James Booker

Resurrection of the Bayou Maharajah: Live at the Maple Leaf Bar

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For a man of such talent and influence, New Orleans piano legend James Booker is amazingly under-recorded. This disc and its partner (Spiders on the Keys) offer up some measure of what the folks of the Big Easy might have heard if they caught Booker on one of his "on" nights (he was a known drug user and inconsistent in his playing). He is at his best here (recorded at the Maple Leaf between 1972-1982), focused and intense in his playing, wildly passionate on both keyboards and vocals. Some songs are repeated on the companion disc, but each treatment makes the songs new again, so that even his standards are always fresh and vital. Sheer genius at the keyboards and unrestrained, heartfelt vocals on such highlights as Fats Domino's "All By Myself," "The Fat Man," and "St. James Infirmary."

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