King Cakes & Muffaletta Stromboli (January 14, 2018, Columbia, Missouri)

Not everyone lives such a life of luxury that he can just play music all day long, but yesterday was a very special occasion: in thrall to Carnival season, Nicole was baking King Cakes and some very intriguing muffaletta stromboli (recipe to follow), and the Saints were on TV striving to make the conference finals, so I needed to provide the soundtrack. For that service I am always game.

Obviously, I strongly recommend everything we listened to. We actually began the day with ASV Living Era’s outstanding Lester Young and Fats Waller compilations (there is something, mysterious to me, about Waller and Sundays), but soon switched to Louisiana music. Here’s a partial list before I get to the special item:

Various Artists: Alligator Stomp, Volume 1

Allen Toussaint: American Tunes

Professor Longhair: Live in Chicago

Michael White (before he was a doctor): Shake It & Break It

Billie & De De Pierce / Jim Robinson’s New Orleans Band: Jazz at Preservation Hall (this great, out of print Atlantic series is well worth searching for)

Big Chief Juan Pardo & The Golden Comanche: Spirit Food

James Booker: The Lost Paramount Tapes

Various Artists: J’ai Ètè Au Bal, Volume 2 (I’m telling you, this documentary is essential viewing!)

There were more, but I want to get to a fantastic record from 2013 that I broke out that still releases thunder and lightning, and actually broke some musical ground in it’s tradition: Bo Dollis, Jr. and The Wild Magnolias’ A New Kind of Funk. The promo is worth watching for background and beats reading me:

A New Kind of Funk, in its way, is what it says it is. The mini-tradition of Mardi Gras Indian tribes recording albums goes back to Bo’s dad’s taking the Magnolias into the studio (with ace guitarist Snooks Eaglin) and recording a classic eponymously titled record for Polydor in 1974, and The Wild Tchoupitoulas, aided and abetted by the Nevilles, The Meters, and Allen Toussaint, following suit (and, to my ear, stomping some romp, ever so narrowly) in 1976. Most sane music aficionados believe it ends there, but those two records started something. Several dozen “tribal records” have been released since, at least–the folks at Lousiana Music Factory are probably the only ones who know for sure–and all I’ve heard are good. A recent highlight, for example, is 79rs Gang’s Fire on the Bayou. But young Mr. Dollis’ album takes “Injun music” into rock territory on the album without losing what’s essential: the funk. Guitar (slide and resonator, along with some power chording) leaps loudly, but without vulgarity, out of the mix on several tracks. Electric bass, and drumming that doesn’t seemed honed in parades, further juices the best songs; if someone had told me this before I bought the album, I wouldn’t have bought it, but it would have been my loss. These seeming sins against the order work, because they’re carefully balanced against the inspired traditional chanting and refrains that make the mini-genre fun (and educational) and interwoven with the eccentric rhythms and local sounds (like a country violin) of southern Louisiana. Another kind of innovation is that the younger Dollis has dared to write songs (the title tune, the rousing opener “We Come to Rumble“) that push up against the likes of “Tootie Ma,” “Liza Jane,” “Fire Water Big Chief Got Plenty,” and the eternal “Hell Out the Way.” The record isn’t perfect–a cover of Toussaint and Lee Dorsey’s “Everything I Do Gohn Be Funky” doesn’t get off the ground. But if you wanna take a chance on some music that will set your house on fiya during Mardi Gras season, think about tracking it down. It’s listed as being on One More Time Records, but maybe check CDBaby first.

The Saints lost on what I will call a non-tackle, but the delicious King Cake (alas, no baby for me), the music, and the muffaletta stromboli was most decent salve. Hey, courtesy of louisianacookin.com and Nicole, here’s the recipe if you wanna try it:

Muffuletta Stromboli

Makes about 24 servings

Ingredients

• 1 (15-ounce) package pizza dough

• 2 tablespoons Creole mustard

• ¼ pound thinly sliced soppressata

• ½ pound thinly sliced deli ham

• 1 cup olive salad*

• 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

• 6 slices provolone cheese, halved

• 1 large egg, lightly beaten

Instructions

1 Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a large rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

2 On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a 14-inch square. Spread mustard onto dough, and cut in half.

3 Arrange overlapping slices of soppressata down center of 1 piece of dough, leaving a 2-inch border on both sides. Top with 3 slices ham, ¼ cup olive salad, ¼ cup mozzarella, and 3 provolone halves; repeat layers once. Cut strips of dough at ¾- to 1-inch intervals on both sides of filling. Fold top and bottom pieces of dough over filling, and braid strips of dough diagonally over filling, stretching strips, if necessary. Place on prepared pan. Brush dough with egg. Repeat with remaining dough, soppressata, ham, olive salad, and cheeses.

4 Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before slicing.

Notes

*We used Boscoli Italian Olive Salad.

Overeem’s 2014 Picks to Click–75% of the Way Through this Bloody Calendar

I am not listing labels, since you can copy and paste the titles into a browser and find ’em in a few seconds. I haven’t written about all of them: for example, Ty Segall’s Manipulator is growing on me day by day–surprisingly, since I thought he and I were through–but I don’t yet know what to say other than he’s gotten all of his predilections embraced securely and has put together a tour de force that might be the best thing he’s ever done. Maybe that’s enough. Anyway, here’s what’s been repeatedly ringing my bell:

Long Players:

mulatto-radio-front-coverty-segall-manipulator

1. Wussy: Attica!
2. Allen Lowe: Mulatto Radio–Field Recordings 1-4
3. Chris Butler: Easy Life
4. Ty Segall: Manipulator
5. Bo Dollis, Jr. and The Wild Magnolias: A New Kind of Funk
6. Obnox: Louder Space
7. Latyryx: The Second Album
8. Ross Johnson and Monsieur Jeffrey Evans: Vanity Sessions
9. Neneh Cherry: The Blank Project
10. Phil and Dave Alvin: Common Ground–The Songs of Big Bill Broonzy
11. Marc Ribot Trio: Live at the Village Vanguard
12. Orlando Julius with The Heliocentrics: Jaiyede Afro
13. Natural Child: Dancin’ with Wolves
14. John Schooley: The Man Who Rode the Mule Around the World
15. Leo Welch: Sabougla Voices
16. Tinariwen: Emmaar
17. Big Freedia: Just Be Free
18. Billy Joe Shaver: Long in the Tooth
19. The Stooges Brass Band: Street Music
20. Mr. and The Mrs.: Radiation Street Blues

Singles:

1. Bobby Rush: Upstairs at United
2. Marc Ribot w/Deerhoof: Who Sleeps, Only Dreams
3. Heavy Lids: “Gravity Reverse” b/w “This Horse”

Old Stuff/Reissues:

1. John Coltrane: Offering—Live at Temple University
2. Various Artists: Haiti Direct!
3. John Schooley One-Man Band: Schooley’s Greatest Hits
4. Bob Wills & The Texas Playboys: Riding Your Way–The Lost Transcriptions for Tiffany Music 1946-7
5. Various Artists: Angola 2
6. Various Artists: The Rough Guide to the Music of Mali, Volume 2
7. D’Angelo: Live at the Jazz Café, London
8. Sid Selvidge: The Cold of the Morning
9. Gories: The Shaw Tapes—Live in Detroit 1988
10. Charlie Burton: Rock & Roll Behavior
11. Various Artists: Dylan’s Gospel—Brothers & Sisters
12. Various Artists: Go, Devil, Go—Raw, Rare, Otherwordly Gospel

Music Docs:

1. AKA Doc Pomus
2. The Case of the Three-Sided Dream

Listening Journal, Southern Journey, March 27

Today our daytime adventure was taking the trolley to Canal and walking all the way to the Bywater neighborhood. Not much music was involved, but we were jump-started out of the hotel room by YouTube videos of James Brown’s Japanese miso commercials. I am not making this up.

On the way back from Bywater (by the way, I HIGHLY recommend Elizabeth’s on Chartres), we stopped in The Marigny and, of course, one more trip to Louisiana Music Factory. The owner must think I am insane–why not get everything in one trip?–but I have to let ideas marinate, plus it takes considerable mental discipline to liberate myself from penny-pinching web purchases and do the right thing: support brick and mortar record stores, especially in NOLA. Also, should the reader assume I am independently wealthy, I have no other spending habits. I’d be wearing a burlap sack if I could get away with it, and if it would add money to my music budget. Yes, I know about streaming and don’t care. Here’s the sum of my booty:

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In the evening, finally able to listen to Bo Dollis, Jr.’s new Mardi Gras Indian rekkid A NEW KIND OF FUNK (it jes grew outta the OLDEST), we drove out to the greatest music venue in America: The Rock ‘N’ Bowl on Carrollton. OK, that ain’t an exaggeration:

The music is always great–this night, new breed zydeco star Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie, so open and fun and rocking and sweet he had what I assume was a young mentally disabled relative playing washboard and singing along on stage all night.

The crowd? PACKED…with everyone from kids to octogenarians, every shade of pigmentation, across class lines–and almost EVERYONE dances (including us, and I am from the Tom T. Hall school). And most know HOW to dance; we even saw the hoofin’ star of Louisiana Swamp Stomp once again dancing with every free woman on the floor! And…lots of laughter. LOTS.

You can bowl AND listen to live music, and neither activity disrupts the other.

The bar food beats the typical!

The staff is great–a barmaid even tracked me down through the crowd to return a $20 that was “stuck to” the fiver I handed her.

Did I mention the music? It’s a steady diet of SUBSTANTIAL roots rock. Especially zydeco. Just have to mention that Geno zydeco-ized a Lionel Ritchie song–and made it work!

If you do meet friends down here, it is a guaranteed winner. We met two of my former students who happened to be on vacation, too (they are grown, and dating, so it was a pleasure to buy ’em beers and watch ’em dance). Let me let some pics do the rest:

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Mid-City Rock ‘N’ Bowl. 3000 South Carrollton, New Orleans. Before you die.

Listening Journal, Southern Journey, March 26

For us, it was a slow music day. To wit:

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We sat in Johnny White’s on St. Peters for the second consecutive day, a bar made famous in ONE DEAD IN ATTIC and THE FIVE PEOPLE YOU MEET IN HELL: SURVIVING KATRINA for staying open throughout Katrina and providing multiple sustenances. The place knows the music it likes: Allmans, Stones, Aerosmith. Tough, blues-based white boy rock, and no NOLA stuff…but, when the local news came on, the music went off, and all six of us–the barmaid, possibly the owner, two obvious regulars, and Nicole and I–watched it and DISCUSSED IT. When’s the last time you did that in a bar? We also praised Pope Francis’ stinging of the Bishop of Bling, as well as cupcake ATMs. That’s right.

Later, peering out of The Cabildo and watching a street band trombonist play AT a street denizen’s dog and taking in his group’s ragged sound, I realized that two years of listening hard to Rebirth, Hot 8, Lil’ Rascals, Soul Rebels, TBC, and The Stooges have enabled me to discern the difference between street and pro. I love ’em both, but, not being a musician, I feel a homely pride in recognizing such distinctions. Also, the other side of the Louisiana History Museum, separated from The Cabildo by St. Louis Cathedral, holds the Katrina and Mardi Gras exhibits. The Mardi Gras exhibit was interesting, but missing Mardi Gras Indian regalia–you have to go to the Backstreet History Museum and Ronald Lewis’ for that. The Katrina exhibit opened with this moving, music-related image: Fats Domino’s flood-ravaged Steinway.

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 Finally, at the sillily named Smoothie King Center, we saw the Pelicans beat the Clippers 98-96 behind Tyreke Evans’ bull-in-a-china-closet drives, Darius Miller’s clutch jumpers, The Brow’s six blocks and double-figure boards, and Blake Griffin’s bonked free throws. What’s that have to do with music? Prize-bearing half-time trivia question: Name the performer of this song. (The original version of “Layla” is played.) Dude gives up. Answer flashed on Jumbotron: ERIC CLAPTON!

Wah-WAH.

Oh wait: I did go back to Louisiana Music Factory and buy Bo Dollis‘ kid’s new CD, a DVD of rare performances by Bunk Johnson and other old-time NOLA jazz masters (ahhh…American Music: the label), and Ann Savoy’s rare book on Cajun music.