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How Did You First Get Turned On To The Music Of New Orleans?

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  • How Did You First Get Turned On To The Music Of New Orleans?

    Just got to reminiscing about some of the wild and wonderful times I have had over the years enjoying the music of various Crescent City performers, and remembered where it all started for me, which was back almost 30 years ago, at a small, local ski resort outside of Salt Lake City where I saw the Neville Brothers (who I am almost sure I had never even heard of before) open up for Ziggy Marley.

    I was just 18 years old, and had seen my first Grateful Dead show the summer before, and had only seen a handful of other live concerts prior to that. At that point in my life, my favorite bands were The Police, Bob Marley, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Rolling Stones and Paul Simon, but the infectious, undeniable smooth funk groove that the Nevilles laid down that warm summer's evening spoke to me like nothing I had ever experienced in my life (MUCH more so than my first Dead show, for example) and I was hopelessly hooked from the first few notes.

    Over the next couple of years, I got turned on to some other New Orleans bands, namely The subdudes (who used to come thru Salt Lake frequently when they relocated for a time to Colorado) and then the Radiators, who would both become two of my favorite showbands of all time. Naturally of course I also saw the Neville Brothers every chance I got after that, including seeing them open for the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band, which are some of the very finest memories I have...

    Anyways, just wondering how my fellow Threadheads, who by definition all love the music of New Orleans, initially got initiated?

    Any good stories to share?
    Last edited by MormonMatthew; 03-07-2017, 10:15 AM.

  • #2
    The strippers at the clubs on Bourbon St. always wanted something to move to.

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    • #3
      I came to see Pitbull at Jazz Fest and fell in love with local music. So thank you, Pitbull.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by MormonMatthew View Post
        Just got to reminiscing about some of the wild and wonderful times I have had over the years enjoying the music of various Crescent City performers, and remembered where it all started for me, which was back almost 30 years ago, at a small, locals ski resort outside of Salt Lake City where I saw the Neville Brothers (who I am almost sure I had never heard of before) open up for Ziggy Marley.

        I was just 18 years old, and had seen my 1st Grateful Dead show the summer before, and had only seen a handful of live concerts before that. At that point in my life, my favorite bands were The Police, Bob Marley, Talking Heads, David Bowie, Rolling Stones and Paul Simon, but the infectious, undeniable smooth dance groove that the Nevilles laid down that evening spoke to me like nothing I had ever experienced before (MUCH more so than my 1st Dead show, for example) and I was hopelessly hooked from the first few notes.

        Over the next few years, I got turned on to other New Orleans bands, namely The subdudes (who used to come thru Salt Lake frequently when they relocated for a time to Colorado) and the the Radiators, who would both become two of my favorite showbands of all time. Naturally of course I also saw the Neville Brothers every chance I got, including seeing them open for the Grateful Dead and the Jerry Garcia Band, which are some of the finest memories I have...

        Anyways, just wondering how my fellow Threadheads, who by definition all love the music of New Orleans, initially got initiated?

        Any good stories to share?
        Pretty much identical story here, Mathew. Saw the Nevilles in college in the late 80s, in Burlington, VT for the first time iirc. Got to know them a bit more when they opened for the Dead and I heard the tape, and when I learned that they were the inspiration for the Dead's cover of "Iko, Iko." And then another friend turned me on the Radiators and I saw them in CT a few times.

        Read A Confederacy of Dunces in college and loved it, which also helped.

        Picked up Yellow Moon and wore it out. Also picked up Robbie Robertson's Storyville a couple years later, which continued the fascination (not necessarily New Orleans music, but still conjures the city). In between, a friend who was going to school in Fort Collins, CO turned me on to the subdudes, and when I moved to Denver the following year I saw them a half dozen times or so throughout the area.

        Friends who had been going to Fest since the late 80s had been urging me to go since, and I finally made it in '95.

        It would be several years, however, until the booking of Bon Jovi made sense of it all.
        Last edited by Lit; 03-07-2017, 09:08 AM.

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        • #5
          Listening to Little Feat while in high school got me wondering, who is this Allen Tousaint guy,but when I started going to see Paul Cebar and his band playing by me all the time I got a deeper education.

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          • #6
            Wow. I had this one-way 9V communication device that I'd fold papers to in the mornings, and peppered amongst the Bye Bye Miss American Pie and Bread songs was Dr. John's Right Place. That was probably the one, and an intro to the Meters too boot. My dad had been to New Orleans and had a bunch of Al Hirt and Pete Fountain records, but c'mon... But I did kind of go through a big retro period of Fats, the Spiders, Little Richard, probably heard Art Neville without realizing it later. As for the latter era, I don't know how it came about, but I chance on a few early Iguanas & Subdudes disc's while both may have still been in Colorado. They weren't touring out our way much at the time - and I brought mix-tapes, yes, mix-tapes, to parties. Where friends of mine who are now rabid fans would needle me - what the hell is that? "My girlfriend is a waitress"? c'mon, dude!

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            • #7
              My brother lived in New Orleans during the early 80's. We'd walk down to Tipitina's (he lived just a few blocks away), and hear the most amazing music, both from the WWOZ booth upstairs with the window open to the street, and also going to shows there. The Neville Brothers are the ones who got me totally hooked. They came to Atlanta often those days, so I got to keep the N.O. spirit alive when home.

              Then we discovered Fest and it was such a smorgasbord! We'd pull a little red wagon with a cooler of beer and my baby nephew and his tent, and go every day. Then we'd hit the night shows on board The President!

              For me the bands that hooked me were The Neville Brothers, Dr. John, The Radiators, The Wild Tchoupitoulas , Little Queenie and Buckwheat Zydeco.

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              • #8
                Yep, saw the Nevilles open for the Dead in 86. Then discovered the Rads, Subdudes, Dr. John, Iguanas, Buckwheat, Irma.....eventually I needed more and discovered Meters, Snooks, Morning 40, Rebirth, Nightcrawlers, Earl King, Dirty Dozen and on and on.

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                • #9
                  Hmmm, I did hear Al Hirt and the Dixieland jazz band growing up as theirs were two of the records mom and dad bought from the RCA record club. But in 1998, I was googling around and saw that two of my favorite musicians were playing something called the Jazzfest. I went to NOLA to see Bonnie Raitt and Keb Mo and while waiting to hear them, I saw Chris Thomas King, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, and a brass band. Also new friends took me to see Lenny McDaniel, Henry Butler and the Wild Magnolias. From that moment forward New Orleans music consumed me and it's been my goal every year since to get back as often as possible.

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                  • #10
                    Hmmm. My Mom had a bunch of 78s, in a folding box with four of five records. St Louis Blues might have been the title. Also, and these would remain the only music CD I remember them ever owning as a child, a Stephen Foster album. 1959, 60. And I played that stuff on the hi-fi. The "blues" record was more big band style but one guy made it for me, Louis Armstrong. That voice, the horn,even in the staid old big band days, Louis made it swing. The instrumentation, the band , everything made it different.

                    Then the Stephen Foster record. The south. Dixieland. Banjos. Yeah, I played the hell out of that until November of 1964.

                    Had an awareness of the music, but mostly as an adjunct to other music. One of Bill Graham's appetizers? Saw a big bunch of it, but it wasn't my thing because, well, I only had one musical thing until I went to my first high Sierra music festival. Mumbo Gumbo. The Sundogs. The Radiators. Flipped out I was. I discovered that the music being made in New Orleans was Louis, and Stephen Foster, all made for music's sake. One thing I loved about it was that every second a New Orleans musician spends on stage is like the last second they will ever spend. Burn it down, every song, every everything.
                    I like that. Jamband before someone poisoned the bottle.

                    Then I started collecting and taping other bands. And someone gave me a Leftover Salmon tape (cassette, Marxcell HD 90 of course), and after August 9th, 1995, it was ALL I could listen to. I loved it. Zydeco, Cajun, banjos, all played like nothing I'd ever heard. Hilarious story about spilling the bong, Blister in the Sun, just amazing. Pasta on the Mountain. The story of that particular tape is looking in my life story, but that split my head open.

                    Went to a couple of New Orleans by the Bay shows at Shoreline, but not quite the correct vibe.

                    Then, and I really think this a turning point, was seeing Galactic late night at MTN Aire 99 or so. The Houseman. They blew it apart.
                    I knew I had to get there someday and see this place. By then I had done some study, and I wanted to hit em up in the legendary places, Tips and at fest. Everything music blew up for me then. All these new bands, some from New Orleans, some having the same vibe, playing the same way. String Cheese especially.

                    When they were on the bill I had to go. The Saenger shows. Fest set was stellar. IAC. Galactic. Tips! Funky Butt! An amazing musical time. Like high Sierra, the music started out incredible and only got better from there. Every time I've ever been.
                    Can't wait to get back. I got a if you survive, well go on me promise for next year, so who knows?

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                    • #11
                      Listening to Fats Domino records in the fifties, then hits by K-Doe and others in the early 60's. First Louisiana artist I ever saw live was Jerry Lee Lewis in about 1963.

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                      • #12
                        Louis Armstrong was on TV a lot in the 1950s, & my parents had Dixieland records. Of course i heard Fats & Jerry Lee Lewis too, but had no idea they were from Louisiana. I've been a blues lover since I was a kid, starting with my late father's Odetta records. Then in the 60s, Dr. John & the Meters. In the early 70s, I was looking thru a blues bin at a NYC record store & saw Clifton Chenier's "Black Snake Blues"... I'm like,. "WTF, blues on accordian?" had to get it, fell in love with it. I had no idea there were other zydeco artists. Later in the 70s, browsing a blues bin in Ct. record store,. saw 1976 Jazzfest album. Totally fell in love with it. My first winter in Colorado ('77) I met some New Orleans people & asked about Jazzfest. They said it was in April. I called N.O. Chamber of Commerce & asked for JF brochure (no full page NY Times ads then!) When I saw that Clifton was playing (didn't even know he was still alive) that was it, had to go. Took a bus all the way from Aspen $300 in pocket,. another $300 check on the way. I stayed a month, trying to relocate. Then it rained 19 inches in a day. Flood was interesting, but when the sun came out, unbearably hot & nasty. Stuck out my thumb & headed North, vowing to return. I did, almost every year since 1978
                        Last edited by revjimk; 03-08-2017, 12:58 AM.

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                        • #13
                          Oh,yea, first Cajun music: 1968 Johnny Cash had a summer TV show (duet with Dylan on "Girl from North Country") Doug Kershaw played. Loved it & thought it was weird....

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                          • #14
                            I guess I owned a Dr. John and a Neville Brothers record as a teenager, but never really identified them as NO music. Then, in 1990-something (1993?) my girlfriend, Nancy, invited me to Jazzfest and we haven't missed a year since. In those first few years, the bands that drew me in were Rebirth, the Meters, Lil Queenie & Mixed Knots, Stavin Chain, Johnny Adams, Royal FIngerbowl, Mulebone, Galactic, All That, Geno Delafose, Beau Jocque, Boozoo Chavis, Marva Wright, John Mooney, Morning 40 Federation, Afroskull, Dash Rip Rock, Cowboy Mouth, Kenny Neal, Woodenhead, the Iguanas, Gatemouth, Subdudes, David & Roselyn, Marcia Ball, Snooks Eaglin, Ingrid Lucia and Flying Neutrinos. In 1998, the pain of missing one weekend became too much for us (and we had a little more money) and we started going both weekends. Looking back at my old CDs, you'll find a Peabody, Evangeline, Thousand$ Car, Rhudabega, and others who didn't make it to today. Nancy and I are now married, have 2 kids (Nate and Nola) and still see 2 shows a week. Very little has changed me as much as that first Jazzfest did. I am a better person for it!

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                            • #15
                              When Right Place Wrong Time made the radio in 1973. ....A record shop owner who turned me on the Meters soon after..... In about 77 or 78, I quit college for a while to make some money working on a seismograph crew out of Jackson. I went to N.O. for the first time with another crew member when we were working near Hattiesburg. We were driving around drinking (as people did then) on a rainy day. While stopped at a stop sign near Rampart and Esplanade, we were hailed by several gentlemen of leisure who noticed we had a bottle of rum. We joined them for drinks and an in depth discussion of New Orleans music and traditions. Their highest recommendation was Professor Longhair. Sadly we were strung out on speed and getting wrecked way too early and decided we couldn't stay. I don't think Fess was playing that day anyway. But one of my biggest musical regrets was not getting back to see him in time. ( I ultimately traded lugging 140 pounds of cables 14 hours a day through mocassin infested bayous for books - that didn't seem so bad any more) . But at least I started collecting his music and all things similar.
                              Last edited by Agwe; 03-07-2017, 02:42 PM.

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