Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
The Lost Paramount Tapes
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Pop, R&B
Listen to Samples
James Booker -- Professor and Toy Piano Genius!
Benjamin Brenner | Davis, CA United States | 06/27/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Folks down in the Crescent City have a particular way of describing a piano player that embodies the rhythm, soul, and funky boogie woogie that permiates every steamy inch of New Orleans. That person becomes known as a professor -- the most famous example being Professor Longhair. James Booker -- eye patch, narcotic nature, wickedly talented, and dead too soon -- is the premier professor. And this record, recorded, I believe, in Los Angeles, is a remarkable testiment to Booker's professorial prowess. Put the record on, and, after a brief bit of atmospheric studio hum, you'll be treated to the opening rollicking notes of a radical reworking of the Ledbelly classic, Goodnight Irene. True, there are other recordings of Booker laying into this tune, but none of them feature the backing of a swinging unit of crack New Orleans musicians -- saxophoist Lee Allen and percussionist Didimus, among others. And let me tell you, the tune swings, bringing together the pain and joy of the blues. As Albert King used to say, "if this doesn't get to you, you've got a hole in your soul!" I dare you to not get up and dance.Every track lives up to this standard. Check out "Feel So Bad" -- and when Booker sings that he feels like "a ball game on a rainy day" you'll feel it to. Or the New Orleans second-line rhythms and old time parlor melodies of "African Gumbo" and "Tico Tico" -- the band wails, Booker deftly dances across the keys, playing off the melody and improvising lightning, soulful runs with his right hand, and you'll feel a strong urge for a libation, some red beans and rice, and a good place to dance the night away. Tired of the long, overdone, guitar-wanking, Allman Brothers-inspired takes on "Stormy Monday"? Check out the "Hound Dog/Stormy Monday" medley for a return to the tunes simpler roots. And, of course, not one, but two versions of the New Orleans standard "Junco Partner".And last, a note about the piano featured in this recording. Legend has it that Booker had a roomful of grand pianos to choose from for this recording -- and instead chose an old upright toy piano (perhaps a "piano forte" is a better description). The producer of the session tried to talk him out of it; but you'll be glad Booker stuck to his guns, for the piano sound on this record is positively joyous -- just what you'd expect from the bluescape and parlor of a great Professor.Booker's gone now, far too soon. But if you buy this record, shake a leg, raise a glass, shout out "Irene" with the chorus of Goodnight Irene (and you will), I think you'll understand. And who knows -- maybe somehow Booker will know and he'll raise his eyepatch and wink at you. I guarantee it's worth a shot!"
Booker Just Blows Me Away!
James R. Rhyan | Spring Branch, Texas United States | 01/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I am a James Booker junkie. I have not heard a bad Booker album or track for that matter. What makes this album different from others in my collection(I have 6)is that he is teamed up with a group of New Orleans all-stars and so we get to hear this very special piano player with guitar, sax, and drums playing along. How does this egomaniac piano player fit in? Seamlessly! Once again you will not believe that there is only one pair of hands on the keyboard. I defy you to listen to this album and not have your fingers and feet tapping along. I regret never having heard Booker live but thank heavens we have these lost tapes to fill in some of the holes. He played to well and died to soon. If you like New Orleans funk/blues, I think this album is a must."
Gone Gone Gone but not Forgotten
Bruce Kendall | Southern Pines, NC | 02/06/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone within broadcast range of this signal, just give a listen to this CD and most particularly to Tico Rico, and come to understand why he may have even surpassed the master of the N'awlins Keys, the Fess himself (Professor Longhair). Thanks to whomever was responsible for digging up this set from the dusty vaults. That track may be the most inflamed piece of piano magic, outside of the "classics" (and I have far too little time to define that term right now, thank you) that I've ever heard.
Book went through keyboards like he went through life. Seemingly carelessly, but the man had an inordinate amount of flash and talent. Falling star syndrome, maybe. Substance abuse problems, sure. But the man's music lives on and should be listened to every bit as often as the bigger name Janis's, Jimmy's and Jim's.BK"