New Orleans bluesman Coco Robicheaux lays down some tracks that are good for both listening and dancing on his 2000 CD release Hoo Doo Party.
This is New Orleans party music at its best. Offbeat Magazine's choice for Best Bluesman of 1998 plays his guitar with typical verve, while his gritty vocals tell the story of the blues on self-penned tunes as well as on some blues classics.
Robicheaux is joined on the recording by Skip Easterling on organ and vocals, Pat Ramsey on harmonica, Steve Howell on drums, Earl Stanley on bass, Dave Easleyon pedal steel, and Rick Allen on organ, piano, and keyboards. Irene Sage adds her smoky voice to that of her musical colleague, Robicheaux, for a heady brew of hoodoo blues, for which the city of New Orleans is known.
In perfect hoodoo style, Robicheaux begins casting a spell with the opening number, "Burn My Bones." With that thought in mind, things take off on the kind of atmospheric musical meandering that characterizes both the big easy and Robicheaux's personal style. Professor Longhair is invoked with "In the Wee, Wee Hours." Some of the many faces of love are touched upon in "Real Smooth Talker," "Li'l Black Hen,""Fair in Love," "Mean Ole Lady," and "The Grass Looks Greener." Standout selections include the humorous "Thrift Store Suit," "Decision Blues," as well as the title cut. By the time the CD is over, these practitioners of the musical arts have cast a spell on the listener that captures the seductive allure of a dark and mysterious night in the city of New Orleans.
Like his debut, Smithville is another set of thoroughly winning straight-ahead bop from the underappreciated trumpeter Louis Smith.
Stylistically, there are no surprises here -- this is mainstream bop and hard bop, comprised of original and contemporary bop numbers, as well as standards ("There'll Never Be Another You," "Embraceable You") -- but since the music is performed so well, it doesn't matter. There is genuine passion to this music, not only from Smith, but also from pianist Sonny Clark, tenor saxophonist Charlie Rouse, bassist Paul Chambers and drummer Art Taylor. It's a first-rate hard bop set that deserves wider distribution than it has received.