: A Story of New Orleans, Ned Sublette

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