The Wild Tchoupitoulas: Big Chief Got a Golden Crown


Big Chief Got a Golden Crown


The Wild Tchoupitoulas


The Wild Tchoupitoulas (Mango 162539)

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George Landry (vocals), Amos Landry (vocals), Carl Christmas (vocals), Booker Washington (vocals), Norman Bell (vocals), Art Neville (keyboards), Leo Nocentelli (guitar), George Porter, Jr. (bass), Joseph Modeliste (drums) Cyril Neville (percussion), Teddy Royal (guitar), Aaron Neville (piano), Charles Neville (percussion)


Composed by George Landry


Recorded: New Orleans, no date given (album released in 1976)


Rating: 91/100 (learn more)

The tradition of Mardi Gras Indians - revelers, organized into tribes, who wear elaborate costumes inspired by Native American ceremonial attire - predates the arrival of jazz and blues on the local scene. But all traditions are susceptible to updating, and this one is no exception. Today women are allowed into these previously men-only groups, and the songs borrow from contemporary stylings. This track is that odd hybrid: a New Orleans reggae tune. Makes you wonder whether these Indians come from the West Indies. A catchy call-and-response is made all the tastier by the presence of a very hot back-up band. Of course, this Big Chief (George Landry) had a distinct advantage over his rivals: his nephews are the Neville Brothers. The positive critical response to this recording played an important role in spurring them to form their eponymous band.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

If you liked this track, also check out

The Wild Magnolias: Smoke My Peace Pipe (Smoke It Right)
Al ‘Carnival Time’ Johnson: Carnival Time
The Hawketts (with Art Neville): Mardi Gras Mambo

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