Some of the songs on this month’s playlist are good ones we may have overlooked when released last year; others are ones that recent events just seem to call for.
Allen Toussaint: “On Your Way Down”: In one of his greatest songs, Toussaint persuasively argued that all the riches in the world won’t do you any good if you’re not taking care of your soul. This is going to be the song we play while watching the inauguration, assuming we watch it at all.
Cowboy Mouth: “Bad Men”: In this punky rocker (a new song from last year’s greatest-hits album) Fred LeBlanc said that “bad men run the world.” Not going to add this to our inauguration playlist, are we? Take a wild guess.
Paul Sanchez: “I Still Believe”: Seems that a lot of people went through crises of faith in 2016, and Sanchez takes that topic head-on with this track from his excellent Heart Renovations album. Before turning into a rousing singalong, Sanchez lays down the nature of life: “First we’re all fine, then we’re all fucked, then we’re all fine again.” Any questions?
Irene Sage: “Soulshine”: Another inspirational one, from the album (Love is Good) that got somewhat overlooked. The best song that Warren Haynes wrote in his tenure with the Allman Brothers Band, it calls for a singer who can make you feel the grit as well as the hope. Gregg Allman was suitably gritty on the original, but Sage makes it more of a gospel-flavored uplift.
Luke Winslow-King: “I’m Glad Trouble Don’t Last Always”: All this inauguration talk seems to have us on a jag for “hope in the dark hour” songs. Luke Winslow-King did a whole album on that topic this year. And despite any cranky things he may have said in interviews, the title track stands as a wise and warm-hearted tonic.
Margie Perez: “Love is All”: Another inspirational message, and the title track from another good CD that fell somewhat under the radar in 2016. Perez is the muse of good vibes on this track, and never mind what you got or didn’t get in ’16: Some of the album’s songs (“Sex Is,” “Reefer Gladness”) call on things that still make anyone’s life worthwhile.
The Radiators: “Long Way Down”: Shifting gears to better upcoming things, the Rads are once again set to play three nights’ worth of reunion sets at Tipitina’s this month. So we submit a request for this tune, a great Malone-sung swamp rocker. It somehow hasn’t been a regular part of the reunion shows, even though the song got loads of live play when it first showed up around 1999.
Anders Osborne: “Old Country”: Anders barely gave us time to digest the two albums he released in 2016; last month he returned to the studio to cut two more for 2017. So before dealing with those, make sure to give a good few listens to this nine-minute epic that highlighted Flower Box, an album full of live-sounding energy.
Little Queenie & the Percolators: “My Darlin’ New Orleans”: A beloved figure in New Orleans music who moved away some years back, Queenie’s been putting up a heroic fight against cancer over the past year. So we’re looking forward to the day when she’s once again ready to go onstage and perform her greatest hit.
Professor Longhair: “Big Chief”: Included here because, well, it’s a new year. And everybody knows that any year that you don’t hear “Big Chief” is a year wasted.