8 tracks ► songs for Mardi Gras


►  Let the Good Times Roll. New Orleans is a much-celebrated city–and never more so than during Mardi Gras season. The city has a storied past and colorful figures that make the Big Easy a popular destination in travel and in song.

In fact, New Orleans makes a cameo appearance in scores and scores of songs in the title or even as a notable shout-out. This playlist features songs that capture the esprit de corps of the city–a bit jazzy, a bit bluesy, a bit gritty, a bit bubbly–fresh twists and old classics that may just make you want to boogie.

►  A countdown:

8  • The Saints are Comin’ • U2   ►   Combining the title of the famous traditional “When the Saints Come Marchin’ In” with an intro that covers another famous New Orleans tune “House of the Rising Sun,” this song is a more rock-oriented homage to the Crescent City.

7  •  Take Me to the Mardi Gras • Paul Simon   ►   Light bouncy song with a very headvoice-y vocal. Worth the wait for the horn section with a little jungle growl towards the end of the tune.

6  • Proud Mary • Creedence Clearwater Revival   ►   Keep on burning. Even though they were California boys, CCR band members had a thing for New Orleans. The song “Born on the Bayou” clearly has Louisiana roots as does the entire album titled Mardi Gras.

5  • Lawdy Miss Clawdy • Joe Cocker    ►   Ok, so maybe this song does not have New Orleans in the title or in the lyrics. However, it was originally written native New Orleaner Lloyd Price and recorded with Fats Domino trilling away on the piano, making famous that get-down Crescent City sound. Since then just about everybody has covered this song, including artists like Paul McCartney from the other side of the pond. This Cocker version has more a guitar-heavy, almost honky-tonk that makes it just a bit different.

4  • Oh, My NOLA • Harry Connick, Jr.   ►   Comparing New Orleans to a magnolia tree, this song celebrates the resilience of the artist’s home city with a buoyant melody and a jaunty horn.

3  •  Jumbalaya (On the Bayou) • The Mudbugs Cajun and Zydeco Band   ►   Son-of-a-gun, we’ll have some fun with this down-home mildly Creole-infused ditty.

2  •  Iko, Iko • Cowboy Mouth  ►   Supposedly telling the story of a confrontation between two native tribes, with the exchange of fighting words comprising the chorus, this song is so much fun there’s no way you won’t be ready for a parade afterwards!

1  •  Mardi Gras in New Orleans • Fats Domino   ►   It’s only fitting that the playlist should be capped off by rhythm-and-blues legend himself singing–and whistling–about his hometown and its most famous festival. 

►   Bonus Track   »   New Orleans Bump • Jelly Roll Morton   ►   »   Solid jazz classic with that wah-wah horn and sassy high hat, a tune that alternates between cool and smooth and hot and heavy. Just like NOLA.

For a little bit of information–and a quick video–about Mardi Gras/New Orleans, check out this link courtesy of history.com: New Orleans & Mardi Gras

View playlists or follow me on Spotify  ►  hilwolfe

graphics, text © 2017 hilary hall
photograph "Mardi Gras Mask" by Linnaea Mallette
courtesy of PublicDomainPictures.net

►  In the queue  »  songs for in for like a lion, out like a lamb • 

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