Professor Longhair

Hi, I'm Billy. Zach has been kind enough to let me get in on this thing. Hope you like what I put up here.

Artist: Professor Longhair
Song: "Mardi Gras in New Orleans"/"Go to the Mardi Gras"
Writer: Roy Byrd (aka Professor Longhair)

There are quite a few versions of this song out there, for starters. The earliest recording of it was in 1949. Generally, I have no idea which version of the song I am listening to, beyond what the mp3 says (in other words, I can't tell which album the song is off of, or if it is from some rare 45 from the '40s, or if it was spun wholecloth from the Internet & has nothing to do with Fess at all), because all of my Professor Longhair is downloaded. Local record shops should keep better stock of Fess CDs, but alackaday, I have as yet not lucked into one.

That said, I think my favorite version of this song that I have heard is the one I have that is labelled "Mardi Gras in New Orleans (Looser Version)." It is about 3 minutes long, starts with that piano intro that made me love Fess in the first place, & then rolls into the whole whistling thing that makes my spine tingle. When Fess gets around to singin', well, it's the icing on the cake. His voice is that low moan of a voice that I only wish I could imitate properly, when I sing this as it pops into my head (usually at random points, or any time Mardi Gras or Zulu is brought up).

This song is sometimes hailed as Professor Longhair's signature song, though a few of his other tunes might well vie for that same position, & according to Wikipedia, it is still the theme for Mardi Gras in New Orleans today. It certainly gets played down here during Carnival a few times. However, I don't think it is possible I could get tired of this song.

This song is a fuckin' celebration. It's the sorta thing that makes ya wanna dance in the streets (say, during Mardi Gras). It makes you wanna shake & jump & tap & step & sing. It makes ya feel good, like the way ya do when you're out on the streets during the Gras, lemme tell ya (assuming you aren't a useless curmudgeon, that is).

Basically, any version you come across should inspire your ear drums. The delicious piano, the jumpin' whistling, the crazy moan of Fess's voice, the rhythm that is simply to die for. It's damned near the best thing since sliced pickles, make no mistake.

Download it!


Blogger sleepybomb said...

cool site! and nice to see the professor mentioned and offered.

7/3/05 12:42  
Blogger billy ray said...

thanks! i'm glad to be of service! & also, credit where credit's due--this site's the baby of ol' dog_latin there, so it's him ya should really be thankin'!

8/3/05 15:21  

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