Long time no post. Sorry about that. Apologies if I fail completely to get this formatted right, etc. etc. I'm a bit clueless in these murky Internet waters.

I have been listening to a substantial amount of piano players recently, & I have completely fallen in love with James Booker. So I feel the need to post a tune by my newest obsession.

The tune is off King of the New Orleans Keyboard, featuring a photo on the cover that makes me smile broadly each time I see it. The tune itself, "Harlem in Hamburg" (incorrectly labelled when I found it as "Holland & Hamburg," due to Mr. Booker's marvelously slurred speech) makes my whole body quiver with joy. I can't express my love for this tune properly, so I will just let the tune do the talking.

James Booker

King of the New Orleans Keyboard (1976)
"Harlem in Hamburg"


Bernice McClellan, Gertrude Morgan, Annette Hanshaw

I had this post written the other day and it was much better but I misplaced it. It makes a better 2a.m. sunday morning post anyways.

This first track is from the long out-of-print LP, Negro Church Music, recorded and edited by Alan Lomax. Sister McClellan lays down a real healthy sounding vocal backed by dozens in the congregation with a fantastic band (especially the piano player).

Bernice McClellan & Congregation

Negro Church Music (1959)
What Do You Think About Jesus?

This track by Gertrude Morgan is pure praise'n'worship; something like sermon, something like song, all power. By the time Let's Make A Record was released in 1970 (a decade after the recording was made) Sister Morgan had become well known around New Orleans as "...the eccentric figure best known for roaming the streets of the French Quarter in the 1950s and 60s and shouting invented spirituals through a megaphone..." After 1970 the record fell out of release and it wasn't until last summer that it was finally re-released (Preservation Hall Recordings).
Sister Gertrude Morgan

Let's Make A Record (1960)

This last track is so very very out of place in this post, but I could not resist the temptation to post another Annette Hanshaw track.
Annette Hanshaw

Collected Recordings (1927)
My Idea of Heaven


DJ Kool Herc

Yesterday I was going somewhere in the auto and my already shaky cassette to iPod connection decided it would be a great time to stop working. Being more than just morally opposed to FM radio I went scanning the AM dial for at least some preaching or far-right rant; this attempt was fruitless. Finally, settling on NPR and was more than just pleasantly surprised to find that irritating woman who does that irritating show interviewing DJ Kool Herc. The moral of the story is never ever ever listen to FM radio. For those who don't know, Kool Herc is widely considered the father of (at least) the hip-hop dj and by some slightly overzealous critics the "Father of Hip-Hop." Many of you maybe wondering how did someone so influential go so unknown for so long? 1. DJ Kool Herc has never, and according to Herc himself, will never make a studio album and 2. the few bootlegs from him DJing parties are few are far between. So for your ass shaking delight:

DJ Kool Herc
Live (197?)
Let Me Clear My Throat
As far as I can tell, this is not Kool Herc with the famed Hercilodians, but I am pretty certain that is Coke La Roc of the Hercilodians on the lyric.


Billy Ocean

Everything I've read about Billy Ocean has mentioned that he was one of the first Caribbean singers to get major media attention in the US (especially MTV), which is great, but who cares? The dude's amazing. His first hit came in the mid-70's ("Love Really Hurts Without You") & the 80's brought a lot of great followups, most notably the title track from Nights (Feel Like Getting Down). If his name still doesn't ring a bell then you might remember "Get Outta My Dreams, Get Into My Car" and his biggest hit, "Caribbean Queen." Anyway, this is one of my favorites of his, & I think you'll agree that it's pretty fabulous, joyous, danceable stuff.

Billy Ocean
City Limit (1980)
Stay The Night