Professor Longhair, Big Easy Strut: The Essential Professor Longhair

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
A spirited, eccentric live set recorded just weeks before his death.

By now, the hallowed Longhair's rhumbafied r&b is so well known to fans of New Orleans music that it's almost taken for granted. But how can you take for granted a guy who, backed by a full band including horns, turns in a live set as spirited and eccentric — even for him — as this one, just weeks before his 1980 death? From the dizzying opener of "Tipitina" through the snappy "How Long Has the Train Been Gone," the cascading "Hey Now Baby," the truly weird — even for him — "I'm Movin 'On," and the clattering "Hey Little Girl," Fess simply knocks 'em dead.