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Alterkaker Hot 3

February 16, 2015

It's Mardi Gras time. Let's get the good times rolling with a trio of New Orleans musical legends: Dr. John, The Neville Brothers and Professor Longhair.

Litanie des Saints, by Dr. John

This is the opening track of the John "Mac" Rebennack, aka Dr. John, Goin Back To New Orleans album of 1992. Rolling Stone Magazine wrote that the song “weaves together strains of nineteenth-century folk-based classicism, African and Catholic religious ritual, call-and-response vocals featuring Cyril Neville with the good doctor and a syncopated ragtime piano coda into a revelatory piece of music.”

Dr. John came to prominence in the early 1970s with a wildly theatrical stage show inspired by medicine shows, Mardi Gras costumes and voodoo ceremonies. The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and six-time Grammy winner scored his only top-20 hit with "Right Place Wrong Time” in 1973.

You’re Driving Me Crazy, by Professor Longhair

Henry Roeland "Roy" Byrd, aka Professor Longhair, was a legendary New Orleans blues singer and pianist and is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is credited to putting funk into traditional New Orleans music. "Fess" was big during the heyday of early American rhythm and blues, and then enjoyed a resurgence of popularity during the 1970s.

You’re Driving Me Crazy comes from his Crawfish Fiesta album from 1979 -- only months before his death in January 1980. 

Brother John/Iko Iko, by The Neville Brothers

The Neville Brothers are something of the house band for Mardi Gras. In 1981 the group released Fiyo on the Bayou, which featured background vocals performed by a young Whitney Houston and her mother Cissy Houston. "Iko Iko,” a much-covered New Orleans song, was first recorded by The Dixie Cups in 1965. The Neville Brothers released this version on the Fiyo album as a mix with the melodically-related Mardi Gras song Brother John.

Dr. John
Professor Longhair
The Neville Brothers
February 3, 2015

Cupid, by Amy Winehouse

Sam Cooke released this tune on May 16, 1961. In 2007, Amy Winehouse came out with this reggae/jazz style rendition for a special edition of her award-winning album Back to Black.


Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours, by Anju Ramapriyam

This soul single by Stevie Wonder was recorded for in June 1970, and the same year was released as the title track on Wonder’s album Signed, Sealed & Delivered. The song was the first single Wonder produced on his own. This version by Anju Ramapriyam comes from the 2010 soundtrack to the movie Valentine’s Day.


Matchbox, by Paul McCartney

This rockabilly song was first recorded by Carl Perkins in December 1956. The Beatles, big fans of Perkins, covered it in 1961 with Pete Best on lead vocals. McCartney owns the rights to the song; this version is from his live 1976 Tripping The Live Fantastic CD.

Amy Winehouse, Back to Black
Anju Ramapriyam
Paul McCartney
January 23, 2015

One Too Many Mornings, by Johnny Cash & The Avett Brothers

Thanks to the magic of studio recording, The Avett Brothers, the popular band from North Carolina, were able to harmonize with the late Johnny Cash on this Bob Dylan tune. One can only imagine how good they would have sounded together if Cash was still alive.

Heartaches By The Number, by Rosanne Cash & Elvis Costello

Released in 2009 on Rosanne’s The List CD. “The List” refers to a list of 100 essential country songs her father gave her to listen to; the CD features twelve of these. Elvis Costello needs little introduction, except perhaps to remind that he has been going at it since his great debut album My Aim Is True in 1977.

This song was first published in 1959 by Harlan Howard, and Guy Mitchell’s version of it in that same year was the only rendition to reach number one. Still, it’s been covered by innumerable artists: Jerry Lee Lewis, Connie Francis, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings…and so forth.

New Morning, by Darren Criss with Chuck Criss & Freelance Whales

Darren Criss and brother Chuck Criss (from the indie band Freelance Whales) contributed this Dylan track to the 2012 Chimes of Freedom collection of Dylan tunes put out by Amnesty International. Darren Criss is perhaps more well known for his character on the TV show Glee.

The Avett Brothers
Rosanne Cash & Elvis Costello
Darren Criss with Chuck Criss & Freelance Whales