Even though it's over now, Mardi Gras season in New Orleans is a reminder of what a lively, unselfconsciously multicultural celebration of life can be like. Rooted in Catholicism as well as southern Louisiana hoodoo and other variants of that branch of Christianity, it is one way people prepare themselves for a season of sacrifice, a season of disciplined reflection on life, a season in which we prepare for the coming of Easter. That this party happens in the cradle of American music, our most famously non-Anglo city (we have plenty of others, to be sure), a city that gave birth to jazz, provided a place for the Delta blues players to congregate and exchange ideas, that celebrates its heritage as the stew pot of French and African and Creole and American and Caribbean people and cultures and languages and folk arts. America without New Orleans wouldn't be America; indeed, the world would be a far poorer place without New Orleans.
It is fitting that one of the great interpreters of that city, Mack Rebbenack, also known as Dr. John, is being inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. A sessions musician and song-writer and performer and friend to so many great musicians and mentor to so many more, at the end of the day, he is saturated in the flavors and spices, the steam and the sultriness, of that unique musical city New Orleans. While I'm not impressed with the whole "Hall of Fame" thing, it is nice to know that a hard-working musician's musician is finally getting the kind of recognition he deserves.
Oh, wait. That's that other New Orleans treasure, The Neville Brothers. I'd be sorry, but they are so truly awesome I'm really not.
Let's see what Random has in store for us today, shall we?
Brandenburg Concerto #1 in F, First Movement - Phillip Picket: New London Consort
Isis and Osiris - Ayreon
Out on a Limb - Lunatic Soul
Forever My Friend - Ray LaMontagne
He Got Better Things For You - Memphis Sanctified Singers (Anthology of American Folk Music, Harry Smith, compiler)
Run Through The Light - Yes
B'BOOM (live in Mexico City) - King Crimson
Trampled Rose - Robert Plant and Allison Krauss
The Way To Gone (Bonus Track Version) - Black Mountain
Chickenman (Live) - The Indigo Girls
And . . . so close but not quite making the cut . . .