February 14, 2006

Laissez Le Bon Temps Rouler


night trippin'

"Let the Good Times Roll" (Earl King)
Dr. John and the Rampart Street Symphony Orchestra, 1973

Tripped out

Man, it’s been hard getting a post out this week. My weekend Krewe du Vieux romp in New Orleans (more on that to come) wore me out. Not that you should care. You’re just here for some mo’ music, so I pulled out this little miracle of soundboard recording that I picked up at one of my favorite haunts a few weeks back. It’s from a show by Dr. John and “The Rampart Street Symphony Orchestra”, a/k/a his band at the time, reputed to be from 1973 on the CD. There is no further information on it other than the strange title, Funky Knuckle Music. It’s that kind of deal; but what an amazingly clean, clear and fairly well-mixed grey-market artifact it is.

From the sound of the crowd and the acoustics, I’d say this was recorded in a fairly small club. The band is in excellent form and do material from most of his ATCO albums up to that point, plus an interesting cover of “Wang Dang Doodle”. Of course, our feature today, “Let The Good Times Roll”, was written by
Earl King, who originally recorded it in 1960 on Imperial as "Come On", and notably covered by Jimi Hendrix. Dr. John recorded it on his 1972 album of classic New Orleans R&B, Gumbo; and this live version is fairly close to that arrangement. While King’s version is bluesy funk, and Hendrix rocked it, the good doctah splits the difference and puts the New Orleans bon temps spin to it. I would guess that his regular drummer from this period, Fred Staele, is the one making this party groove happen. As long as I am in speculation mode and hearing no piano here, that’s probably Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) on lead guitar with his runnin’ buddy, Alvin ‘Shine’ Robinson, on rhythm. As you may know, Mac started out playing guitar primarily when fronting his early bands as a teenager and only switched over to piano (and organ) full time in the early 1960’s when a gunshot damaged a finger on his left hand. It’s a rare treat when he picks up his ax at a show.

Mardi Gras is only two weeks from today, y’all. So, from now ‘til then, we will be kicking it more into that Carnival groove, forgetting our cares, and rollin’ on some more good times. . . . Stay tuned.


[Update: 6/19/2006] As several readers have since pointed out, this recording is from a live radio broadcast. The location, band members and set listings are shown below, supplied by an anonymous commenter - thanks! And thanks to another reader, I have been able to hear virutally the entire show now. I remain impressed at the quality of the entire event archive, including the fact that legendary New Orleans drummer John Boudreaux was on this date, along with the great 'Pops' Popwell on bass. If you can snag a copy (actually there are two CDs worth of material) somehwere, do so. I will be coming back to this show again.

Dr. John Ultrasonic Studios Hempstead, NY Nov.6,1973

Dr John & Rampart Street Sympathy Orchestra:
John Boudreaux, - drums
Robert Lee Popwell, bass
Sugar Bear Welch, guitar,
Darrell Leonard, cornet and trumpet
Jerry Jumonville, tenor sax
Robbie Montgomery and Jessie Smith, vocals.

CD1
1.Loop Garoo
2.I Walk On Guilded Splinters
3.Danse Kalinda Ba Doom
4.Stack-a-lee
5.Hard Judgement
6.Traveling Mood
7.Life
8.Put a Little Love In Your Heart
9.Tipitina
10.Mess Around

CD2
1.Interview & Intros
2.I've Been Hoodooed
3.Such A Night
4.Right Place, Wrong Time
5.Let The Good Times Roll
6.Wang Dang Doodle
7.Mama Roux
8.Qualified
9.Little Liza Jane
10.Mama Don't Allow No Dr John In Here

11 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, you right about Mac on guitar, I think. He played guitar on the studio version and when I've seen him strap one one, it's usually been on this tune.

12:14 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Mail Clerk said...

sounds like it's from the "UltraSonic Studios" (NY - radio station) show on 11/6/73. if so, there's two versions of that show floating around as bootlegs. one has the last two songs missing (lil' liza jane & "mama don't allow"), the other has two or three songs from the first half of the set missing ("put a little love in your heart", "life", and maybe "traveling mood"). both are of slightly different quality as well.

6:45 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Jonathan said...

Damn...can't believe I'm just now running across this blog. Well done, thanks, and I'll be back regularly. The premise of your blog is "spot on"

6:51 PM, February 15, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Glad to have that backup, anonymous, 'bout the guitar playing.

And thanks, Mail Clerk, for that lead on the source of this recording. Being done at a radio station studio would be reason enough for the good sound and small crowd. The version I have on CD has "Liza Jane" and "Mama Don't Allow", and does not have "Put A Little Love..", "Life", or "Travelin' Mood". Guess all of it wouldn't fit on a CD - but I'd have preferred having at least "Life" and "Travelin' Mood",
not that I got a choice. Just sayin'...

And, Jonathan, come on back by any time.

1:02 AM, February 16, 2006  
Blogger chuck said...

Great find! I hope you don't mind, but this is one I just have to share over at my blog.

6:38 AM, February 16, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DrJohn Ultrasonic Studios Hempstead, NY Nov.6,1973

Dr John & Rampart Street Sympathy Orchestra:
John Boudreaux, - drums
Robert Lee Popwell, bass
Sugar Bear Welch, guitar,
Darrell Leonard, cornet and trumpet
Jerry Jumonville, tenor sax
Robbie Montgomery and Jessie Smith, vocals.

CD1
1.Loop Garoo
2.I Walk On Guilded Splinters
3.Danse Kalinda Ba Doom
4.Stack-a-lee
5.Hard Judgement
6.Traveling Mood
7.Life
8.Put a Little Love In Your Heart
9.Tipitina
10.Mess Around

CD2
1.Interview & Intros
2.I've Been Hoodooed
3.Such A Night
4.Right Place, Wrong Time
5.Let The Good Times Roll
6.Wang Dang Doodle
7.Mama Roux
8.Qualified
9.Little Liza Jane
10.Mama Don't Allow No Dr John In Here

11:25 AM, June 19, 2006  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

Thank you, anonymous. I'll try to get this information up on the post. One of my other good readers send me a CD of the stuff I didn't have on the CD I got. These are great sets; and I am a bit surprised at the band line-up, mostly because John Boudreaux (rather than Fred Staehle) is on drums. Great to have something live on Boudreaux. Having 'Pops' Popwell on bass is way coo, too.
Wonder why Shine Robinson is not on guitar?

1:00 PM, June 19, 2006  
Anonymous Jipes said...

Apparenly the song is not accessible anymore or am I wrong ?

Anyway Dr John has always be one of my favorite and I would love to hear that live recording. DO you know if it's available commercially somewhere ?

Thanks for this great post Dan !

9:24 AM, March 28, 2007  
Blogger Dan Phillips said...

This is not a commercially released recording, Jipes.

And the audio link has been removed. I will do some other cuts from it later, though. So, stay tuned.

11:54 AM, March 28, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cover Art:

front:
http://c3.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/62/l_ea156dd8bdcc4654b1ff7ec4b83afca6.png

back:
http://c1.ac-images.myspacecdn.com/images02/5/l_f925386234d9482a96d89cefcedbb388.png

2:34 AM, October 17, 2008  
Blogger dogleg said...

i'd love a copy?

9:38 AM, May 11, 2011  

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