Put on your purple, green and gold, your masks, beads, and crowns, and get ready for the party of the year: Mardi Gras! Originally a Catholic tradition to end the Carnival, a time of letting loose before the more ascetic weeks of Lent, it has now become a universal occasion for revelry. For those of us in the US, the best-known party takes place in New Orleans, where the Crescent City's music has become inextricably linked with the festivities. For those of us who can't make it down to Louisiana this weekend, this playlist re-creates some of the pageantry of the party and pays tribute to the music and musicians of the Mississippi Delta.
1, 2: from 2 New Orleans brass bands, these give a taste of what music might be playing as the parades stream through the city streets this week.
3, 4: both feature Dr. John on vocals, a New Orleans native. "Mardi Gras Day" was penned by Rebennack himself and truly captures the spirit of the street parties; "Iko Iko" was first recorded by the Dixie Cups in 1965 and has since become a traditional Mardi Gras tune.
5: Winchester, born in Bossier City, LA, and eventually a citizen of Quebec after dodging the draft (an Acadian in reverse?), flexes his French-speaking muscles in this version of a song based on one of the most popular sayings in the Big Easy.
6. Galactic took NOLA funk and jazz and have been creating their own stratosphere with it for almost 20 years now.
7: Palmer recorded his first solo album in New Orleans with help from Little Feat and the Meters. "Sneaking Sally Through The Alley," from that album, has the additional credibility of being penned by New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint.
8: the Nevilles also hail from New Orleans. "Hey Pocky Wocky" was originally recorded by the Meters, a funk outfit that acted as the house band for Allen Touissant's Sansu Enterprises record label; Art and Cyrille were original members of the group.
9-10: both Little Feat and LeRoux were rock bands that incorporated a good de