(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )
Mardi Gras: The Language of New Orleans Volume 7
(Louisiana Red Hot)
That Louisiana Red Hot has assembled yet another collection of second-line rhythms o’erlaid with the sort of singing and musicianship that’s made New Orleans an R&B Mecca isn’t news. What is, is that LRH has done so without so much as one cross-licensed classic track or big name. The oldest recording dates from ’94, the newest from 2002, and although I’d heard of Smoky Greenwell, Bag of Donuts, Sammy Ridgely, and the Rebirth Brass Band, I couldn’t have hummed you anything by them till now. Actually I still can’t: As with so much second-line, this genre exists to help the good times roll, functioning even at its funkiest like an exotic strain of background music. The exception is Drew Young’s “Mardi Gras Morning,” a happy but hardly giddy rock and roll shuffle that’s no one’s idea of background music (Iguanas music maybe) and probably has less to do with Young’s years spent in New Orleans than with his current status as a struggling musician in that Mecca of foreground music, New York City. Rating: Three-and-a-half big apples out of five.