The Carnival Day: The Essential Recordings of New Orleans

Various Artists

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The Carnival Day: The Essential Recordings of New Orleans Review

by Richie Unterberger

This anthology of New Orleans R&B is a little undersold by the packaging, which lists the song titles on the back cover, but not the artists. The track listings on the inner sleeve do at least give the personnel on each recording, leaving the hapless consumer to make the final, intuitive leap of logic to deduct that the vocalist is the actual performer. At any rate, it's a decent 24-track grouping of very early New Orleans R&B performances, spanning 1947-1950, laying some important groundwork for early rock & roll before rock & roll had a name. Aside from Fats Domino's "The Fat Man" and Professor Longhair's "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" and "Bald Head," it's doubtful that any of these tunes are instantly familiar to many rock and blues fans, though Archibald's "Stack-A-Lee" is the first R&B adaptation of a folk song that also provided the basis for Lloyd Price's huge pop hit "Stagger Lee." Overall it's solid, if sometimes generic and lo-fi, New Orleans R&B with more of a blues/boogie/jazz base than the more widespread New Orleans rock sounds of the last half of the 1950s, also including tracks by noted Crescent City figures Paul Gayten, Roy Brown, Dave Bartholomew, and Smiley Lewis. Professor Longhair, whether under the name of Roy Byrd or his nom de plume, is the most frequent contributor, with nine songs. Those looking for something more obscure may be satisfied by the inclusion of efforts by Joseph August, Chubby Newsome, and Jewel King.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Paul Gayten / Robert Green / George Pryor / Jack Scott 02:41 Amazon
2 Roy Brown 03:06 Amazon
3 Dave Bartholomew / Frank Fields / Herb Hardesty / Joe Harris / Salvadore Doucette, Jr. / Ernest McLean / Chubby Newsome 02:54 Amazon
4 Lee Allen / Joe August / Paul Gayten / Emile Maurice / James Prevost / Rupert Roberts 02:42 Amazon
5 Dave Bartholomew / Frank Fields / Clarence Hall / Joe Harris / Fred Lands / Ernest McLean 02:59 Amazon
6 Lee Allen / Dave Bartholomew / Frank Fields / Salvadore Doucette, Jr. / Jewel King / Fred Lands / Ernest McLean / Alvin "Red" Tyler 02:35 Amazon
7 Fats Domino 02:38 Amazon
8 Professor Longhair / Al Miller / Robert Parker 02:44 Amazon
9 Professor Longhair / Al Miller / Robert Parker 02:25 Amazon
10 Professor Longhair / Al Miller / Robert Parker 02:16 Amazon
11 Professor Longhair / Al Miller / Robert Parker 02:21 Amazon
12 Fats Domino 02:46 Amazon
13 Dave Bartholomew / Clarence Hall / Joe Harris / John "Papa John" Joseph / Smiley Lewis / Herman Seale / Tuts Washington 02:14 Amazon
14 Archibald / Chuck Badie / Dave Bartholomew / Clarence Hall / Joe Harris / Ernest McLean / Thomas Moore 05:12 Amazon
15 Dave Bartholomew / Salvadore Doucette, Jr. 02:34 Amazon
16 Dave Bartholomew / Clarence Hall / Joe Harris / John "Papa John" Joseph / Smiley Lewis / Herman Seale / Tuts Washington 02:25 Amazon
17 John Boudreaux / Roy Byrd / George Miller / Robert Parker 02:31 Amazon
18 John Boudreaux / Roy Byrd / George Miller / Robert Parker 02:49 Amazon
19 John Boudreaux / Roy Byrd / George Miller / Robert Parker 02:39 Amazon
20 John Boudreaux / Roy Byrd / George Miller / Robert Parker 02:28 Amazon
21 Roy Byrd / Louis Joseph / George Miller / Walter Nelson 03:02 Amazon
22 Fats Domino 02:42 Amazon
23 Archibald / Chuck Badie / Dave Bartholomew / Clarence Hall / Joe Harris / Ernest McLean / Thomas Moore 02:40 Amazon
24 Fats Domino 02:30 Amazon
blue highlight denotes track pick