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Review: Our New Orleans 2005: A Benefit Album

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Artist: Various Artists
Album: Our New Orleans 2005: A Benefit Album
Label: Nonesuch
Web: Nonesuch Product Page
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

On December 6th, 2005, Nonesuch Records will release a compilation album by New Orleans artists. All of the net proceeds from the album, entitled Our New Orleans 2005: A Benefit Album, will be donated to Habitat For Humanity and specifically earmarked for those rebuilding their lives in New Orleans. In addition, Warner Brothers Music is donating all of the production costs on behalf of hurricane victims. The worthy cause being supported by this release should be enough to make you run out and buy it the day it’s released, but the music contained on this excellent disc makes it worth 10 times it’s weight in gold.

Nonesuch did a fine job of bringing together a group of artists that are the “real deal”. The disc simply oozes everything that’s so special about the music of the big easy and paints a wide swath of styles that have one thing in common; they’re all 100% New Orleans. From the mournful New Orleans Jazz funeral (as depicted on the cover) to danceable Cajun rhythms to soulful, blues-tinged R&B, Our New Orleans will make you reflect, but more importantly it will give you hope. Musicians were especially hard hit by hurricane Katrina and it’s a breath of fresh air to see that the very first thing many of them did was get into a studio and raise funds for victims.

Included on this fantastic and touching compilation are:

Allen Toussaint, the most influential figure in New Orleans R&B

Dr. John, the blues and boogie rock legend whose stage name comes from a legendary Louisiana voodoo practitioner

Irma Thomas, the “Soul Queen of New Orleans”

Davell Crawford, the new “Crown Prince of New Orleans Music”

Buckwheat Zydeco, the biggest name in Cajun Zydeco music

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the premier Louisiana brass band

The list goes on and on.

Our New Orleans 2005 was made quickly, over the course of a single month and the feelings these artists have for their city was captured perfectly. It’s a snapshot in time that you simply cannot pass up.

Track Listings:

1. Yes We Can Can – Allen Toussaint
2. World I Never Made – Dr. John
3. Back Water Blues – Irma Thomas
4. Gather by the River – Davell Crawford
5. Cryin’ in the Streets – Buckwheat Zydeco
6. Canal Street Blues – Dr. Michael White
7. Brother John Is Gone/Herc-Jolly-John – Wild Magnolias
8. When the Saints Go Marching In – Eddie Bo
9. My Feet Can’t Fail Me Now – Dirty Dozen Brass Band
10. Tou’ les jours ç’est pas la même – Carol Fran
11. L’Ouragon – BeauSoleil
12. Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans – Preservation Hall Jazz Band
13. Prayer for New Orleans – Charlie Miller
14. What a Wonderful World – The Wardell Quezergue Orchestra featuring Donald Harrison
15. Tipitina and Me – Allen Toussaint
16. Philharmonic Louisiana 1927 – Randy Newman and the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra with members of the New York

Robert Burke spends much of his time lovingly crafting thematic music playlists on the Rhapsody Radish.

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