various artists and Dr. John

Talking 'Bout New Orleans

Phases & Stages

While devastating floods are nothing new to the city of New Orleans, widespread displacement of its citizens certainly is. When Louis Armstrong wondered "Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans," he never could have imagined that so many would now be feeling his expatriate pain. As the Crescent City attempts to rebuild itself and maintain its legacy as cultural wellspring, it's only fitting that musicians are stepping to the forefront of the recovery effort. Benefiting the American Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, New Orleans Musicians Clinic, Jazz Foundation of America, the Voice of the Wetlands, Higher Ground Hurricane Relief Fund, and MusiCares Hurricane Relief 2005, a series of collections has arrived to lend a helping hand. Some, such as Rounder's game A Celebration of New Orleans Music, fete past glories by the likes of Jelly Roll Morton, Professor Longhair, and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Others, like the sublime Our New Orleans 2005 (Nonesuch), cast contemporary luminaries including Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Eddie Bo, and the Wild Magnolias reacting anew to rising waters and governmental neglect. Dr. John offers his own take on the bleak situation with Sippiana Herricane (Blue Note), trading on the emotions of a city under siege. The prestorm sessions of I Believe to My Soul (Rhino), recorded by Joe Henry at Capitol Studios, recruited the resurgent efforts of Billy Preston, Mavis Staples, and Ann Peebles to the cause, a second disc preserving televised concerts on DVD. As Blue Note's Higher Ground: Hurricane Relief Benefit Concert at Lincoln Center contrasts the somber jazz tones of Norah Jones, Marcus Roberts, and Terence Blanchard with the resilient exuberance of Buckwheat Zydeco, Come Together Now (Concord) covers well-wishing ground all over the map as it brings together James Brown, Coldplay, Brian Wilson, Kanye West, and Barbra Streisand, all of whom demonstrate what it means to miss New Orleans.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Guy Forsyth & Jeska Bailey
Conspirators (Record Review)

Reid Jowers, Sept. 27, 2019

Texas Platters
The Texas Horns
Get Here Quick (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Robert Gabriel
KJ Hines
KJ Hines
Prince of the City

April 27, 2007

Play the Role
Play the Role
Bavu Blakes is not afraid

April 27, 2007

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle