Thursday, May 25, 2023

the last book I ever read (The Wild Tchoupitoulas (33 1/3) by Bryan Wagner, excerpt nine)

from The Wild Tchoupitoulas (33 1/3) by Bryan Wagner

Along with classic works like Dr. John’s Gumbo (1972) and Professor Longhair’s Crawfish Fiesta (1980), The Wild Tchoupitoulas was one of the albums that made New Orleans music into a genre. Obviously, there had been genres, like traditional jazz or rhythm and blues, associated with the city, but it was not commonplace until the 1970s and 19802 for record stores to have a bin marked “New Orleans.” In which they stocked not only new works by the Rebirth Brass Band but also old albums by Fats Domino and Irma Thomas previously displayed elsewhere. The Wild Tchoupitoulas contributed to this new genre classification in an especially interesting way, as it was recorded in a manner that was effectively agnostic about genre, freely mixing old chants and second-line rhythms with funk, rock, reggae, calypso, doowop, and rhythm and blues. This transcendence of genre, ironically, became the key to the invention of a new genre—New Orleans music—whose consolidation subsequently played a key role in forming consumer expectations, and increasingly, in attracting tourists to a metropolis whose name was synonymous with the music made there.

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