Saturday, May 04, 2013

US road trip: great day in N'Awlins

New Orleans always throws up great surprises and yesterday was no exception: a fantastic day music-wise.
But first to Thursday, when after a rainy day we went to the Rock 'n' Bowl again for zydeco night, with the gorgeous Rosie Ledet, who was excellent, Geno Delafose and Chubby Carrier. We bumped into fellow Woodies Nigel Bewley and Carole Lateman there.
Yesterday started wet again but the rain stopped so we went out to a muddy and incredibly cold Jazz Fest for what proved to be an excellent day. I took in as many of the acts on the ten stages as I could, beginning with the swamp blues of Lil Band of Gold member David Egan with his band 20 Years of Trouble. After brief looks at local funk man Corey Henry and the Cajun flavoured Amanda Shaw and the Cute Guys I went back to the Blues Tent for Walter Wolfman Washington, who was guesting with the Spiritland Band in a tribute to Coco Robichoux. Walter was as soulful as ever.
Next it was to the Gentilly Stage for the great Tex Mex swing/country sound of the Mavericks with lead singer Raul Malo in fine form. The band really swung but I slipped away after a while to catch some of Cajun band Beausoleil, with Michel Doucet on fiddle and Jo-El Sonnier guesting on accordion. From there it was on to Marcia Ball, who was excellent, after which I did a quick tour of the Fairgrounds taking in some of Ruby Wilson's tribute to Bessie Smith and another tribute, this time Irma Thomas singing the songs of Mahalia Jackson in the Gospel Tent. This was so crowded that I couldn't get in but I stood outside for a while and Irma was singing as well as ever. I took a quick look at a distance at Maroon 5 to see what all the fuss was about (the crowd there was huge) and next it was over to the Congo Square stage for half an hour of Jimmy Cliff, who excited the crowd and jumped around the stage and for me was the act of the day. Finally I took in a bit of Willie Nelson who looked well but whose singing was so-so.
We left a few minutes early because Lee had noticed in the paper that there was a great show in the French Quarter in the evening that was unmissable: Barbara Lynn playing with Lil Buck Senegal and the Buckaroos at One Eyed Jacks. This was yet another one of Dr Ike's promotions- the third we had been to in four days - and a brilliant one. Barbara and the band were wonderful and Soul Chicken man Bobby Allen also sang several numbers. Listening to Barbara singing Got A Good Thing Going, You'll Lose A Good Thing, Sugar Coated Love, Misty Blue and Until Then I'll Suffer, among others, was just about as good as it gets.
Nick Cobban.


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