Alligator Records will reissue Professor Longhair’s lauded LP Crawfish Fiesta on October 16. The classic album, recorded just months prior to Longhair’s passing in 1979 and released shortly after in 1980, will see a retun to the vinyl format where it has been out of print for more than two decades.
The remastered version will also be available in MP3 format from all major download services. The beloved album, which, upon release, won the first-ever W.C. Handy Blues Album of the year award, features some of the best recorded performances of Fess’ long and storied career. Alligator’s remastered edition will also feature a cover of Percy Mayfield’s R&B nugget “River’s Invitation,” a previously unreleased rehearsal cut.
In addition to claiming the definitive verision of the New Orleans anthem “Big Chief,” Crawfish Festia is also highly regarded for its impeccable musicianship. A short list of musicians supporting Fess at Crawfish Fiesta’s historic Sea-Saint Studios recordings sessions includes Dr. John, Johnny Vidacovich, Tony Dagradi and Alfred “Uganda” Roberts.
Here’s a clip of a purple-suited Fess backed by the Meters performing “Bald Head” in a much more stylish era.