Tune of the Week – “Big Chief”
This is what a bank holiday weekend sounds like, people Yes, yes, yes, of course you know this tune. That cheeky little minx borrowed it for her “Knock ‘Em Out”, didnt she? But this is the original and it sounds …
The tune actually soundtracks an amazing couple of minutes of footage in one of the episodes in Spike Lee’s fantastic When The Levees Broke documentary featuring a New Orleans funeral march. The tune actually keeps turning up all over the place and it’s easy to hear why.
The Professor himself, born Henry Roeland Byrd, passed on to the other side in 1980 after a lifetime of legendary New Orleans music which began with him dancing for tips on Bourbon Street. He led some legendary bands (Professor Longhair and the Four Hairs, Professor Longhair and the Shuffling Hungarians, Professor Longhair and the Clippers – now, they’re what I call band names), wrote the seminal “Mardi Gras In New Orleans” and had people like the great Allen Toussaint refer to him as “the Bach of rock”.
Thanks to the wonders of YouTube, here’s the Professor with The Meters and Dr John on a PBS Soundstage TV show back in 1974 with “Big Chief”. Enjoy.