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Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast

Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast

5.0 3
Product Description: Nonesuch Records is releasing a benefit album of newly recorded songs featuring artists from the New Orleans music community - across a wide variety of styles - to document the depth, richness and profound musicality of that unique city. Funds from the sale of the record, titled Our New Orleans, will be donated to Habitat For Humanity to aid those


Product Description: Nonesuch Records is releasing a benefit album of newly recorded songs featuring artists from the New Orleans music community - across a wide variety of styles - to document the depth, richness and profound musicality of that unique city. Funds from the sale of the record, titled Our New Orleans, will be donated to Habitat For Humanity to aid those affected by the recent Hurricane Katrina disaster. A number of New Orleans’ best known musicians have been asked to record songs that are integral to their lives and that express their feelings about the city and the recent events there. Sessions began in New York on September 20, with the Preservation Hall Jazz Band and the Wild Magnolias recording at Clinton Studios. Later the same day and on September 21, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band recorded at New York’s Avatar Studios. Further sessions in October included Dr. John, Buckwheat Zydeco, and Randy Newman, among others. Nonesuch’s parent company - Warner Bros. Records - is donating all of the production costs for this record, as part of the Warner Music Group’s larger efforts on behalf of the hurricane victims. Many others involved in the project are also generously donating their time and services.

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Several benefit albums have been released in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's landfall in New Orleans on August 29, 2005, and most -- if not all -- of them have been fine and well-intentioned affairs, full of the spirited and lively music that has long made the Crescent City special. Each of these collections has merit, but if you can only afford to pick up one, then this is it. Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast features New Orleans-linked musicians, several of whom were among the four-hundred-thousand people displaced when the levees failed, on new recordings made within a month of the disaster, and that immediacy gives these performances uncommon resonance. The full weight of the region's loss permeates every track here, as well as the power of music to confront, diffuse, overcome, define, absorb and transcend. Allen Toussaint, the pianist, singer, songwriter and producer, lost everything but the clothes on his back to the flood waters, yet his funky, hopeful "Yes We Can Can," which opens this amazing set, reveals the boundless hope inherent in the human spirit, and the song is reshaped by Toussaint into a powerful belief in the future of New Orleans, soaring against the long odds with defiant joy. Soul singer Irma Thomas' stunning version of Bessie Smith's "Backwater Blues," which was recorded by Smith shortly after the failure of the levees in 1927, is as raw as a shocked nerve, held together by the singer's subtle, angry resignation. The Wild Magnolia's ramshackle and insistent "Brother John Is Gone/Herc-Jolly-John" reminds us of the wild, uplifting, and chaotic energy that has always been at the heart of the region's music. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band's "My Feet Can't Fail Me Now" seems particularly apt given the current refugee status of so many of the coast's residents, yet the classic second-line arrangement is likewise powerfully reassuring. Buckwheat Zydeco's "Cryin' in the Streets" is a powerfully emotional gospel shout that draws on its own desperation until a kind of redemption is reached, the musical equivalent of the old saying "we laughed/we cried." Randy Newman's gorgeous "Louisiana 1927" is also here, re-recorded with the combined Louisiana and New York Philharmonic Orchestras, and the song's chorus, "Louisiana/They're tryin' to wash us away," has never sounded so poignant and terrifyingly true. Song after song on Our New Orleans exhibits an elegiac awareness of what has been lost and the difficult decisions and tasks that are yet to come. The Preservation Hall Jazz Band's version of "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," a song that was written for the 1947 film New Orleans and had since become a kind of cheesy tourist staple, reclaims the heart of the tune and returns it to its status as a gloriously beautiful love song for an amazing city, a city that not only has to be rescued and rebuilt, it must also be remade, for what is lost, if it comes back again, comes back inevitably changed. Pianist Eddie Bo tackles the hoary "When the Saints Go Marching In" like it's a song he's singing for the first time ever in his life, and the world-weary joy and exhausted determination inherent in the lyrics gives "Saints" a renewed substance and weight. The old song, perhaps half forgotten even by the people who sing it and hear it daily, is here stripped of all its tired moss and revealed for the glorious parade hymn it always was, the best tune ever for marching joyously into the future. But the future for New Orleans is uncertain. Many who were forced to leave when the levees were breached may not return, either because they can't or won't. The city will have to be remade, hopefully in its old image, but it won't be easy, it it's possible at all. The ghosts of Katrina and its aftermath will always be there. But the musicians on this stunning album trust the music of New Orleans to give solace, hope and direction in the massive recovery that lies ahead, and as Eddie Bo ends his revisionist, stripped down, sparkling rendition of "Saints" here with a quiet, softly spoken "I wanna be in that number," it's obvious the music already has. Get this.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Terry Perkins
[Grade: A] An inspiring collection that might be the best recording of 2005.... A recording that lovingly explores the depth, feeling and genius of New Orleans music.

Product Details

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Buckwheat Zydeco   Accordion,Vocals
Michael Doucet   Fiddle
Eddie Bo   Piano,Vocals
Ry Cooder   Guitar
Dr. John   Piano,Vocals
Randy Newman   Piano,Vocals
Irma Thomas   Vocals
Ronnie Cuber   Baritone Saxophone
Steve Pistorius   Piano
Wild Magnolias   Tambourine,Vocals
Jim Keltner   Drums
Jimmy Breaux   Accordion
John Brunious   Trumpet,Vocals
Tommy Alesi   Drums
Sanford Allen   Violin,Concert Master
Revert Andrews   Trombone
David Barard   Bass
Karen Bernod   Background Vocals
Gene Bertoncini   Guitar
Paul Bryan   Bass
Lester Caliste   Trombone
David Doucet   Acoustic Guitar
James Luther Dickinson   Piano
Max Ellen   Violin
Herman V. Ernest   Drums
Carol Fran   Piano,Vocals
Gerald Tarack   Violin
Donald Harrison   Alto Saxophone
Regis Iandiorio   Violin
Olivia Koppell   Viola
Joe Lastie   Drums
Carl LeBlanc   Banjo
Jesse Levy   Cello
Roger Lewis   Baritone Saxophone,Soprano Saxophone
Freddie Lonzo   Trombone
Hugh McCracken   Guitar
Mulgrew Miller   Piano
Kermit Moore   Cello
Janice Pendarvis   Background Vocals
Allen Toussaint   Piano,Vocals
Efrem Towns   Trumpet,Flugelhorn
Don Vappie   Bass
Buddy Williams   Drums
Davell Crawford   Piano,Vocals
Jay Bellerose   Drums
Charlie Miller   Trumpet,Vocals
Benjamin Jaffe   Bass
Michael Foster   Sousaphone
Kevin Harris   Tenor Saxophone
Doyle Bramhall   Guitar
Mike Elizondo   Bass
Frank Oxley   Drums
Ted Sperling   Conductor
Nick Daniels   Electric Bass,Musical Direction
Gregory Michael Davis   Trumpet,Vocals
Terence Higgins   Drums
Brian Quezerque   Bass
Detroit Brooks   Banjo
Queen Rita   Percussion,Background Vocals
Gerard "Little Bo" Dollis   Percussion,Background Vocals
Guy A. Gaines   Percussion,Background Vocals
"Geechie" Johnson   Bass Drums,Background Vocals
Clint Maedgen   Saxophone
Mitchell Player   Bass

Technical Credits

Michael Doucet   Producer
Ry Cooder   Producer
Joe Henry   Producer
Mark Bingham   Producer
New York Philharmonic   Contributor
David Bither   Executive Producer
Alfred Brown   String Contractor
Eddie DeLange   Composer
Joel Dorn   Producer
Robert Hurwitz   Executive Producer
Kevin Killen   Engineer
Doug Petty   Producer
Wardell Quezergue   Arranger
Steve Reynolds   Engineer
Don Smith   Engineer
Nick Spitzer   Producer,Essay
Todd Whitelock   Engineer
Hal Willner   Producer
Adam Dorn   Producer
Michael P. Smith   Inlay Photography
Louis Alter   Composer
Richard Ford   Liner Notes
Anthony Ruotolo   Engineer
Bill Bennett   Engineer
Robert Edridge Waks   Editorial Coordinator
Drew Vonderhaar   Engineer
Matt Sakakeeny   Producer
Sammy Holbrook   Engineer
Edwin J. Bocage   Arranger
Leonard Freed   Cover Photo
Lawrence Rock   Engineer
Steven Epstein   Producer

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Our New Orleans: A Benefit Album for the Gulf Coast 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This recording deserves a Grammyy. This is captures the spirit of us in New Orleans better than anything else ever done. This is the authentic thing for those that want to feel it. The "just a prayer for New Orleans" is overwhelming.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This compilation, recorded after Katrina, is more than music... it is the soul of the people of Louisiana. From Alan Toussaint's "Yes We Can Can" to Dr. John's "World I Never Made" to Beausoleil and Randy Newman, the love these artists display for the music and history of this state shines like a beacon. If you love New Orleans, love the Louisiana spirit, love the so many kinds of music that grace the air on Bourbon Street, you need this CD. If you've NEVER heard the sounds so intrinsic to American culture and history, you owe it to yourself to check this one out...and you can make yourself feel better by noting just where some of the proceeds from this labor of love go.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are not moved body and soul by this collection, then you must be dead. It is a real tribute to the sounds and people of Louisiana.