Saturday, March 06, 2010

New Orleans 1991 - part 1

It's only a few more weeks until I make this year's pilgrimage to New Orleans and Cajun country (maybe my last - who knows?). Jazzfest isn't what it once was as so many of the greats have passed on, but the city is still alluring and I'm sure there will be some pleasant surprises. Here are some excerpts from my diary covering my second visit there, in 1991, which bring back great memories.
Friday, April 26. Jazzfest cancelled because of a huge thunderstorm but made up for it in the evening on the Creole Queen riverboat. Eddie Bo was fantastic, backed by Wayne Bennett and Red Tyler, and Irma Thomas was excellent too.Then to Muddy Waters to meet Dave (Thomas) and Scotty Mick for L'il Ed & the Imperials, Lonnie Brooks and a couple of songs from Koko Taylor, finished off with some blistering guitar from Kenny Neal.
Saturday, April 27. Got to Jazzfest about 12.30 and parked my car in the yard of a local who offered me some crack. Jean Knight was on first then Marva Wright, Harmonica Red, and Charmaine Neville. Went on the Creole Queen again where a very thin crowd watched Ernie K-Doe, Barbara George and Jessie Hill. Ernie was his usual cocky self on stage but I sat next to him later and he seemed subdued (pissed maybe) off stage. Barbara George gave it all she's got and I felt obliged to buy her new album - on tape. Jessie did a short but lively set. None of them in their heyday but all legends.
Sunday, April 28. Breakfast at the Clover Grill as usual. Stars at Jazzfest that day were Ohio Players, Rockin' Dopsie. Clarence Frogman Henry, John Mooney, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Troy Turner and Dr John. In the evening went to Irma's club with Dave and Mick. Irma was fantastic - especially her second set when she did a string of deep soul songs. Dave and Mick very pissed and I had too much but what a great evening.
Monday, April 29. Next morning Dave and Mick were suffering: Mick had stumbled away when I dropped him at their hotel, fell asleep in the gutter and was robbed of his money, cards etc. Went to the piano night at Tipitinas where the highlights were Jon Cleary, Eddie Bo, Art Neville, Willie Tee and Tommy Ridgeley.
Tuesday April 30. Weather still miserable but decided to do some touring. Drove along the Gulf coast to Mobile and Dauphin Island. A barman told me that the saying 'raising Cane' came from Joe Cane, a confederate who had seven wives and who invented Mardi Gras. When he died a custom grew up whereby seven widows would visit his grave on the Sunday before Mardi Gras to try to 'raise' him from the dead.
Wednesday, May 1. Back to New Orleans and to the Landmark and who should be there but John Howard - he couldn't keep away. After a meal at Mulates went to Jimmy's to see Carl Sonny Leyland and Buddy Guy and then to Muddy Waters for Marva Wright.
More soon....


At 3:59 pm , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thought you might be interested to know about the book Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans, to be published in April, 2012 -- more info at

At 3:59 pm , Anonymous Ben Sandmel said...

Thought you might be interested to know about the book Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans, to be published in April, 2012 -- more info at


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