Various Artists

Essential Louisiana Rhythm and Blues

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New Orleans R&B has always had its own distinct flavor with upbeat, rolling piano lines, fluid horn charts, and a certain joie de vivre in the lyrics that gives it a very special bounce. This interesting set from Fuel collects 15 classic New Orleans and Louisiana tracks from the early- to mid-'60s, including Lee Dorsey's "Ya Ya," a young Aaron Neville's "Over You" (from 1960), Jessie Hill's "Ooh Poo Pah Doo, Pt. 1" ("Part 2," which isn't included here, was an instrumental version of the song by tenor saxophonist Dave Lastie), Chris Kenner's original version of "I Like It Like That" (which later became a big hit for the Dave Clark Five), and Bobby Charles' "Preacher's Daughter." Also included is Eldridge Holmes' superb "Where Is the Love," which sounds like a distant cousin to Marvin Gaye's "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" with its Motown-like (by way of Bourbon Street) feel. Most of these tracks feature the piano and arranging talents of Allen Toussaint, underscoring his tremendous input in the development of R&B in the Big Easy. A fun set, well-worth investigating.

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