- Big Easy Boogie
- Mitch Woods
- Club 88 Records
If you like fun, up-tempo boogie, with a New Orleans flavor, you’ll like Mitch Wood’s BIG EASY BOOGIE. If anybody doesn’t already know, “Big Easy” is a nickname for New Orleans (others are “NOLA”, “Crescent City”, and “Land of Dreams”). The legacy of NOLA roots piano men stretches through Jelly Roll Morton, Tuts Washington, James Booker, Professor (“Fess”) Longhair, Fats Domino, and SBBS 29th Anniversary performerHenry Butler. To this (incomplete) list of the Louisiana “real deal” must be added their neighbor from up the river a piece, the “Ferriday Fireball”, Jerry Lee Lewis (aka “the Killer” – they’all sure do like nicknames down there!). Many musicians from elsewhere have adopted this infectious music, usually with very pleasant results. This list would include Marcia Ball, Jon Cleary, SBBS friends Carl Sonny Leyland and Rob Rio, and, clearly, Mitch Woods, who was born in New York, and now resides in San Francisco. (See for biog at Blind Pig Records.
On this album Woods draws heavily on the NOLA vibe, and refers to the “Big Muddy,” “Rampart Street,” and “fried oysters” (although he somehow missed “fried oyster PO-BOYs”!). The piano intro on “Mojo Mambo” (which features special guest singer Maria Muldaur) sounds a lot like Fess’s “Big Chief” and the last line refers to doing the “Longhair shuffle.” Fats’s “I’m Ready” (…I’m willin’ and I’m able to rock n roll all night.) is covered. The list of musicians includes Dave Bartholomew, the trumpet player whose band made all of Fats’ hits, Charmaine Neville as another special guest, and some other NOLA veterans. Mitch’s voice and arrangements are reminiscent of the Killer, albeit without his wry nuances and exquisite timing. The arrangements include a lot of piano and horns but no notable guitar, especially curious since NOLA slide wizard John Mooney is listed as yet another special guest.
This CD makes for great listening and would be a lively addition to a party. However, don’t forget that the old (and Henry’s new) “roots” original stuff is mostly still available.