Listening Journal, Southern Journey, March 27

Today our daytime adventure was taking the trolley to Canal and walking all the way to the Bywater neighborhood. Not much music was involved, but we were jump-started out of the hotel room by YouTube videos of James Brown’s Japanese miso commercials. I am not making this up.

On the way back from Bywater (by the way, I HIGHLY recommend Elizabeth’s on Chartres), we stopped in The Marigny and, of course, one more trip to Louisiana Music Factory. The owner must think I am insane–why not get everything in one trip?–but I have to let ideas marinate, plus it takes considerable mental discipline to liberate myself from penny-pinching web purchases and do the right thing: support brick and mortar record stores, especially in NOLA. Also, should the reader assume I am independently wealthy, I have no other spending habits. I’d be wearing a burlap sack if I could get away with it, and if it would add money to my music budget. Yes, I know about streaming and don’t care. Here’s the sum of my booty:

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In the evening, finally able to listen to Bo Dollis, Jr.’s new Mardi Gras Indian rekkid A NEW KIND OF FUNK (it jes grew outta the OLDEST), we drove out to the greatest music venue in America: The Rock ‘N’ Bowl on Carrollton. OK, that ain’t an exaggeration:

The music is always great–this night, new breed zydeco star Geno Delafose and French Rockin’ Boogie, so open and fun and rocking and sweet he had what I assume was a young mentally disabled relative playing washboard and singing along on stage all night.

The crowd? PACKED…with everyone from kids to octogenarians, every shade of pigmentation, across class lines–and almost EVERYONE dances (including us, and I am from the Tom T. Hall school). And most know HOW to dance; we even saw the hoofin’ star of Louisiana Swamp Stomp once again dancing with every free woman on the floor! And…lots of laughter. LOTS.

You can bowl AND listen to live music, and neither activity disrupts the other.

The bar food beats the typical!

The staff is great–a barmaid even tracked me down through the crowd to return a $20 that was “stuck to” the fiver I handed her.

Did I mention the music? It’s a steady diet of SUBSTANTIAL roots rock. Especially zydeco. Just have to mention that Geno zydeco-ized a Lionel Ritchie song–and made it work!

If you do meet friends down here, it is a guaranteed winner. We met two of my former students who happened to be on vacation, too (they are grown, and dating, so it was a pleasure to buy ’em beers and watch ’em dance). Let me let some pics do the rest:

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Mid-City Rock ‘N’ Bowl. 3000 South Carrollton, New Orleans. Before you die.

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