Consumer Guide Album
The Sound of the City: New Orleans [EMI, 2003]
Surely some exploiter will step forward, or wouldn't it be nice if the Smithsonian strong-armed licensors into sluicing royalties right to the Ninth Ward? But with Rhino's three-LP canon long ago put under and Shout! Factory's four-CD Doctors, Professors, Kings & Queens tourist-board hype, this Charlie Gillett creation is easily the finest available overview of the lost city's rock and roll heritage even if you have to e-mail England to get one. On what is essentially a rock-era survey, the New Orleans tinge sustains a perilous segue from "Let the Good Times Roll" to "West End Blues" to (Bobby Bland's) "St. James' Infirmary." No Mardi Gras krewes, but Gillett does remember every major artist as well as irreplaceable one-shots from Jessie Hill's high-principled "Ooh Poo Pah Doo" to the Animals' carpetbagging "House of the Rising Sun." And though he deals a few sixes and sevens, ace finds start with Archibald's boogie-woogieing "Stack O Lee," Jerry Byrne's frenetic "Lights Out," Willie Tee's pimping "Thank You John," and two very different Bobby Charles songs--one young, dumb, and itching to be free, the other disabused, disabusing, and longing to make love work.