Making Music and History

The New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival is in full swing, funky as ever and filled with pride. Touted as the biggest Jazzfest ever, the lineup certainly appears to fit the description, including superstars like Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and the Dave Mathews Band. The first weekend is over but there is still plenty of wonderful music, food and crafts available through the run of the show. If you need only one reason to head out for the final weekend look no further than this name; Fats Domino. He'll be gracing the Acura stage on the seventh at 5:50 pm. This will be his first live performance since he was rescued from hurricane Katrina; he hasn't been feeling well and missed an autograph session in support of his new album, Alive and Kicking, and he didn't attend his recent induction into the Delta Music Museum Hall of Fame. He says he's resting up for this weekend, so his Jazzfest closing show is most definitely a can't miss event.

Of course there are many other artists performing, around three hundred in total, ranging from the incredibly famous (Paul Simon) to the more obscure (Jeremy Lyons & the Deltabilly Boys) giving you the opportunity to experience many different kinds of music for hardly any money (thirty dollars.) As always there will other types of acts, storytelling, puppetry, and dancing and a tent with performances designed for children. Be sure to bring some extra cash for the incredible crafts available and the fabulous, delicious, wonderful food.

Absolutely can't make it to Jazzfest this year? Take heart because you can enjoy highlights here, but be forewarned, it won't run in my browser (Firefox.) The site is having a live webcast on Sunday, May 7, from 3 pm to 8 pm ET so you have some time to download Internet Explorer if you are so inclined. For now you can watch and listen to The Edge opening the Jazz Preservation Hall followed by Springsteen singing John Henry and Mary Don't You Weep. He also does a song written right after the stock market crash that preceded the great depression. He wrote three new verses describing the pain and destruction wrought by last year's hurricanes. He'll send a shiver down your spine with lyrics like "There's bodies floatin' on Canal and the levees gone to hell" and "I got family scattered from Texas all the way to Baltimore/And I ain't got no home in this world no more." He gives such a high-energy performance that he apparently busted right out of his belt onstage and had to fix it in front of thousands of people. Poor Mr. Springsteen.

The video highlights also show Dave Mathews' performance of Louisiana and Dr. John doing Blues in Da Night and Dog. You can also see Galactic doing Black Eyed Pea (I particularly enjoyed this one) and Keb' Mo' performs an extremely pretty song called Henry. When you've finished listening to that set of music try this link, where you can enjoy even more videos, including additional music from Galactic (including an instrumental called FEMA) and the gospel choir, Shades of Praise, singing Nobody But You.

In other music news Pixie fans will be fascinated to discover that a gentleman has released "celebrity covers" of selected Pixies songs. If you've ever wondered what "This Monkey's Going to Heaven" would have sounded like if Frank Sinatra had sung it or how the Bee Gees would have changed "Wave of Mutilation," wonder no more. You can also listen to "Hey" as done by Prince and "Mr. Grieves" a la Bob Marley. You can download the songs for free here. If you're a purist and you're thinking you won't like these songs do yourself a favor and least give them a test listen. I tried them out on a variety of different fans and the general consensus was "sweet!"

A couple of people have asked me for my Derby pick this year; I'm rooting for Barbaro. I've liked his trainer, Michael Matz, for years and his jockey, Edgar Prado, was pretty much unstoppable when he raced here in Maryland. The colt won his last five races, moving from the turf to a truly sloppy track to a dry dirt track with ease. He appears to be happiest running in the second position and taking the lead right around the far turn. This is an advantage in the Derby because, as long as he breaks well, he'll be running in front of the rest of the large field of twenty horses the entire time and won't have to worry about getting boxed in.

Starting this week we're going to ask a question of the week. Please email your answers to me.

This week's question, who are the Godolphin Arabian, the Darley Arabian and the Byerly Turk?