Sunday, December 02, 2007

Yet another comeback for Ernie

He may be dead, but it seems there's no stopping Ernie K-Doe these days. Last year he stood for Mayor of New Orleans, thanks to his indomitable widow Antoinette (he didn't win, sadly). Now an obscure track called Here Come The Girls is being featured in this year's Christmas TV ad by Boots and is getting so much airplay that someone has to issue it a single surely. It's a classic piece of N'Awlins funk taken from a 1970 album on Janus, produced by Allen Toussaint with backing from the Meters.
I loved Ernie early classics such as A Certain Girl, I Cried My Last Tear, Te-ta-te-ta-ta and of course Mother in Law, and some of his work for Duke was almost as good. He was one of the main reasons I first went to Jazzfest back in 1989. He looked a mess, wandering around with his bow tie askew and his hair a mess. Once on stage though he was a man possessed with that great voice as good as ever. Indeed so excited was he that he had to be physically escorted from the stage because he wouldn't leave. I always made a point of seeing Ernie at Jazzfest because, whether drunk or sober, he was an entertainer. I last saw him in the street in the French Quarter in 2000, a year before he died. He was with Antoinette and I had my photo taken with him in front of the Ernie K-Doe minibus.
A year or so earlier I went to the Mother in Law Lounge on South Claiborne with John Howard. It was a bizarre experience, with Ernie sitting in a sort of throne looking somewhat the worse for wear while Antoinette bustled around. John and I were virtually the only customers, until Jon Cleary came in later, and John and I were treated to Ernie singing with his small band. I bought a 'Burn K-Doe Burn' T-shirt and Ernie's set was haphazard but unmissable, mostly devoted to the songs of Jerry Butler, in particular a lengthy version of I Stand Accused.
When I went to the Mother in Law Lounge earlier this year it had been transformed into one of the trendiest places in town, but it still featured Ernie wherever you looked, from his throne, to Ernie K-Doe cushions and mugs and a life-sized mannequin. I wrote about it in the blog on May 3 for anyone who's interested. Meanwhile. here's a link to YouTube for Here Come The Girls


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