Professor Longhair: The Last Mardi Gras
Henry Roeland “Roy” Byrd, aka Professor Longhair, single-handedly created his own genre. A meld of boogie-woogie, rhythm and blues, New Orleans jazz and Creole cadence, Byrd developed a singular sound that epitomized his native Crescent City. Originally issued on record in 1982, this remastered two-disc set captures the Professor at his best in his favorite venue—the legendary Tipitina’s—during what proved to be his final two Mardi Gras performances. They were also two of his finest. Bouncy, jaunty and vibrant, Byrd is peacocking in full glory, with all of his colors showing on such classics as “Jambalaya (on the Bayou),” “Mess Around,” “Doin’ It” and “Tipitina,” but also on lesser-known numbers including “Her Mind Is Gone,” “She Walks Right In” and “Hey Now Baby.” The release reminds us that such one-of-a-kind performers should never simply fade away.