Half Notes: 101 Runners, Mardi Gras Indian Funk (2011)

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Percussionist Chris Jones leads a relentlessly groovy ensemble through a series of songs as rhythmic as they are spiritual on Mardi Gras Indian Funk, issued recently by Mardi Gras Records. For the uninitiated, “Old Black Johnny” details the history and passion of the Mardi Gras Indian tradition, in the person of an early mentor to Big Chief Monk Boudreaux (of the Golden Eagles), one of two principal singers featured as part of the 101 Runners. Boudreaux is also featured on “Shotgun Joe” and “Shallow Water.” Elsewhere, War Chief Juan Pardo of the Golden Comanches takes over lead vocals. By the time it’s over, Mardi Gras Indian Funk — recorded live at Tipitina’s in New Orleans on Super Bowl Saturday, Feb. 6, 2010 — has breathed new life into a street-level tradition that combined age-old local Indian chants with deep-fried instrumental R&B – a tangy amalgam that first found wide notice 40 years ago when Willie Tee and Bo Dollis collaborated to create a classic New Orleans gumbo of sounds.

‘Half Notes’ are quick-take thoughts on music from Something Else! Reviews, presented whenever the mood strikes us.

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Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso

Nick DeRiso has written for USA Today, American Songwriter, All About Jazz, and a host of others. Honored as columnist of the year five times by the Associated Press, Louisiana Press Association and Louisiana Sports Writers Association, he oversaw a daily section named Top 10 in the U.S. by the AP before co-founding Something Else! Nick is now associate editor of Ultimate Classic Rock.
Nick DeRiso
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