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The Heart of New Orleans with Dr. John, Professor Longhair, Earl King, and the Meters (1974)
An hour-long “swamp special” hosted by New Orleans legend Dr. John.
New Orleans has the distinct honor of being the undisputed cradle that birthed jazz, and its storied history of lawlessness and debauchery always makes for a great live show. This “swamp special,” filmed in 1974, is emblematic of what it might have been like to walk into a club off Bourbon Street before that part of New Orleans was “cleaned up” to be family and tourist friendly. This recording features some of the best in Bayou jazz and blues, and is a heartening look into the soul of the culture that has spawned countless musical firsts.
Dr. John takes the role of host for this group show of his mentor, legendary New Orleans blues pianist Professor Longhair. Funky blues guitarist Earl King follows him. With the support of the Meters, he delivers an intense performance. King had his own solo career, but was more successful writing songs for Fats Domino, Dusty Springfield and Jimi Hendrix. Dr. John concludes the show with a few of his own favorites — dressed, of course, in his usual flamboyant get-up (covered in fur, bones, and sequins). There’s a magic to New Orleans and this document serves a heaping platter of it.
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