Various Artists

Introduction To: Night Train New Orleans

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Tuff City's Night Train International and Funky Delicacies imprints specialize in rare blues, jazz, and R&B material with a particular emphasis on New Orleans musicians, and the two labels' vigorous release schedules have resulted in a huge catalog of hard to find gems. This two-disc sampler concentrates on New Orleans-based performers and the diversity of styles here is impressive, ranging from boogie-woogie romps to organ-led soul-jazz instrumentals and even some brass band pieces, along with a treasure trove of vocal tracks done in fine New Orleans R&B style. Among the many highlights are Cousin Joe's ragged and rustic "Living on Borrowed Time," the horn funk of the Gaturs on "Sweet Thing," an elegant organ ballad, "Love Has Been Good," from the great (and unsung) Eddie Bo, the vaudeville folk of Doc Souchon on "Animule's Ball," James Black's eerie "Mist," the joyous brass band street stomp of the Soul Rebels on "Skin," and the late Curley Moore's easy and graceful take on "Soul Train." A wonderfully diverse -- yet still cohesive -- anthology, this one is a winner from first track to last.

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