Here’s why this album should be in your collection!
One of the sparkling gems of New Orleans music is the self-titled album, The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976). The songs celebrate local traditions, but are good enough to play anywhere and year-round.
New Orleans Indians have emerged from a gumbo of history and legend. Indigenous peoples of Southeast Louisiana (particularly Choctaw and Houma tribes) often welcomed free blacks and runaway slaves into their communities. Each year, on Mardi Gras and St. Joseph’s Night, their cultural heirs pay homage by dancing and singing in the streets wearing dazzling suits that are handmade almost completely from feathers and sequins.
Several tribes from the city’s Uptown neighborhoods decided to record albums featuring their marching songs/chants. The Wild Tchoupitoulas (Shop-it-TOO-las) had the most critically successful effort. Their versions get tremendous instrumental support from hometown musicians, including The Meters.
All the tracks, and especially “Hey Pocky-A-Way (a Meters classic),” “Brother John,” and “Meet De Boys on The Battlefront” are performed with classic New Orleans verve. They’ll make you want to grab an umbrella and join the Second Line.
This album is available in compact disc and MP3 format from major vendors. But please consider purchasing it from a local independent record store.
Here’s an interesting fact!
George “Big Chief Jolly” Landry was the tribe’s vocal and spiritual leader. His nephews, all established local musicians, were so inspired by the support they provided during the recoding sessions that they decided to form their own group: The Neville Brothers.