CONGO SQUARE

Latest update on 23/04/2010

Artist: Sonny Landreth & Bayou Rhythm
Author: Sonny Landreth/Dave Ranson/Mel Melton
Label: Blues Unlimited
Year: 1985

On his second lp Down In Louisiana. He's an ex Goner (with John Hiatt) and once John Mayall's sideman too. For years Sonny played Force Of Nature, a song from Mayall's double lp Back To The Roots. The same rhythm and chord changes adorn Congo Square. At that point he feared plagiarism. False alarm since that same John Mayall covered Congo Square with the composer on guitar.

Covers:

1989:

Tom Principato

1990:

John Mayall [with Sonny Landreth on guitar; see also: Sugarcane]

1993:

Ralph Samantha & The Medicine Men

1993:

Chris Daniels & The Kings [with Sonny Landreth]

1994:

Neville Brothers [live]

2001:

Kenny Neal

Congo Square is a real spot in New Orleans, just north of the French Quarter. It's part of Armstrong Park these days. Musical history was written here. Even prior to the American Civil War it was here Afro Americans were allowed to gather on Sunday afternoon and even play their musical instruments. New Orleans was the first city in the South where drumsticks weren't regarded as potential weapons in the first place. Speaking of civilisation! While in the rest of the South so-called Jim Crow Laws replaced slavery regime, in New Orleans (under the Code Noir) former slaves enjoyed freedom of religion, freedom to gather and freedom of speech. Blacks had their own congregations, social clubs, choirs, bands, holy days and parades. From that reborn pride, displayed during Mardi Gras, the syncopated second line grew, the main crop for all New Orleans music, jazz in particular. Therefore Congo Square made for the ideal first location for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in 1975. Teena Marie's Congo Square ('09) is all her own.

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