Professor Longhair by Lindsay Shannon

An Unreleased Professor Longhair Live Album Will See the Light of Day

A previously unreleased Professor Longhair recording will finally see the light of day this year. The forthcoming album–Live at the University of Chicago Folk Festival – February 1, 1976--is slated for release on April 12 via Orleans Records.

Professor Longhair cover 1 (1)Live at The University of Chicago Folk Festival finds the iconic New Orleans pianist, whose real name was Henry Roeland Byrd, performing with a quintet that includes Billy Gregory (lead guitar), Will Harvey (rhythm guitar), Julius Farmer (bass guitar) and Earl Gordon (drums).

The album’s liner notes were written by poet, political activist and longtime WWOZ DJ John Sinclair. An excerpt reads:

The recording under hand is the result of Longhair’s appearance at the  Chicago Folk Festival in early 1976 that was recorded by a local radio station and mixed under the supervision of Billy Gregory, who kept his copy of the tape for about 25 years before presenting it to Carlo Ditta at Orleans Records for a listen. There have been any number of official and semi-official “live” Professor Longhair recordings issued since the pianist’s untimely passing in 1980, but this record offers incontrovertible evidence of the power and drive of the mid-70s edition of Fess’s band with Billy Gregory featured prominently on guitar.

More information on Live at the University of Chicago will be available in the coming weeks, but you can take a look at the tracklist below.

Live at the University of Chicago Folk Festival – February 1, 1976

SIDE A
1. “Intro” (0:19)
2. “Doin’ It” (4:54) written by Roland Byrd
3. “Big Chief” (3:49) written by Earl King
4. “Every Day I Have The Blues” (4:48) written by Peter Chatman

SIDE B
1. “Mess Around” (4:52) written by Ahmet Ertegun
2.”Mardi Gras In New Orleans” (3:01) written by Roland Byrd
3. “Got My Mojo Working” (4:36) written by Preston Foster
4. “FeSS’s Boogie” (2:49) written by Roland Byrd

  • I can’t wait to give this album a listen to. Fess’ Lives!

  • Barry Obama

    I saw Fess so many times in the seventies. Spemt a break outside the Maple Leaf in the back seat of his Cadillac or somebodys…… investigating inhalation techniques. What a great man,. Seeing Fess live was the absolute best. Now that I am the age he was when he died it is even more apparent how really young he was when he left us. The best thing Quint Davis and Alison Miner ever did was bringing Fess out of the shadows. Ah the old days……Never to be repeated.. Fess Lives…….God Bless Him.