Chess New Orleans

Various Artists

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Chess New Orleans Review

by Greg Adams

The Chicago-based Chess label isn't often associated with the New Orleans rock and R&B scene of the '50s, but its dalliances there produced a handful of hits including Clarence "Frogman" Henry's "Ain't Got No Home" and Bobby Charles' "See You Later Alligator" and "Time Will Tell." Chess New Orleans is a two-disc set that collects 44 hits, misses, album tracks, and previously unreleased recordings from the Chess vaults, including cuts from the subsidiary labels Checker and Argo, and distributed sides like Rod Bernard's hit "This Should Go On Forever." Certain artists, such as Bobby Charles, Clarence Henry, Sugar Boy Crawford (maker of the first version of "Iko Iko," titled "Jock-A-Mo"), and Paul Gayten, are well represented with up to a half dozen tracks each. The selections run the gamut from straight rock and R&B to Clifton Chenier's accordion-driven Cajun sides to regional novelties like the Hawketts' "Mardi Gras Mambo." Chess New Orleans is not a representative regional or hits anthology but revives many worthwhile rarities for collectors.

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