July 3, 2010

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band – Funeral For a Friend
New Orleans R&B, Dixieland

My knowledge of classic New Orleans R&B (like most people’s, I’d wager) tends to be limited to what I hear in the odd Louisiana-set film. Despite this, I feel so strongly about the quality of the music contained on Funeral for a Friend that I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if some authority informed me that it was a leading light in the genre. The old-timey warmth in these songs sounds so authentic, and is so completely free of pretense, that it makes you want to say “they just don’t make them like this anymore” – right up until the point where you’re The Dirty Dozen Brass Band - Funeral For a Friendreminded that you’re listening to something that was released in 2004. This is exciting, jubilant music, the soundtrack to a Dixieland street-parade full of vibrant colour and infused with a sense of life-affirming human spirit – and it begs you to dance and celebrate with every note. The gospel vocals found on a handful of the tracks are an added delight, lifting the songs to truly dizzying heights. The Dirty Dozen Brass Band have been doing their thing for over 30 years now, so it’s hardly surprising that they pull of something so wonderful with seemingly so little effort.