For as long as I’ve been going to New Orleans, Bourbon Street has been something of an eye sore, and sadly, a shadow of the place where jazz resounded from every door front. Spending as much time as I have in this wonderful city, you live and learn, and you come to realize, a tourist strip aimed at those whose main goal is to get drunk and puke is not what New Orleans is all about. Anytime I hear from someone who made their first pilgrimage to the Crescent City, only to say “it’s not all that,” I usually find out seconds later, they spent most of their time on Bourbon Street. Still, it remains a curiosity, with it’s bright lights and almost constant activity. But for those who long for the riches of New Orleans’ culture and music, Bourbon Street is no more rewarding than the Mall Of America.
Just a short walk from the French Quarter in a hood called The Marigny, there is a strip which is no longer a secret; a place with a history…Jelly Roll Morton lived there…a street where you can hear the sounds of New Orleans, traditional jazz, deep Southern soul, country blues, and big bold brass emanating from any one of the many clubs along its stretch. This is Frenchmen Street.
Mystery Street Records has just released a fantastic new collection, showcasing some of the finest artists New Orleans has to offer. These artists have made Frenchmen Street “the” place to be for music in New Orleans.
You know I love this city, and you have seen plenty of New Orleans mixes offered here. But “Sounds Of New Orleans: Frenchmen Street,” the first in hopefully a long line of themed CDs from Mystery Street” is hard to top. There is no filler on this collection. (John Boutté’s live version of Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927,” which is exclusive to this CD, is reason enough to dive in.)
I’m giving this CD a big Sal thumbs-up, so go get it. It’s available as both a CD and a download here: