Hurricane Katrina Benefit CDs

Immediately following Hurricane Katrina, musicians came forward to assist with relief efforts. The benefit CDs started flowing even before the water began receding. A nice summary has been posted on the New Orleans Music Store website of CDs from which at least a portion of the proceeds are directed towards various relief agencies. The site even specifies which agencies are the beneficiaries. What a great way to give a gift of music for the holidays while also supporting our brothers and sisters in New Orleans and other areas affected by Katrina. Here are a few of the 2006 releases that we think will be of most interest to our readers.

katrina whats going.jpegTitle: What’s Going On
Artist: Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Label: Shout! Factory
Catalog No.: 826663-10178
Release Date: August 2006
The Dirty Dozen Brass Band’s What’s Going On features newly arranged songs from Marvin Gaye’s 1971 album of the same title, released after the civil rights movement and hailed as one of the most important social commentary albums of all time. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band joins forces with Public Enemy’s Chuck D, Bettye LaVette, G. Love, and Guru, along with fellow New Orleans native, Ivan Neville, to put a fresh but still darkly brooding spin on Gaye’s classic. Songs such as “What’s Happening Brother,” “Save the Children,” “Mercy Mercy Me,” and “Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)” couldn’t be more appropriate to reflect the aftermath of Katrina, the lyrics expressing a frustration that is as viseral today as it was in Gaye’s time. One should note that there are no bonus tracks, so the running time is approximately the same as the original album—about 40 minutes. A portion of the proceeds go to the Tipitina’s Foundation.Katrina big apple.jpgTitle: From the Big Apple to the Big Easy: The Concert for New Orleans
Artist: Various
Label: Rhino/WEA
Catalog No.: 9716412
Date: August 2006
If you weren’t able to attend this September 2005 benefit concert at Madison Square Garden, then make sure someone stuffs this new 2-DVD set in your stocking. The concert features incredible performances by Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Buckwheat Zydeco, Lenny Kravitz, Clarence “Frogman” Henry (singing his 1956 hit “Ain’t Got No Home”), the Rebirth Brass Band, Kermit Ruffins, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, the Neville Brothers, and the Meters—not to mention Jimmy Buffet, John Fogarty, Simon & Garfunkel, and Elvis Costello. Even former President Bill Clinton makes an appearance (the Bush-Clinton Katrina Fund is one of the beneficiaries). All net proceeds go to Hurricane Katrina relief.katrina Fats.jpgTitle: Alive and Kickin’
Artist: Fats Domino
Label: N/A
Catalog No.: N/A
Release Date: March 2006
One of New Orleans’ most famous residents, Fats Domino was rendered homeless by Katrina. After having been plucked off the roof of his Lower 9th Ward home by a Coast Guard helicopter, he spent several months in shelters and other temporary housing, before returning to New Orleans to rebuild. Alive and Kickin’ is his first album since 1993, compiled primarily from tracks recorded over the past decade. Domino, who was looking for a way to help rebuild the New Orleans music community, donated the CD to the Tipitina’s Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to music education, music business development, and preserving Louisiana’s unique musical cultures. Alive and Kickin’ is only available online and can be obtained by making a donation to the foundation.
katrina broken pieces.jpgTitle: On Broken Pieces: A Hurricane Relief Project
Artist: Williams Brothers, Bishop Paul S. Morton
Label: Blackberry Records
Catalog No.: 1654
Release Date: April 2006
Bishop Paul Morton, a native of New Orleans, has gathered together some of the gospel industry’s greatest artists to benefit victims of Hurricane Katrina. Officially prefaced “The Williams Brothers Present Bishop Paul Morton,” the compilation also features appearances by the Mississippi Mass Choir, Kenton Rogers, Neal Roberson, the Bolton Brothers, and even soul singer Betty Wright. The title song, “On Broken Pieces,” deals directly with the tragedies in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and was intended to offer hope and inspiration. All profits will be donated to hurricane relief efforts (specific charities are not mentioned). Katrina NO will rise again.jpgTitle: New Orleans Will Rise Again
Artist: Various
Label: Night Train International
Catalog No.: NTI CD 7152
Release Date: April 2006
If you’re looking for rarities, then check out this reissue compilation from the Tuff City group. Subtitled “Songs of Faith, Hope and New Orleans-ness,” the selections range from deep funk to New Orleans-style R&B. Only a few of the artists, such as Aaron Neville, will be recognizable to all but the most serious collectors of N.O. music. Selections which best illustrate the theme of the album include “Black Blood in the Mississippi Mud” by Black Blood & the Chocolate Pickles, “There’s a Storm in the Gulf” by James Black & Sister Mary, “Searchin’ for the High Road,” by Bobby Jay, “(Crying for a) Helping Hand,” by George Perkins, and “Basin Street Ain’t Basin Street No More,” by Snookum Russell. All proceeds will be donated to the New Orleans Musicians’ Clinic.
Posted by Brenda Nelson-Strauss