The Mardi Gras Mixtape – 10 Songs for Your Fat Tuesday Playlist
It’s Fat Tuesday! A day of indulging on delicious food, potent drinks, and really great music. The Pop Break’s two-man second line Bill Bodkin and Andrew Howie have gotten together to curate a Mardi Gras-inspired playlist. The list includes some NOLA locals, and jam/funk/soul bands who’ve created some amazingly infectious pieces of music. Enjoy!
Of course if you’ve got song suggestions — we’d love to hear from you! This is by no means a “definitive list” so give us your tunes to check out!
1. “Blast Off” – Lettuce: Few groups these days bring the funk quite as hard as Boston’s Lettuce. Their shows are always sure to be a party, and this is the perfect song to kick things off. Juicy organ meets in-your-face horns and swirling guitar over pounding drums and bass to get you on your feet and moving.
2. “Tipitina” – Professor Longhair: One of New Orleans’ finest, Henry Roeland Byrd was one of the early members of the rhythm and blues scene, and later helped influence artists such as Dr. John and Allen Toussaint. This is one of his most recognizable songs, with his trademark choking wail and calypso-tinged boogie. Perfect for Fat Tuesday.
3.“Prison Cells” – Sister Sparrow and the Dirty Birds: Channeling Janis Joplin’s voice over a fresh and powerful horn section and noodly guitar, this uplifting anthem shuffles through an emotional chorus of resigned melancholy set to sunny mountain funk. The imagery of people singing and dancing “on top of shotgun cells” is particularly moving to me, and it’s a great dancing song to boot.
4. “Hit It and Quit It” – Funkadelic: As one of the many hits of the legendary Parliament-Funkadelic conglomerate, this is one of their more heavy-hitting tunes, with a filthy bass line and driving energy. The groove is inescapable, combining ‘70s psychedelia with thunderous funk the way only George Clinton and company can.
5. “Chameleon” – Herbie Hancock: Everybody knows Herbie Hancock, even if they don’t realize it. This tune is one of jazz music’s most recognizable pieces, with the stuttering opening bass line that, when joined by the drums, sets the scene for some of the most innovative and catchy jazz-funk fusion from the ‘70s. When it comes to Mardi Gras party music, it doesn’t get much better than this.
1. “Ha Di Ka” — Galactic featuring Golden Commanche and Big Chief Juan Pardo: If you’re ever looking for the perfect Mardi Gras record, stop what you’re doing and listen to Galactic’s 2013 album, Carnivale Electricos. It’s one of the high-energy, and infectious records that captures the spirit of Mardi Gras in 13 songs. The opening track “Ha Di Ka” set the tune perfectly with guest vocals from NOLA Mardi Gras Indian Big Chief Juan Pardo and his band Golden Commanche. It’s horns, percussion, and awesome wrapped in one bead laden track.
2. Booty-Whop — Big Freedia: Okay, this might not have the big brass of a traditional Mardi Gras track. However, the New Orleans-raised “The Queen of Bounce” captures the unbridled fun of Fat Tuesday with one of her top tracks, “Booty-Whop.” Seriously, if you do not find yourself dancing to the huge bass and beats driven track, you might not be alive.
3. “That’s It!” — Preservation Hall Jazz: You cannot get more New Orleans than this. Sam Jaffe, son of the creator and guardian of Preservation Hall (a NOLA temple of jazz featured on Foo Fighters’ Sonic Highways), and his band have created a wild, wooly instrumental jazz track with “That’s It!” The big horns, free wheeling drummer — it’s just such a fat sound. Perfection.
4. “Buckjump” — Trombone Shorty, Rebirth Brass Band, and the Fifth Ward Weebie: Trombone Shorty has been killing on the trombone since he was ankle high. “Buckjump” is probably one of this most mainstream, accessible songs, and that’s not a band thing. Teaming with the awesome Rebirth Brass Band give way for a fat brass section, and mix in the turntable-ism that’s applied in heavy doses and you’ve got one hell of a tune.
5. “On the Road to Charlie Parker” — Anders Osborne: No brass. No beats. Just smoking Deep South blues rock. Osborne crafts a beast of a song with a killer groove, fantastic hooks, and whiskey-drenched vocals. It’s a toe-taping, head bopping piece of beauty.