Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mardi Gras Funk - The Wild Magnolias

New Orleans Music is a year round obsession here at Funk or Die, so the fact that Fat Tuesday has passed, and the necklaces and vomit have been cleaned up, doesn't mean a thing to me. The bon temps continue to roullez.

Mostly because, New Orleans is the well that America draws its music legacy from, and the depth of NOLA's contribution to American music is more than just lives and breathes. The city has music coursing through it today, and if you are from there or have visited, you know this. A few weeks of focus on the music of New Orleans once a year is simply not enough.  Mardi Gras, of course, is an important part of NOLA culture. Mardi Gras is all about parades, many parades. One of the long time participants in these colorful affairs are the Mardi Gras "indian" tribes.

The first Wild Magnolias record ▲...Go get It
Smoke My Peacepipe (Smoke It Right)

(I watched HBO's Treme with great interest, especially the story thread on keeping the "Indian" Tradition alive)

I'm not gonna go into the cultural and historical significance of the tribes, but if you would like to, I suggest picking up the Wild Magnolia's package that was reissued a few years back. It is about the funkiest history lesson you'll ever get. In person, at the parades, you'll see these incredibly costumed social clubs marching, banging on numerous percussion intruments, and chanting generations old Mardi Gras tunes.

In the 70's a French producer who absolutely fell in love with these songs decided he wanted to get the music out to the world. He felt that in order to gain acceptance, he'd have to pair the chants with modern musical stylings. To my (and I'm guessing many funk/NOLA fans) great joy, the fusion here is with funk. Not just any old funk either..Willie Tee (Leader of the Meters-esque instrumental outfit, The Gaturs) Funk. The 2 albums Phillipe Rault and Willie Tee (Wilson Turbinton)cut with The Wild Magnolias and Chief Bo Bollis were re-issued in absolutely deluxe fashion by my new best friends at Sunnyside Records. Not only are these ultra funky albums sounding better than ever, the second CD also features a downloadable 62 page book! If you are into New Orleans and/Or Mardi Gras in any way the book alone is worth the price of admission. Essential Stuff.
New Suit

The second Magnolias record...Go Get It
I stuffed that booklet pdf in this file.

Finally ,for now,  and just for completeness sake (although there are many other Wild Magnolias records you can get of more recent vintage), here's a Funky Delicassies re-issue of some Gaturs singles under the title Wasted..

Go get Wasted

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