Wednesday, 22 July 2009

State Songs #19: Louisiana

These songs all give a flavour of one of America's greatest and most unique states but none of them are about its most famous city. I realise this might be controversial but there are so many New Orleans songs that I didn't know where to start. On the plus side it gives me some great stuff left to post next Mardi Gras.

As usual, please let me know what you think of the tunes, suggest your favourites, and, most importantly, enjoy your Abita beer and Zaps chips in moderation.

MP3: Lucinda Williams - Lake Charles

You could make a very tasty complilation of songs Lucinda has written about her home state. This is from her masterpiece Car Wheels on a Gravel Road which I presume you all already have in your collections (if you don't we have a spare copy; email me - first come, first served).
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: Guy Clark - Baton Rouge

I love Guy Clark and hearing this makes me want to pack my bags, buy my own pair of alligator shoes, and follow him down to Louisiana's capital city. Once there I imagine we'd tuck into some crawfish and rice and then I'd bore him with questions about Townes Van Zandt.
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: The Be Good Tanyas - Lakes of Pontchartrain

Jolie Holland's arrangement of the 19th-century ballad is one of the highlights of the Be Good Tanyas' debut Blue Horse. My colleague Sarah vows to one day play the banjo like Trish Klein does on this.
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart - Girl from Louisian'

I met Steve's sister Stacey and her husband Mark Stuart when they played an outdoor gig in Reno during my brief visit to "the biggest little city in the world". I was on my own with little to do and the friendly couple were extremely gracious as I pestered them about twang and they told me about various places they'd played in the UK.
Buy: Amazon

MP3: Emmylou Harris - Leaving Louisiana in the Broad Daylight

This was written by Harris' former bandmate Rodney Crowell and first appeared on his 1978 debut Ain't Living Long Like This. Emmylou was quick off the mark in covering it - this is from her album of the same year Quarter Moon in a Ten Cent Town.
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: Lightnin' Hopkins - Mojo Hand

My colleague Richard recommended this when I told him Louisiana was up next on our musical road trip. I'm not too familiar with the great bluesman and probably first came across his name via the track REM titled after him on their album Document.
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

MP3: Waylon Jennings - Louisiana Women

Considering Waylon's stature as both a country music giant and essential piece of the rock'n'roll jigsaw (he was Buddy Holly's bassist) I am embarrassingly ignorant of most of his work. Then again, he recorded more than 50 albums, so I guess I have an excuse. This is from his 1974 LP This Time.
Buy: 7digital | Amazon

Next time we leave the South for Maine, one of the most challenging stops on the trip. Be prepared for a very diverse selection of songs.

Neighbouring States
State Songs #4: Arkansas - The New Lost City Ramblers, Hayes Carll, Marilyn Monroe & Jane Russell, REM, Bruce Springsteen

The Journey So Far
State Songs - links to every post on this musical road trip


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