Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Yahoo LAUNCHCAST Song Of The Day-Professor Longhair
Album:House Party New Orleans Style:The Lost Sessions 1971-1972
Legendary New Orleans pianist Professor Longhair fell on hard times in the 60s but came back in the 70s and is now regarded as an icon of R & B. He was born Henry Roeland Byrd Dec. 19, 1918 in Bogalusa, LA. He grew up hustling cards on the streets of New Orleans. He also had learned piano as a child and was hired to play a club in 1948 when Dave Bartholomew was fired. The club owner dubbed him Professor Longhair because of his shaggy mane. He recorded for Mercury as Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers and then had some success at Atlantic with the 1953 hit Tipitina. Longhair was a great musician but like a lot of black musicians of the 50s, he never seemed to get paid. He quit music in the 60s and went back to gambling. His appearance at the 1971 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival put him on the comeback trail and he made several excellent records in the 70s. This version of the Marvin & Johnny hit Cherry Pie is excellent and includes guitarist Snooks Eaglin. Rounder discovered the master tapes and released the album in 1987. Things were going great for Longhair when he died of a heart attack on Jan. 30, 1980 at age 61. Fortunately Professor Longhair is now a revered figure of New Orleans R & B. Here's Professor Longhair & The Meters performing Tipitina on the PBS series Soundstage.