Tuesday, April 3, 2012

220 New Orleans Piano. Hirsute academics strike again

Album: New Orleans Piano
Artist: Professor Longhair
Year: 1972
Genre: Jazz


  1. In the Night
  2. Tipitina
  3. Tipitina
  4. Ball the Wall
  5. Who's Been Fooling You
  6. Hey Now Baby
  7. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  8. She Walks Right In
  9. Hey Little Girl
  10. Willie Mae
  11. Walk Your Blues Away
  12. Professor Longhair Blues
  13. Boogie Woogie
  14. Longhair's Blues-Rhumba
  15. Mardi Gras in New Orleans
  16. She Walks Right In

I was really looking forward to listening to this. After close to 300 albums the lack of variety in the 500 list is starting to wear a bit thin. A new genre on the horizon is always something to look forward to and with the exception of Dr John we haven't really had much New Orleans Piano to break the monotony. Shame then that I found Proffessor Longhair kind of underwhelming.

New Orleans paino can be exciting and toe tapping but for some reason Longhair doesn't really push the right buttons for me. It's hard to put my finger on why but I suspect it's related to the fact that while he's a talented player the songs themselves don't seem to have the same timeless feel that tracks from other genre's do. A few albums ago I heard Howlin Wolf which is also decades old but has songs that have become standards. Little Red Rooster, Spoonful and Wang Dang Doodle have all been covered countless times but most of the hirsute academic's catalogue has been ignored by modern music.

New Orleans piano seems like a fairly specific genre that doesn't extend it's boogie or woogie much past it's own practitioneers. While the Blues influenced rock and roll, folk spurned a variety of sub genres and jazz influenced everyone even if they don't realise it, New Orleans Piano has only really influenced New Orleans pianists.

Proffessor Longhair is an okay listen but for an album this far up the charts I have to say I expected a lot more.

Highlight: Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Lowlight: She walks right in

Influenced by: Other new Orleans piano players
Influenced: See above (and add Hugh Laurie).

Favourite Amazon Customer Review Quote: "I recommend Crawfish Feista and Rock and Roll Gumbo as far better examples of Fess's work."

-Other reviewers agree. I think I'll check them out.

So do you feel like you've enjoyed a masterclass with the professor or would you rather sleep up the back of the lecture theatre? Let me know below.

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