Various Artists

Get Low Down!: The Soul of New Orleans, '65-'67

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Get Low Down!: The Soul of New Orleans, '65-'67 Review

by Richie Unterberger

Although it wasn't the most renowned phase of his career, in the mid-'60s Allen Toussaint did a great deal of arranging, producing, and songwriting for the Sansu label. This double CD has 50 songs that came out on Sansu, and occasionally on Bell and Tou-Sea, during that era, including four previously unreleased tracks. Of all these tunes, just two, Lee Dorsey's "Ride Your Pony" and "Holy Cow," were sizable national hits, and indeed other than Dorsey none of the performers are that famed, though Benny Spellman, Betty Harris, Earl King, and Art Neville all made some noted marks on the R&B scene. This is the sound of early New Orleans rock and R&B turning into full-fledged soul music, although New Orleans soul would never became as successful and identifiable a brand as Detroit, Memphis, Philadelphia, or New York soul. While it's fairly strong stuff with a distinctively New Orleans pre-funk beat and some bluesy licks, it lacks the classic melodies and hooks of the best 1960s soul, and there's some sameyness to much of the material, a little over half of which was penned by Toussaint. It does much to fill in an under-documented part of New Orleans rock history, though, since many of these releases, by such obscure singers as Curly Moore, Eldridge Holmes, Diamond Joe, and Willie Harper, have rarely or never been reissued. While it might seem that Dorsey and Harris are under-represented by this compilation (with just two songs each), note that each is well represented by single-artist anthologies should you want to take a deeper dive.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Lee Dorsey 02:56 Amazon
2 Benny Spellman 02:30 Amazon
3 Wallace Johnson 02:37 Amazon
4 Eldridge Holmes 02:46 Amazon
5 Betty Harris 02:32 Amazon
6 Curley Moore 02:28 Amazon
7 Curley Moore 02:23 Amazon
8 Diamond Joe 02:52 Amazon
9 Raymond Lewis 02:55 Amazon
10 Earl King 02:15 Amazon
11 Bobby Lu Cure 03:05 Amazon
12 Willie Harper 02:18 Amazon
13 The Rubaiyats 02:15 Amazon
14 Diamond Joe 02:27 Amazon
15 Art Neville 02:52 Amazon
16 Eldridge Holmes 02:57 Amazon
17 John Williams & the Tick Tocks 02:18 Amazon
18 Willie & Allen 01:44 Amazon
19 Lee Calvin 02:10 Amazon
20 Wallace Johnson 03:13 Amazon
21 Diamond Joe 02:33 Amazon
22 Curley Moore 02:55 Amazon
23 John Williams & the Tick Tocks 01:55 Amazon
24 Willie Harper 02:33 Amazon
The Prime Mates 02:39 Amazon

Track Listing - Disc 2

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Diamond Joe 02:27 Amazon
2 Wallace Johnson 02:48 Amazon
3 John Williams & the Tick Tocks 01:59 Amazon
4 Ray Algere 02:23 Amazon
5 Curley Moore 02:45 Amazon
6 Eldridge Holmes 02:53 Amazon
7 Betty Harris 02:56 Amazon
8 Willie Harper 02:37 Amazon
9 The Rubaiyats 02:43 Amazon
10 Lee Dorsey 02:33 Amazon
11 Earl King 03:01 Amazon
12 Bobby Lu Cure 02:53 Amazon
13 Lee Calvin 02:02 Amazon
14 John Williams & the Tick Tocks 03:05 Amazon
15 Benny Spellman 02:38 Amazon
16 Curley Moore 02:48 Amazon
17 Willie & Allen 02:20 Amazon
18 Raymond Lewis 02:59 Amazon
19 Wallace Johnson 02:19 Amazon
20 Eldridge Holmes 02:28 Amazon
21 Diamond Joe 02:38 Amazon
22 Willie Harper 02:16 Amazon
23 Curley Moore 02:21 Amazon
24 Art Neville 02:44 Amazon
The Prime Mates 02:52 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick