Various ‘Meet me at the Mardi Gras’ (Rounder) 3/5

New Orleans music has never really been out of fashion and this handy overview of the scene old and new will help to to place neophytes in the right direction. Joe Liggins and the Honeydrippers are among the stars of the show with the CDs most impressive outing being ‘Goin’ back to New Orleans’. If the superb vocals are old school with jazzy brass (featuring clarinet and baritone saxophone no less) that Ray Charles circa 1959 would have been proud of, this contemporary recording hits all the right spots and then some. Legendary pianist-singer Professor Longhhair, better known as the Fess cooks up some fine gumbo on the title track with his oh so distinctive piano licks and trademark whistling. Anyone who has not yet investigated his back catalogue should do so with immediate effect. Another Fess classic, ‘Tipitina’ is reworked by Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias with a version that is heavy on percussion and brass. Brass bands are an integral ferature of New Orleans music and in recent decades the Re Birth Brass Band have been at the forefront of promoting the city’s rich musical heritage internationally. Here they offer a decidely funky ‘Do watcha wanna Pt. 3’. Time-wise, at forty-five minutes this compilation is a tad stingy and a further twenty minutes would have been welcome. No disputing the quality of the music on offer, though. Tim Stenhouse

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