Various Artists

Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans

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It reads splendidly on paper: Shout Factory's Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens: The Big Ol' Box of New Orleans is a traveler's guide to the legendary city's rich musical heritage. Over the course of four discs, it attempts to touch on all of the kinds of music associated with New Orleans -- everything from brass bands and piano blues to zydeco, jazz and klezmer -- and represent recordings from the '20s to the modern day. Add an 84-page book, complete with advice on where tourists should go in the Crescent City, and it seems like this is the definitive word on New Orleans. Well, not quite. While the idea of mixing eras is theoretically appealing, since it would emphasize common threads within New Orleans music, it winds up being distracting not only because of the different qualities of recordings, but because the sequencing isn't logical; instead of leading the listener through the changes, subtly instructing on the similarities between the seemingly dissimilar styles, the box seems like it's stuck on shuffle-play, whipping between songs without much rhyme or reason. And that haphazard sequencing brings another troubling flaw with the set into sharp relief: the musicians behind the recent recordings simply aren't a patch on the giants that provide New Orleans music with its heart, soul, blood and bone. Those musicians are here, no doubt -- Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint, the Meters, Professor Longhair, Smiley Lewis, the Neville Brothers, Dr. John, Huey "Piano" Smith -- are all here, but when they're combined with solid but undistinguished modern artists, the results are less than definitive. It's pleasant, and representative of what you'd hear on a trip to New Orleans, and the book is highly instructive, but as a pure, enjoyable listening experience, Doctors, Professors, Kings and Queens pales next to previous New Orleans sets.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1
Theryl DeClouet / Galactic 00:15 Amazon
2 Kermit Ruffins 04:28 Amazon
3 Fats Domino 02:07 Amazon
4 Dr. John 04:08 Amazon
5 Louis Armstrong & His Hot Seven 02:54 Amazon
6 Percolators / Lil Queenie 04:01 Amazon
7 The Iguanas 03:17 Amazon
8 Big Chief Monk Boudreaux / Anders Osborne 04:36 Amazon
9 Clarence "Frogman" Henry 02:19 Amazon
10 Rebirth Brass Band 05:05 Amazon
11 BeauSoleil 03:38 Amazon
12 Ernie K-Doe 02:32 Amazon
13 Marcia Ball 04:30 Amazon
14 The Radiators 04:11 Amazon
15 The Meters 04:03 Amazon
16 Jelly Roll Morton 03:13 Amazon
17
Paul Sanchez 03:48 Amazon
18 Vernel Bagneris 03:01 Amazon
19 The Clowns / Huey "Piano" Smith 02:17 Amazon
20 Jon Cleary & the Absolute Monster Gentlemen 05:28 Amazon
21 Johnny Adams 02:51 Amazon
22 Sidney Bechet & His New Orleans Feetwarmers 03:13 Amazon
23 Clifton Chenier 03:35 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 3

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Dave Bartholomew 02:05 Amazon
2 Dr. Michael White 05:01 Amazon
3
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown 04:40 Amazon
4 Aaron Neville 02:41 Amazon
5 Coolbone 03:15 Amazon
6 French Rockin' Boogie / Geno Delafose 03:06 Amazon
7 Al Johnson 02:41 Amazon
8
Fredy Omar 05:04 Amazon
9 Shirley & Lee 02:24 Amazon
10 Evan Christopher / Tom McDermott 03:53 Amazon
11 Champion Jack Dupree 03:48 Amazon
12 Raymond Anthony Myles 03:58 Amazon
13 Smiley Lewis 02:45 Amazon
14 Steve Riley & the Mamou Playboys 03:07 Amazon
15 The Red Stick Ramblers 04:37 Amazon
16 Frankie Ford 02:44 Amazon
17 Henry Butler 03:49 Amazon
18 New Birth Brass Band 03:06 Amazon
19 Zydeco Hi-Rollers / Beau Jocque 04:15 Amazon
20 Chris Kenner 01:57 Amazon
21 James Booker 03:08 Amazon
22 Allen Toussaint 03:34 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 4

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Professor Longhair 02:39 Amazon
2 The Wild Magnolias 04:43 Amazon
3 Ellis Marsalis 04:29 Amazon
4 Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews 03:15 Amazon
5 Sonny Landreth 03:40 Amazon
6 Benny Spellman 02:25 Amazon
7 Reggie Houston / Amasa Miller / Charmaine Neville 05:46 Amazon
8 Little Richard 02:23 Amazon
9 Kid Ory's Creole Jazz Band 03:31 Amazon
10 Anders Osborne 04:52 Amazon
11 Bruce Daigrepont 02:28 Amazon
12 New Orleans Jazz Vipers 05:25 Amazon
13 Walter "Wolfman" Washington 03:03 Amazon
14 Lloyd Price 02:32 Amazon
15 Eddie Bo 05:01 Amazon
16 Tim Laughlin 04:03 Amazon
17 Snooks Eaglin 03:53 Amazon
18 Mem Shannon & The Membership / Mem Shannon 03:43 Amazon
19 Savoy-Doucet Cajun Band 03:49 Amazon
20 Pete Fountain 03:39 Amazon
21 Louis Armstrong & His Dixieland Seven 02:58 Amazon
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