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Index of Artists

Professor Longhair

Biography:

Nobody can claim to play New Orleans piano without an intimate familiarity of Henry Roeland Byrd, better known to the world as Professor Longhair. Without a doubt, he will go down in history alongside artists like Jelly Roll Morton as one of the great quintessential New Orleans musicians. As a youth, he grew up on the streets of the Cresent City, working as a street corner entertainer. After stints as a professional boxer, a gambler, and a member of the United States Army, Fess began his recording career in 1949. His recording career continued until the mid-1960's, with the net result of one hit R&B single, one large and loyal following in New Orleans and a career supporting himself as a janitor instead of a pianist. In 1971, Fess was "re-discovered" by a new audience, playing the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival to an adoring (and very career reviving) audience. His comeback lasted until his passing in early 1981.

The material presented on the Stony Plain disc Fess' Gumbo was originally recorded in November 1979 for a Canadian radio documentary produced by Keef Whiting. The intent was to present Fess solo, mostly without band accompaniment and without the "benefits" of modern recording technology. In addition to the songs, an interview with Fess was recorded with friend and band member Andy Kaslow. Fess passed on soon after these sessions and it is believed that this is Fess' last recording session.

Fess' Gumbo

Fess
SPCD 1214
Genre: Blues
  1. Mess Around (4:04)
  2. Interview #1 (1:33)
  3. Doin' It (3:45)
  4. Tipitina (3:30)
  5. Interview #2 (1:43)
  6. Got My Mojo Working (4:04)
  7. Hey Now Baby (3:11)
  8. Interview #3 (0:55)
  9. Big Chief (3:58)
  10. Whole Lotta Loving (3:04)
  11. Interview #4 (3:42)
  12. Her Mind Is Gone (3:35)
  13. Interview #5
  14. How Long Has That Train Been Gone