James Booker: Junco Partner #2

Track

Junco Partner #2

Artist

James Booker (piano, vocals)

CD

The Lost Paramount Tapes (DJM Records 10010)

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Musicians:

James Booker (piano, vocals),

John Boudreaux (drums) Dave Johnson (bass), Alvin ‘Shine’ Robinson (guitar, background vocals), Richard ‘Didimus’ Washington (percussion), Jessie Hill (tambourine, background vocals)

.

Composed by Bob Shad

.

Recorded: Hollywood, 1973

Albumcoverjamesbookerthelostparamounttapes

Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

They call them the "lost Paramount tapes." The 16 track master tapes disappeared a long time ago, and they are still hiding out somewhere. But in 1992, almost a decade after Booker's death from kidney failure—tragically left waiting for treatment at New Orleans Charity Hospital's emergency room—Daniel Moore found tapes of the mix he made made on the night of the last session. This allowed the CD release of this posthumous masterpiece.

Dr. John reportedly plays a cassette of this music for musicians in his band so they can hear how New Orleans music is supposed to be played. But, honestly, there can't be many bands in the Big Easy, or anywhere else, that operate consistently at this level. The rhythm section is hot, but Booker is clearly in command from the opening vamp. I once heard a bandleader lament about piano players who have learned all the Bill Evans chords and McCoy Tyner patterns, but don't really know how to create a groove at the keyboard. For that kind of lesson, you couldn't find a better teacher than James Booker or a sweeter pedagogy than these tapes.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

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