Posted by on October 20, 2015 in On Vacation - No comments

The Music of New Orleans: December 2014 – May 2015

Music Of New Orleans 6New Orleans, Louisiana is a city of music. You hear it everywhere. It is happily inescapable. From December 2014 until May of 2015 we here at I♥DM enjoyed the gluttonous and indulgent privilege of living and working in the heart of downtown New Orleans, only a single block from the world-famous French Quarter, where one faces nothing less than a full-scale daily onslaught of endless musical performance upon nearly every stroll through this IMG_5123deservedly legendary neighborhood. Our musical explorations within the Crescent City went far beyond the limits of the French Quarter, however, as we took in numerous area music festivals and events, featuring widely divergent visiting acts. Among the many varied performances we witnessed were Lady Gaga & Tony Bennett of New York City, who sang inspired renditions of numerous Jazz standards at the internationally acclaimed New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, which takes place annually on the grounds of the city’s horse racing venue known as “The Fairgrounds”. Provocative South African rappers, Die IMG_6692Antwoord, put on a twisted show at New Orleans top annual electronic music fest, Buku Music & Art Project, held in 2015 upon the grounds of “Mardi Gras World” in the city’s Lower Garden District. We also stumbled upon a U.S. Marine Corps Band playing a unique version of “House Of The Rising Sun” at the season opener of New Orleans AAA minor league baseball team, the Zephyrs, at their home stadium in the nearby suburb of Metairie. In our minds, IMG_6682including these and other visiting musicians under the umbrella of what we’re prepared to call “New Orleans Music” seems only natural, however far-reaching it might be, especially for those acts we witnessed at the Buku Music & Art Project. Because so many lovers of music come so far to visit the great city of New Orleans, often only to satisfy their dreams of performing on its legendary streets, we simply felt it fitting to include herein the entirety of our musical experience in the Big Easy. Enjoy. ~I♥DM

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1. Marshall Richards singing “Questa o quella” from Verdi‘s ‘Rigoletto’ at St. Ann & Royal Street, 12-17-2014 – Who woulda thought the very first New Orleans street performer we encountered would be an opera singer? Not us. From the east corner of St. Ann & Royal Street, Richards serenaded us as we ate “Angels On Horseback”, a decadent, deep fried shrimp and crawfish recipe served daily (we think) at Pere Antoine Restaurant. We recorded him after dessert.

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2. Steamboat Willie performing the jazz standard “I Can’t Believe That You’re In Love With Me” at ‘Café Beignet’ on Bourbon Street, 12-17-2014 – Is Steamboat Willie the band, or the band’s singer? We have no idea. Our YouTube page also features a video of this combo playing “I Always Get Lucky With You”, a country classic co-written by Merle Haggard and made famous by George Jones. On another note, this place has great beignets. Do NOT order a Coca-Cola or a Pepsi.

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3. Doreen’s Jazz New Orleans, featuring Doreen Ketchens, playing the jazz standard “That’s Why They Call Me Shine” at St. Peter & Royal Street, 12-26-2014 – This classic, also known as simply “Shine”, has been recorded by a wide range of notables including Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Benny Goodman, Frankie Laine, Anne Murray and Ry Cooder. While widely considered to be an essential figure within New Orleans’ modern-day busker tradition, we are under the impression that Doreen calls the nearby suburb of Marrero, Louisiana home.

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4. St. Cinder of Ashland, Oregon playing Townes Van Zandt‘s “Waiting ‘Round To Die” at Royal & Toulouse Street, 1-5-2015

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5. Kelly Killinger of Los Angeles, California playing Kimya Dawson‘s “The Beer” near Decatur & Toulouse Street, 1-6-2015

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6. The Vaudevillian of Kitchener, Ontario, Canada performing Skip James‘ “Crow Jane” near Royal & St. Louis Street, 1-10-2015

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7. Jackson Ramsey playing a variant of Stephen Foster‘s “Angelina Baker” at St. Ann & Royal Street, 1-17-2015 – We gotta go back. How far back? Way back. Like 1850.

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8. Les Syncopators De Bayou playing “Hindustan” at ‘The Court of Two Sisters’ Jazz Brunch, 1-17-2015 – This old-timey type tune, penned in 1918 by Harold Weeks and Oliver Wallace, plus the preceding selections by The Vaudevillian and Jackson Ramsey, all epitomize the tendency of New Orleans street musicians to pick out the oldest, moldiest, most obscure and long-forgotten material they can possibly get their ears on and then dust it off and polish it for public presentation. We enjoyed the great fortune of seeing this trio’s excellent guitarist play live on a couple of our many other romps through the French Quarter.

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9. Rossi Gang of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada playing John Hammond‘s “Long Distance Call” at 313 Royal Street, 1-19-2015

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10. The Quarter Notes playing Thin Lizzy‘s “The Boys Are Back In Town” at ‘Famous Door’ on Bourbon Street, 1-20-2015 – Classic rock is a staple on the mainest main street in Party Central, U.S.A., and must be included in any honest appraisal of New Orleans’ live music tradition.

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11. Free Spirit Brass Band reinterpreting LeVert‘s 1987 hit “Casanova” at Bourbon & Iberville Street, 1-27-2015 – This particular version of the LeVert hit became something of a New Orleans brass band standard when Rebirth Brass Band debuted it on their 2001 release “Hot Venom”.

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12. Franklin Jesse Kammerdiener playing an original composition at 730 Royal Street, 1-29-2015

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13. Shlomo Calvo performing an original composition (we think) at 410 Royal Street, 2-5-2015 Calvo plays a ‘hang’, a musical instrument both tonal and percussive, similar to a steel drum but played with one’s hands. It was developed by the Swiss company PANArt and debuted to the public in 2001.

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14. Young Fellaz Brass Band perform an unknown title at Chartres & Frenchmen Street in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans, 2-10-2015

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15. St. Louis Street Trio playing Ray Price‘s “I’ll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)” at St. Louis & Royal Street, 2-11-2015

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16. Ladies On The Rag playing the jazz standard “I Ain’t Gonna Give You None Of My Jellyroll” at Toulouse & Royal Street, 2-11-2015 – Jazz legends Louis Armstrong and ‘Sweet’ Emma Barrett both recorded versions of this classic. Bobby Darin and Johnny Mercer recorded a version together, backed by famed bandleader Billy May.

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17. Eight Dice Cloth of Santa Cruz, California performing an unknown title at St. Peter & Royal Street, 2-15-2015

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18. An unknown musician playing Frank Sinatra‘s “High Hopes” on a steam calliope aboard the Steamboat ‘Natchez’ while docked along the east bank of the Mississippi River in the French Quarter, 2-17-2015 – The Steamboat ‘Natchez’ steam calliope is heard on the daily throughout the French Quarter, at 2 pm seven days a week and 11 am every day but Sunday. Follow Toulouse Street all the way to the river for the best listening locale.

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19. Jay Wyatt playing Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s “The Ballad Of Curtis Loew” at Bienville & Royal Street, 3-3-2015

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20. Pelican 212 of Nashville, Tennessee playing Neil Diamond‘s “Sweet Caroline” on Decatur Street near Jackson Square, 3-4-2015 – Talk about adorable.

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21. Blue Fox of Vermont playing Robert Johnson‘s “They’re Red Hot” at St. Peter & Royal Street, 3-8-2015 – If ya can’t feel this one there’s somethin’ wrong with ya.

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22. Feng Schwing of France playing Serge Gainsbourg‘s “La Javanaise” at 1012 Royal Street, 3-11-2015

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23. Zomboy aka Joshua Mellody of England mixing live at ‘Buku Music & Art Project’, held at the River City Complex within ‘Mardi Gras World’ at 1380 Port Of New Orleans Place, 3-13-2015

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24. RL Grime aka Henry Steinway of Los Angeles, California mixing live at ‘Buku Music & Art Project’, 3-13-2015

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25. Flosstradamus aka J2K & Autobot aka Josh Young & Curt Cameruci of Chicago, Illinois mixing live at ‘Buku Music & Art Project’, 3-13-2015

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26. Die Antwoord of South Africa performing their original composition “Ugly Boy” at ‘Buku Music & Art Project’, 3-13-2015 – We also made a decent recording of “Enter The Ninja“, another one of their underground hits.

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27. Night Moves playing Billy Idol‘s “Rebel Yell” at ‘Famous Door’ on Bourbon Street, 3-15-2015

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28. Lisa Marie & Juxo playing Elvis Presley‘s “All Shook Up” at 710 St. Peter Street, 3-15-2015

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29. Shine Delphi & Sierra Elizabeth Ferrell performing Delphi‘s original composition “The Stars” at St. Peter & Royal Street, 3-18-2015 – Our favorite video of this entire collection. Absolutely unforgettable.

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30. The Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, featuring Jose Franch-Ballester on clarinet, playing Mozart‘s ‘Clarinet Concerto in A Major’ at Mahalia Jackson Theater in Louis Armstrong Park, 3-19-2015

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31. Death In The Evening playing an unknown title at St. Peter & Royal Street, 3-27-2015

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32. Rockbox playing Loverboy‘s “Working For The Weekend” at ‘Fat Catz’ on Bourbon Street, 3-27-2015

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33. MiJoe plays Herman Hupfeld‘s classic “As Time Goes By” at Toulouse & Royal Street, 4-6-2015 – This is the song Humphrey Bogart is requesting in the movie ‘Casablanca’ when he says, “Play it again, Sam”. But more importantly, how the hell do you get a full-sized upright piano onto the streets of the French Quarter?!?

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34. Allen Toussaint playing a four-song medley at ‘French Quarter Festival’, 4-9-2015 – Each of the four songs in this medley were penned by Toussaint but popularized primarily by others: “A Certain Girl” by Warren Zevon, “Mother-In-Law” by Ernie K-Doe, “Fortune Teller” by the Rolling Stones, and “Workin’ In A Coal Mine” by Lee Dorsey.

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35. Trumpet Black & The Heart Attack playing an original composition, “Trumpets Not Guns”, at ‘French Quarter Festival’, 4-9-2015 – Trumpet Black is a pseudonym of New Orleans trumpeter Travis Hill. Sadly, Hill died just a few weeks later from an infection while on tour in Japan with the some of the very same musicians seen in our video.

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36. A U.S. Marine Corps Band playing “House Of The Rising Sun” at the New Orleans Zephyrs Baseball Stadium in Metairie, Louisiana, 4-9-2015

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37. Kermit Ruffins & The Barbeque Swingers performing the Mardi Gras classic “Iko Iko” aka “Jock-a-mo” at Smoothie King Center, home of the National Basketball Association’s New Orleans Pelicans, 4-15-2015 Ruffins was a founding member of New Orleans’ famed Rebirth Brass Band, but split with the group and formed The Barbeque Swingers in 1993.

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38. Jared Elmore playing Bill Monroe‘s “No Letter In The Mail” at 912 Royal Street, 4-16-2015

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39. Brian Hudson playing his original song “The Guy From Stories Read To Kids At Night” at Toulouse & Royal Street, 4-21-2015

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40. Peter The Glass Harpist playing Pachelbel‘s “Canon” near St. Ann & Chartres Street, 4-25-2015

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41. Tony Bennett & Lady Gaga of New York City performing Cole Porter‘s “Anything Goes” and Irving Berlin‘s “Cheek To Cheek” at the ‘New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival’, 4-26-2015

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42. 2 Random Drummers jammin’ near the corner of Wilkinson & Decatur Street, 4-25-2015

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43. The Slick Skillet Serenaders performing The Two Poor Boys‘ “Take A Look At That Baby” at Frenchmen & Royal Street in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans, 4-25-2015 – Holy spoon solo!

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44. Jeff Tyson & The Ka-nection Band playing Kool & The Gang‘s “Jungle Boogie” at ‘Fat Catz’ on Bourbon Street, 4-28-2015 – This sensational video comes with a free peep show! Enjoy!

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45. Buku Broux playing an original composition in Jackson Square near St. Ann & Chartres Street, 4-30-2015

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46. Janky Nobodies performing the folk classic “House Of The Rising Sun” at Orleans & Royal Street, 5-1-2015

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47. Tasche De La Rocha playing Billie Holliday‘s “He’s Funny That Way” at Chartres & Frenchmen Street in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans, 5-11-2015

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48. John Patten playing the traditional Irish folk song “The South Wind” at 912 Royal Street, 5-14-2015

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49. Tanya & Dorise playing Lady Gaga‘s “Bad Romance” at St. Louis & Royal Street, 5-14-2015

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50. Sluetown Strutters performing their original composition “Long Gone (To New Orleans)” at St. Peter & Royal Street, 5-16-2015 – A fitting finale to our sixth month odyssey in the Crescent City.

About the author

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Dale Carlson grew up along the northeastern shores of Lake Michigan, where at a young age Detroit called out to him in his dreams. In 2008, after extended stays in ten different Michigan cities, the author settled permanently in southeast Oakland County where he currently lives and works in various capacities within the local real estate industry.

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