Richard Piano Scott’s Twisty River Band, Port of New Orleans (Independent)

Richard Scott is one of those fellows—there are a few in town—who boggle with their ability to play multiple instruments: In his case, trombone, tuba, guitar, bass, and at the upper echelons, piano and accordion. He was a longtime pianist and later trombonist with the Dukes of Dixieland, and now can be found at Fritzel’s and many other locales.

This “Twisty River Band” takes a little while to hit its stride, but ends up yielding some pretty fine songs. “Uncle Sammy’s Alligator Farm” finds Scott singing in a Dr. John/Tom Waits growl/persona, which is quite funny if you know how genteel a dude he is. The second-lining “Birthday in New Orleans” is a clever concept song that needed to be written, spoiled only by the absurd line, “It’s never rainy or cold.” “Maybe You Should Dance” speaks an eternal truth.

The album’s apex, and a song that should be a new New Orleans standard (almost impossible these days, it seems) is “Awful Nice People.” It’s a funny mix of bonhomie and implied violence, and was inspired by one of Danny Barker’s tales. The following cut, “Going Home to Glory,” is about as good a hymn as I’ve ever heard a local write.

The back-up cast is solid, with Ryan Burrage and Gerald French taking top honors. I’m very glad to have this disc; Scott has not produced enough of these in his two decades here.

—Tom McDermott