Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Sounds Of Frenchmen Street

For as long as I've been going to New Orleans, Bourbon Street has been something of an eye sore, and sadly, a shadow of the place where jazz resounded from every doorfront. Spending as much time as I have in this wonderful city, you live and learn, and you come to realize, a tourist strip aimed at those whose main goal is to get drunk and puke is not what New Orleans is all about. Anytime I hear from someone who made their first pilgrimage to the Crescent City, only to say "it's not all that," I usually find out seconds later, they spent most of their time on Bourbon Street. Still, it remains a curiousity, with it's bright lights and almost constant activity. But for those who long for the riches of New Orleans' culture and music, Bourbon Street is no more rewarding than the Mall Of America.

Just a short walk from the French Quarter in a hood called The Marigny, there is a strip which is no longer a secret; a place with a history...Jelly Roll Morton lived there...a street where you can hear the sounds of New Orleans, traditional jazz, deep Southern soul, country blues, and big bold brass emanating from any one of the many clubs along its stretch. This is Frenchmen Street.

Mystery Street Records has just released a fantastic new collection, showcasing some of the finest artists New Orleans has to offer. These artists have made Frenchmen Street "the" place to be for music in New Orleans.

You know I love this city, and you have seen plenty of New Orleans mixes offered here. But "Sounds Of New Orleans: Frenchmen Street," the first in hopefully a long line of themed CDs from Mystery Street" is hard to top. There is no filler on this collection.  (John Boutte's live version of Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927," which is exclusive to this CD, is reason enough to dive in.)


Meet Me on Frenchmen Street – Shamarr Allen
You’ve Got To Be Crazy to Live in This Town – Alex McMurray
When The Hoodoo Come Down  – Jesse Moore
Dumaine Street Blues  – Glen David Andrews
Alright Alright  – New Orleans Nightcrawlers
Mardi Gras Carnival – Margie Perez & the King Cake Babies
Exit To Mystery Street – Paul Sanchez
Shake Your Rugalator – Craig Klein
Down at the Jazzfest – Holley Bendtsen & Amasa Miller
Stew Called New Orleans РJohn Boutt̩ & Paul Sanchez
Sougouya – Matt Perrine & Sunflower City
Louisiana 1927 РJohn Boutt̩*
(LIVE FROM THE 2006 Jazz & Heritrage Festival)

I'm giving this CD a big Sal thumbs-up, so go get it. It's available as both a CD and a download here:


steve simels said...

I spent a weekend in New Orleans on the occasion of the opening of the 1975 Stones tour (got their Friday afternoon, and left after the concert, which was in Baton Rouge on Sunday night). I was staying with friends who lived in the Quarter, and our stroll down Bourbon Street as the sun went down was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. What was even weirder, though, was staggering home down Bourbon Street as the sun came up -- sanitation workers hosing it down, but otherwise absolutely deadly quiet compared to the riotous stuff that had been happening earlier.

All I could think of was that the place was like Disneyland, some kind of theme park and unreal.

BTW, remind me to tell you the story about the Duck Lady sometime.

Sal Nunziato said...

Do you know "Pie Lady" too?

steve simels said...

Alas, no -- must have been after my time.

Anonymous said...

You can order it from Louisiana Music Factory, too:



Anonymous said...

Couldn't agree with you more. Arrived at 8 pm xmas day, phoned my friend and said "meet me on frenchmen st. at the blue nile, hopped a cab and thus began a whirlwind week,where every night ended on frenchmen st. I was only in The quarter to pick up a whack of local music cds at the LA music factory. And of course I bought many direct from artists on frenchmen. Don't forget to tip your musicans folks! Joan Smart

Anonymous said...

Steve, if you remember the Stones did 2 shows to open the tour, 3:00 and 8:00. I was at the 3:00 show. And do you remember the opening act? The Meters!

Anonymous said...

You can order from iTunes, as well: