Before stopping in at Dooky Chase’s for some fried chicken and soul food or swinging by Café Du Monde for beignets while strolling through the French Quarter, most out-of-towners kick off their stay in the Crescent City by dropping a few bucks at a local music and gift shop and scooping up either the red or green box. These boxes serve not only as a colorful soundtrack to the few days spent it the cultural mecca of the South, but also as a reminder of the magic and musical history of the city they unabashedly call their second home. These boxes are, of course, the two Cosimo Matassa collections, which serve as an awesomely complete retrospective of R&B music from New Orleans spanning from the 40s to the 70s. Matassa, the man behind J&M Studios and other New Orleans institutions (and nearly wholly responsible for the “New Orleans Sound”) died Thursday, at the age of 88. In short, if you hold any native New Orleans tune dear to your heart, whether it be Jessie Hill’s “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”, Huey “Piano” Smith’s “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu” or the Professor’s whistlin’ “Go to the Mardi Gras,” Cosimo was there and recording.
R&B lover’s world-wide tip their hats and dance a long-distance Second Line for this legend that brought to our ears the endless musical wonders of Little Richard, Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Ernie K-Doe, Lee Dorsey, Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and many many more. words / p dufrene