Monday, December 7, 2009
The Best Of New Orleans, 2009
BEST TEASER FOR A MUSIC-DRIVEN, SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS DOCUMENTARY CURRENTLY IN PRODUCTION THAT, WITH A LITTLE TENDER-LOVING SEED MONEY FROM A SHREWD INVESTOR, IS GOING TO MAKE SOMEONE LOOK REALLY SMART AND PROBABLY A LOT OF MONEY AT SUNDANCE:
"A TASTE OF HEAVEN: The Heartbreak Life of Raymond Myles, Gospel Genius of New Orleans."
Directed by Raymond's producer, Leo Sacks, it was a finalist this fall at the Paley Center for the Media's annual competition for documentaries seeking completion budgets. You can see the teaser at www.raymondmylesmovie.com
As Leo writes: "With its unique combination of riveting, uplifting and poignant gospel music, gripping life story, and fresh perspective on culture, society and religion, A TASTE OF HEAVEN takes us on Raymond's dramatic journey from a childhood of abject poverty to the brink of international music stardom -- a journey cut short when he was murdered during a carjacking in October 1998. Supported by Raymond's own eye-popping performances, the film also lifts the veil on homosexuality’s taboo status in the black church where Raymond struggled for acceptance and fulfillment but instead faced rejection by intolerant members of a community he considered his own."
By the way, Raymond should have been at the sessions for "Sing Me Back Home" by the New Orleans Social Club, which Leo produced after Katrina. But, then again, he was -- in spirit and in memory. There were many post-Katrina tributes, none of which captured the heartbreak, loss, and sense of brotherhood as "Sing Me Back Home,"still one of the greatest collections of music ever assembled. You can see a film about the making of that singular, heartbreaking, defiant, and criminally overlooked masterpiece at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ARmcd0r55I
BEST NEW ORLEANS RECORDS OF 2009
And now, here is, Chris Joseph, head honcho of Threadhead Records, Environmental Consultant disguised as a mild mannered pseudo Record Company Executive, and whom I like to call the "Ahmet Ertegun of Yogini Record Men," with his list of the Best New Orleans Records of 2009.
1. Alex McMurray, “How To Be A Cannonball” - McMurray, the make-believe bastard stepchild of Tom Waits and Randy Newman, made THE CD of the year, New Orleans or otherwise.
2. Allen Toussaint, “The Bright Mississippi” - Producer Joe Henry guides the legend Toussaint into the 21st Century.
3. Paul Sanchez, “Farewell to Storyville” - Confessional, autobiographical, and the troubadour singer/songwriter record of the year.
4. Zachary Richard, “Last Kiss” - Sure he’s kinda cheesy in his live shows, but Mr. Richard (pronounced Ree-SHARD), can spin a tune like few others.
5. New Orleans Nightcrawlers, “Slither Slice” - Take a listen to "Pontchartrain Beach" or "8th Ward Strut," and you can’t help but getting off your butt to dance.
6. New Orleans Jazz Orchestra (Irvin Mayfield), “Book One” - Classy, tuneful and modern/traditional. I just hope Irvin doesn’t run for Mayor.
7. John Boutte/Paul Sanchez, “Stew Called New Orleans” - Two guys sitting around the living room, trading songs, vocals and having fun. Give it a real listen and it will become a keeper in your collection.
8. Various Artists, “A Very Threadhead Holiday” - Sure I’m biased.....but this is a great album, not just a great holiday album. Boutte’s song, alone, is worth the $15.
9. Tim Laughlin, “A Royal Street Serenade” - New Orleans through and through. Tim needs national exposure.
10. Peter Holsapple and Chris Stamey/”Here and Now” - Listen to the title cut, and also "Begin Again," a tune highlighting Holsapple's “now what?” after New Orleans drowned.
I'd like to add that though 5 of Joseph's Top 10 are indeed on Threadhead Records, it shouldn't change the fact the records themselves capture the spirit, love and charm of New Orleans like no others. Kudos to both the artists, the fans, and everyone behind Threadhead Records for getting this great music out there.