Bayou Maharajah: James Booker Story

I’ve been anticipating seeing this for quite some time now and today was the day. The DVD packaging is superb and of course features a “who’s who” of the NOLA music scene. Two of my favorite clips include the 1973 Don Kirshner Rock Concert with Mac, the Harry Connick Sr. (and 12 y.o. Jr.) segments, and the Scott Billington segment featuring the teeth story.  And Booker in City Hall!!: how improbable was that? What actually was under Booker’s afro was what was in Louis Armstrong’s briefcase, at least according to the famous apocryphal story. The extras on the DVD are not filler either — fascinating hearing pianists talking about Booker’s “technique”. As Harry says, it must have been really tough for Booker in Angola back in 1970: even now it’s pretty grim (I had to inform the museum there that Booker is conspicuous by his absence from the list of musicians that had been imprisoned there).

God lives in music — Hugh Laurie