Crescent City Gold

The Ultimate Session

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Crescent City Gold is the moniker for a "dream team" of some of New Orleans R&B's greatest musicians. Four of these great players, drummer Earl Palmer, baritone sax player Alvin "Red" Tyler, pianist Edward Frank, and tenor sax player Lee Allen, have been studio musicians since the 1950s, and they amply demonstrate their 40 years of musical experience on The Ultimate Session. Joining them are two musicians who are slightly younger, yet whose credentials are completely above suspicion: Allen Toussaint and Mac Rebennack (it is a tribute to the authenticity of The Ultimate Session that Rebennack is billed by his real name and not his more familiar stage name, Dr. John). These two contribute most of the compositions on this record. "Red and Lee," named after the one-two punch of Tyler and Allen, is perhaps the most immediately attractive tune on the disc, featuring a fantastic sax melody, Earl Palmer at his best, and some extremely skanky guitar from Mr. Rebennack. However, there are some clunkers, like "Cold Blooded Woman," which puts an almost disco beat (?) under Rebennack's blues. Despite this, Allen's quotation of John Coltrane during his solo makes the song at least listenable. The record on the whole weakens a bit toward the end, but it is of such historic importance (and so downright funky throughout) that it is worth tracking down for fans of New Orleans R&B.

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