Various Artists

New Orleans: Gris Gris

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There is only one complaint against this collection of stellar sides by legendary New Orleans musicians: the title is pure jive. A gaze at the track list reveals that this is simply a stone-cold compilation of classic New Orleans R&B, soul, and blues. Even opener "Zu Zu Man" by Dr. John has more to do with swamp blues than it does voodoo. That aside, while any serious fan of NOLA music more than likely has most of these 40 cuts -- spread here over two discs -- hearing them sequenced like this makes for one singular party mix. For anyone who has had only the slightest of introduction to the profound sounds of the Crescent City, this comp, for the money, simply cannot be beat, with tracks from the Meters, Eddie Bo, Clarence "Frogman" Henry, Slim Harpo, Robert Parker, Barbara Lynn, Chris Kenner, Irma Thomas, Lee Dorsey, Huey "Piano" Smith, Fats Domino, Allen Toussaint, and on and on. This set is all killer, no filler.

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