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In a curve of the Mississippi river lies the city of New Orleans, the cradle of jazz and raw funk. As a river-port
it has been open to music coming from the Caribbean, South America and Europe ever since its foundation
in 1718, absorbing all kinds of aromas, vibrations and influences over the centuries.
The African polyrhythm of Congo Square (formerly “Place des Nègres”)—provided by drums carved
from tree trunks, castanets made from mules' jawbones and bracelets hung with bells—was progressively
transformed into syncopated rhythms that formed the foundations of American popular music. And in a city
where eccentricity is not an idle word, nothing has ever shown more expressiveness than the multicoloured
Indian parades featured during Mardi Gras. Dressed in incredible suits that reflect up to a year's passionate
care in their making, the black Indians belong to the vernacular legend of a city where each day is a spectacle.
The origins of the parade tradition date from the first celebrations of the feast of Mardi Gras, a legacy of
the Catholic colonists from France and Spain; at the end of the 19th century the inhabitants of a few black
quarters took the names of fictitious Indian tribes when they began to dance and organize parades inside
their communities.

Before African slaves became commonplace, it was the Indians who were the first to be reduced to slavery
on the plantations. Men were often deported—crushing any tendency to revolt—and replaced by black slaves
who were then married to Indian women. Blacks have always recognized their historical past in the tragedy
of slavery. On their own plantations, the French and Spanish treated Indians and Blacks separately, whereas
Anglo-Saxons never made any distinction between “coloured” people, and so made assimilation of the two
cultures that much easier. Fleeing from their owners into the depths of the forests and swamps of Louisiana,
many “maroons” or runaways found refuge amongst the Choctaw and Chickasaw tribes, who were rarely
reduced into slavery themselves. According to writer and musician Gérard Herzhaft, Indian cultural practices
in the region between the Delta—incorporated into Mississippi in 1886—and New Orleans often had resounding
echoes amongst both Whites and Blacks, “The Indian contribution to Southern culture was enormous in oral
traditions, place-names, language, cuisine, dancing and music.”*

Uptown Dwelling, New Orleans, January 1936.


(Walker Evans, The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA) * Gérard Herzhaft, Americana, Fayard, Paris, 2005.

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Mardi Gras panoramas, New Orleans, 1910. (A. L. Barnett, The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA)

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After the Civil War, hopes of a better condition for black culture were raised when morals rapidly became
more liberal, but racist atavism in the South quickly regained the upper hand and any political and social
progress that had been achieved made those hopes quite remote. After years of deception and reconstruction,
this relegation to the bottom of the social ladder merely accentuated southern Blacks' desire to create their
own methods of expression. The itinerant Wild West Shows in particular, featuring Cowboys and Indians,
left a deep impression on the southern Black subconscious and aroused numerous vocations. In the early
1880's, for example, the “Creole Wild West” became the first Indian tribe. Their founder-leader Becate
Batiste was the first Black to officially wear an Indian headdress and assume the “Big Chief” title corresponding
to the social hierarchy proper to each tribe. Indian suits and headdresses were instantly adopted by other
communities. The Wild Magnolias were established in 1889 and, like each of the tribes, their difference
lay in their elaborate suits and parades. Anchored in the Catholic tradition of Mardi Gras, a feast day on
which the social order was reversed, these parades developed over the decades. Each Indian costume was
painstakingly created by the chief with the aid of his whole family, and each suit bore a personal, decorative
motif handed down from previous generations.

The costumes often demanded great financial sacrifice for a result that was both striking and totally unselfish;
it was a kind of potlatch* that was all the more remarkable given the impoverished state in which many
black families in New Orleans found themselves. The Indian tribes organized themselves along the urban
gridlines of a city divided into wards; each quarter had its own Indian tribe and its own street band, and
they all took part in a single, vast, municipal polyrhythm where Uptown melted into Downtown. But not
only that: the Indian gangs were an expression of independence and popular identity, an illustration of the
underlying violence that existed, especially with regard to authority. Until the mid-Fifties, parades were
events in which battles, even murders, were practically the norm. Savage breasts were soothed over the
years however, and the competitive spirit reduced to costumes, dancing and singing as the Mardi Gras and
Saint Joseph's Day parades saw the culmination of months of preparation.

* A ritual, notably practised by indigenous North American tribes, in which clans or clan-chiefs rivalled in prodigality by either destroying an
Chief Red Shirt. Ogilasa, also known as Red Shirt (Lakota), 1904. (H49579 U.S. Copyright Office) adversary's belongings, or making gifts to a rival so as to oblige him to make another, even more generous gift in return.

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a

a. Buffalo Bill's Wild West and Congress of Rough Riders of the World, a Congress of American Indians
Circus poster showing American Indians leading attack against pioneers in covered wagons, chromolithograph, 1899.
(The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA)

b. Death of Custer
Dramatic portrayal of Native American man stabbing “Custer,” with dead Native Americans lying on ground, in scene by
Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show performers, 1905. (Copyright by Siegel, Cooper & Co.)

c. Yonder Lay Trail


Dakota Indians, possibly members of Pawnee Bill's Wild West Show, 1908. (H116235 U.S. Copyright Office)

d. Wenona
Wenona, a Native American woman Wild West Show performer, 1904. (H48855 U.S. Copyright Office)
c d

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a c

b d

a. Mardi Gras Indians Jam: Wild Magnolias, Golden Eagles & Friends, 1st New Orleans Jazz Fest, April 1970. (Michael P. Smith) c. 'Bo' Dollis, Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias at Hercules funeral parade, 1979. (Hercules was a tribe member). (Michael P. Smith)
b. The Magnolia barber shop in central city New Orleans, 1979. (Michael P. Smith) d. 'Bo' Dollis carries the Wild Magnolias gang flag, Hercules' Funeral, 1979. (Michael P. Smith)

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Indian celebrations are free and open to all, without any form of approval sought from Whites, unlike the
Zulu King parade inaugurated in 1910, in which Blacks asked the white community to financially subsidize
their ceremonies. In one sense, the Zulu parade was a replica of the arrival of the white carnival-king Rex,
an imitation marking a form of implicit gratitude within the black community, like the Memphis Cotton
Carnival. Indian parades may have adopted the Mardi Gras spirit, but they didn't try to become a large scale
white Mardi Gras with ready-to-wear disguises; it was a fundamental difference when you consider the
extraordinary care taken over each individual Indian suit. The costumes not only reflect the beauty and
exuberance of black New Orleans street culture; they also show their wearers' respect for creativity and the
quest for excellence. Often rebellious in the face of authority, the Mardi Gras Indians have always been the
reflection of working-class black people anxious to maintain freedom of movement within their city, people with
a desire to make their voices heard loud and strong, usually with scarcely contained jubilation. Historically,
the Indians have always been associated with black emancipation through these dances and street bands,
and through social clubs like the “Zulu Aid and Pleasure Club.” Driven by the strength that comes with
numbers, the Indians escape their daily grind for the length of a parade; the brilliance of their dress and
their vivacious polyrhythm reflect the grandeur of their city. Parades, jazz funerals, clubs, churches and
Mardi Gras Indians form the basis of New Orleans music, whose definition lies not only in diversity, but
also in its perseverance and the commitment of musicians confronted by multiple musical styles as diverse
as the local cuisine. New Orleans jazz musicians are capable of playing funk, blues or gospel; each street-
corner, each crossroads, tells the musical story of a city where sound is King, and the slightest anecdote or
artifact is transformed into a musical opportunity.

The Zulu King on his royal float on Mardi Gras day, 1975. (Michael P. Smith) 'Alligator June' sewing a patch for his Mardi Gras Indian suit, 1978. (Michael P. Smith)

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Before Katrina, Willie Tee used to live in Gentilly. He comes from a line of musicians who wrote history in a According to his most elegant heir, Allen Toussaint: “Nobody knew what to do with his music; it was so
city that had always oscillated between the elegance of jazz and the rough rhythms of R'n'B and funk. He wild and untouchable. Here in New Orleans we'll always love his music because it suits us so much. But
remembers his musical debuts: “When I was three my father got a piano from a guy who had a bar on his genius never caught on outside the city. He was just a local boy who would stay local forever.” In 1964,
Saratoga and Terpsichore, where Professor Longhair lived. And Louis Armstrong used to go out with a girl his marvellous Big Chief symbolised the transformation from rhythm'n'blues to funk. Nicknamed variously
from my neighbourhood. The smallest detail has cultural importance in New Orleans; everything is intimately the “grandfather of funk” by Dr. John, the “Picasso of the piano” by Jerry Wexler and the “Bach of
tied. My father convinced this guy to let him paint the front of his place so he could get that piano. I've rock'n'roll” by Allen Toussaint, Longhair was the spiritual father of Mardi Gras music, if only because of
done nothing but make music ever since.” Even if he doesn't implicitly recognize the influence of Professor his eternal anthem, Ron Records’ Go to the Mardi Gras (1959), to be also found on the “Mardi Gras in
'Fess' Longhair as the father of that funky music marrying piano blues and rumba rhythms, Willie Tee's New Orleans” album compiled by Philippe Rault in 1976.
words illustrate the importance of Fess on the New Orleans music-map. More than either Louis Armstrong
or Fats Domino, Professor Longhair was the last New Orleans musical hero. For several decades he remained Big Chief shows obvious allegiance to the popular mystique of the Mardi Gras Indians. To begin with, you'd
totally unknown outside the black clubs from which he emerged at the end of the Forties. Encouraged by think six pairs of hands were playing piano, and the whistling from composer Earl King, plus Wardell
Dallas producer Jesse Erikson he recorded four pieces for the latter's Star Talent label, including an exultant Quezergue's brass arrangements and the second-line wrapped drumming, makes this piece the first flash of
version of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. That title appeared in 1949 under the name of Professor Longhair lightning from New Orleans funk. The syncopation is accentuated and carries straight to the heart of the
& His Shuffling Hungarians, but it didn't generate wide interest. It was in an improvised studio on Canal Street main rhythm as only New Orleans drummers know how, in this case the genius Smokey Johnson. According
that Longhair did his second session—this time for Mercury, thanks to William Allen's savoir faire—and to Quint Davis—he and Allison Miner were the artisans behind the renaissance of Fess in the Seventies—
the result, Baldhead, was a summer hit in 1950, but the partnership was again unfruitful. Atlantic founders the ties between Longhair and the Wild Magnolias were very real: “Both were mixed together in the sense
Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson made his acquaintance after that ephemeral success, however, and gave that the Indians rehearsed at Fess' house at 1517 South Rampart Street. Ironically, it was a Longhair song,
him several opportunities to record. In 1953, with Tipitina, Fess invented a funk aesthetic from which the city Big Chief, which became a Mardi Gras hymn. For a long time nobody knew that it was a song about the
of New Orleans never fully recovered. Indians with its whistling and that implacable rhythm. But there's still an implicit link between the two.”

Willie Tee (keyboard) with brother Earl Turbinton (soprano sax), Julius Farmer (bass) and Larry Panna (drums) on stage
at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1973. (Michael P. Smith)

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As a boy Willie Tee was fascinated by the Indian tribe from his ward that rehearsed every year before
Mardi Gras. “When my family moved to the Calliope Project, there were these guys in headdresses doing
Indian dances. I used to watch these big hunks sewing their suits all year long. I wanted to walk, talk and
dance like they did.” The Project was one of the poorest in the city, a ward where the black community
was cut off from its street-roots to be parked and aligned in cramped buildings with no soul. Music often
remained their only escape; it was the sole form of expression open to them. Accompanied by his brother
Earl Turbinton on tenor saxophone, young Willie Tee began playing piano with the Seminoles; the name
was premonitory. Willie logically incorporated elements of the rhythm he'd heard in the Indians' music;
they were content with the brilliance of their costumes over a simple tambourine, slaps from the solid
palms of their hands, and a long stick with which they hit the ground to mark time. Thanks to his teacher,
the legendary Harold Battiste, the jazz talents of Willie Tee had always been encouraged and he had a natural Like Harold Battiste or trumpeter Melvin Lastie, Willie Tee recorded rhythm'n'blues for money and fame
inclination towards bebop. In the early Sixties, Battiste founded A.F.O., “All For One” (“and one for all”), while continuing to play jazz for art's sake, and also because it was a passion. He had nothing but praise
a collective group that would briefly incarnate an alternative to New Orleans jazz. As the first Afro- for his mentors: “Horace Silver is one of my favourite pianists because his jazz piano puts the accent on
American label in the city, A.F.O. was always a vehicle for the (daring) political and economic implications the rhythm. Before jazz, I listened to the first recordings of Little Richard and Eddie Bo. I don't like
of a music industry whose black entrepreneurs had been banned at the beginning of the Sixties. The label everything he did, but Eddie is still one of my favourite singers. I was also very good friends with Aaron
illustrated a stubborn, proud line of musical conduct where all profits were equitably shared, but whose Neville; we both lived in the Calliope Project. I played on the original version of Tell it Like it Is, which
prospects remained flimsy outside the city. was co-written with guitarist George Davis. My name was changed from Little Will to Willie Tee after my

"Mardi Gras in New Orleans" a compilation LP of all the great Carnival rhythm and blues songs as issued on Mardi Gras
Professor Longhair (Henry Roeland Byrd) on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1977. (Michael P. Smith) Records in 1976 by Philippe Rault and Warren Hildebrand. Cover design by Jean Vern.

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manager suggested I choose between “Claybell,” “Glow Worm” or “Willie Tee.” My father was a jazz
trombonist. He stopped playing after my brother was born, but we always bathed in a jazz environment.
I used to hang around under the windows of the strip-clubs when I was just a kid, and the music they played
between two strip-numbers was just incredible. Ed Blackwell, Charles 'Hungry' Williams and all those
pioneers used to play such raw funk; it was jazzy and hip at the same time.”

In 1965 Willie Tee had a solid hit with the exquisite Teasin' You written by Earl King, a piece that kept him
in business for months. Three years later he recorded I'm Only a Man for David Axelrod. There was no
commercial fall-out from that Capitol album; its soft, elegant songs were anachronisms for the period. The
soul music of the mid-Sixties had transformed into funk and, in New Orleans like everywhere else in
America, musicians had to adapt to the new music trends that became a vogue in black neighbourhoods.
Willie Tee took up with the Gaturs and added some muscle. Torrid funk jams often took place at the Jazz
Workshop on Decatur Street in the heart of the French Quarter, a venue owned by philanthropist, film maker
and photographer Jules Cahn. It was a gathering place for adventurous free spirits who could bridge the gaps
between tradition and innovation. Thanks to an invitation from Cahn, and on Allison Miner's recommendation,
Quint Davis was there during an Indian parade performed by the White Eagles. “When I was a teenager I
had this dream in which I could see tambourines and alligator-shoes on a street corner. When I discovered
the Mardi Gras Indians I understood that it hadn't been a dream." His alter ego Allison was also a student
at Tulane University, and she had some solid contacts among the musicians of New Orleans. Together with
New Yorker George Wein, the organizer of the Newport Festival, the three of them launched the New
Orleans Jazz Fest in 1970. As an amateur, Cahn would document the first editions of the festival on film.

'Monk' Boudreaux, Big Chief of the Golden Eagles and 'Bo' Dollis, Big Chief of the Wild Magnolias, performing at the
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1976. Larry Panna (drums) in background. (Michael P. Smith) Crowd shots, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1976. (Michael P. Smith)

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Quint Davis always considered the Magnolias to be his most important discovery: “It was thanks to the
street parades that I discovered the Indians in the middle of the Sixties. Jules Cahn had started filming the
jazz funerals and I often went with him. Along with Allison, we were the only Whites there. He knew all
about the Indian rituals and took me to a White Eagles rehearsal. Thanks to Jules, a whole new world opened
up for me and I began recording them on tape. When I listened to those tapes, I couldn't believe my ears
when I heard the powerful voice of Bo Dollis! So I started to book performances by the Indians. I was president
of one of the student fraternities and one day they came to play at Tulane. Willie Tee and his Gaturs also
came along. Willie sat down at the piano and jammed with them, and I recorded it. When I listened to it later,
I found a new sound had been born. So I convinced them all to continue in this “Mardi Gras Rhythm 'n' Blues”
direction. Culturally it was important because the Indians' rehearsals often took place in bars like the
famous H&R, on 2nd Street and Dryades. Those bars always had a juke-box, but when the Indians were
ready to rehearse they'd just unplug it. I wanted to fill the vacuum between their rituals and the modern
music you could hear on the juke-box. I just wanted the Indians to be on the juke-box too, alongside Aretha
Franklin and all the other R'n'B stars of the period."

'Bo' Dollis, Big Chief, Wild Magnolias, 1973. (Michael P. Smith)

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Davis made the first decision to record the Wild Magnolias under modern conditions. He knew he was A genuine war cry, Handa Wanda was recorded in two parts, like the other singles from that period. Rough-
witnessing a phenomenon that was unique, a fascinating expression of local culture—raw and feverish, fast edged, the title resembles a funk war chant; it is carried by the bass of George French and the drumming
and wild. Like the other Mardi Gras Indians, the Magnolias were keeping their distances with the city's history of the Meters' 'Zigaboo' Modeliste, giving it fabulous syncopation. Davis considers this piece recorded in
of blues, gospel and jazz, and they sang with primitive simplicity, accompanying themselves on mono- Baton Rouge to be one of the genre's definitive titles: “Handa Wanda was written by Bo Dollis when he used
chrome tambourines with hypnotic hand-claps. In 1956, musicologist Samuel Charters had already recorded to drive a delivery-truck on Magnolia Avenue. I got Zigaboo from the Meters together with Willie Tee and
several Indian groups from New Orleans, but had done so from an ethnological standpoint rather than out his musicians, and in a single take we had our tune. The way it worked was red hot, and that single
of any commercial consideration. Davis talked to Theodore Emile 'Bo' Dollis, the leader of the Wild created the music of the Mardi Gras Indians. But it also drew attention to the ties uniting Afro-Americans,
Magnolias since 1964, and offered to record a 45rpm single with them. The rituals of Uptown and the Ninth Caribbean people and the Indians. Before that, whenever people saw Indians in the street they'd stay home
Ward's black working-class citizens suddenly found an echo in this marriage between Indian traditions and and lock the doors! The fact that you could now hear them over the radio brought new interest. It gave
amplified instruments. Allison and Quint Davis founded Crescent City Records, a label whose only reference people the chance to discover the local Black Indian culture. Even the Louisiana State Museum bought one
was the staggering Handa Wanda, a traditional Wild Magnolias song with modern musical arrangements. of Bo Dollis' suits, which would have been unthinkable earlier! The white community was totally
Gérard Herzhaft perfectly summarized the music practice of the black Mardi Gras Indians: “The vocal style unaware of these costumes; sometimes they saw splashes of colour in the streets, but that was it. The Jazz
of the people in the Mississippi Valley puts the accent on the middle and bass registers. The verse often Fest was the first place to welcome the Indians outside of their own wards, beginning with the Wild
ends with a cry, and rapid vibratos at the end of each stanza. Most songs from this region consist of ono- Magnolias; then they were joined by the Golden Eagles of Monk Boudreaux. Before that, Indian rituals were
matopoeias and syllables with no lexical meaning, which are then mixed with elaborate texts. The singer rarely peaceful. When Bo Dollis led a parade from Canal Street down to Congo Square in 1970, it was the
doesn't compose as such; he catches verses floating in the air, and he has to put them together in such a way first time they'd appeared in a place where people paid to see them!”
that they engender peace and harmony. Most of the songs demonstrate an antiphonic system of call and
response. The singer throws out a short phrase to which the other participants respond.”

Golden Eagle practice with Chief 'Monk' Boudreaux (vocals), Larry Boudreaux (conga), H&R bar on 2nd Street and
'Bo' Dollis, Big Chief, Wild Magnolias, on the streets at Carnival, 1989. (Michael P. Smith) Dryades, Uptown New Orleans, 1980. (Michael P. Smith)

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'Bo' Dollis, Chief of the Wild Magnolias, and his Queen, 1982. (Michael P. Smith) 'Bo' Dollis, Chief of the Wild Magnolias, 1978. (Michael P. Smith)

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'Monk' Boudreaux, Chief of the Golden Eagles, 1980. (Michael P. Smith) 'Bo' Dollis, Chief of the Wild Magnolias, 1989. (Michael P. Smith)

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Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians, 1974. (Michael P. Smith) 'Monk' Boudreaux, Chief of the Golden Eagles, Carnival 1989. (Michael P. Smith)

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French producer-journalist Philippe Rault was a great admirer of the music of the American South, and
Handa Wanda, together with his first experience of the jubilant performances of the Magnolias, stopped
him in his tracks. In November 1972 he met the Wild Magnolias and returned to Paris with a copy of their single
and a few photographs taken by Michael P. Smith. He didn't have any trouble convincing Eddie Barclay.
After several months of discussion with Quint Davis and George Wein they negotiated a contract. At the
beginning of 1973 a memorable evening in London marked the Indians' first encounter with the world outside.
After their incredible reception, Willie Tee began marshalling his troops under the New Orleans Project
banner, a name they owed to Quint Davis. Willie didn't much care for the name; it recalled bad memories
of the housing “project” of his childhood. He brought in his brother Earl, drummer Larry Panna and bassist
Julius Farmer, a protégé of Alvin Batiste trained at Southern University in Baton Rouge. Veteran Alfred
“Uganda” Roberts, for years one of Professor Longhair's faithful sidemen, joined the Wild Magnolias on congas
and added an Afro-Cuban flavour to their funky brew. In December 1973, Philippe Rault took them all into
the rural Studio In The Country in Bogalusa, Professor Longhair's hometown. Rault remembers a “permanent
celebration” ambiance reigning over their ten days on that ranch in Louisiana, with Indians getting lost in
the pine-forest a few miles outside town where they'd gone fishing and hunting turtles… Alchemy weaved
its spell and each of the tracks were recorded in a few takes, mostly. Engineer Steve Hodge recorded the
rhythm tracks with Willie Tee and the Gaturs, sometimes overdubbing the Indians as on SmokeMy Peace
Pipe (Smoke It Right) or Corey Died On The Battlefield, sometimes recording them live with the backup
band as in Two Way Pak E Way or Meet The Boys. Sound treatment was added later at mixing time.

'Bo' Dollis, Chief of the Wild Magnolias on Carnival Day, 1980. (Michael P. Smith)

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a b

Quite spontaneously, Willie, the New Orleans Project and the Magnolias became one; it was an explosive,
gleeful mixture like a parade without end. Chief 'Bo' Dollis chanted with Chief 'Monk' Boudreaux of the
Golden Eagles tribe. The other Indians, 'Gator June' Johnson, Jr., 'Gate' Johnson, James Smothers, 'Bubba'
Scott, 'Quarter Moon' Tobias and 'Crip' Adams shared choruses and tambourines with triangles, bells, whistles a
and a myriad of little percussion instruments. You can hear traditional African polyrhythm on the album
together with instant pop melodies mixed with deep Amerindian culture and the breathing of New Orleans,
all of it sustained by syncopated drums that disclose the suffering of the blues, like that of Willie Tee:
“Corey Died on The Battlefield recalls the painful era of slavery. I was trying to find a universal way of
expressing what happened in New Orleans.” Two Way Pak E Way, made popular that same year by the
Meters under the title Hey Pocky Way, is one of the Indians' most popular songs. It's an Americanized
variant of the Creole “t'ouwais bas q'ouwais”, the French phrase sung by pioneer Jelly Roll Morton at the
end of the Thirties in his piece Two Way Pocky Way, a highly popular tune in the streets of New Orleans.
The informal hero of these sessions was guitar genius Snooks Eaglin, recruited thanks to Allison Miner.
The eventful manoeuvres needed to get him on the album resembled the intricate plot of an Alexandre
Dumas novel, particularly when his guitars had to be recovered from a pawnshop. Willie Tee makes it all
seem so simple: “Nobody understands the genius of Snooks Eaglin even today. Snooks played a whole lot
more than you could hear. Just listen. I used to hear Snooks play on the street when I was a boy. You can
hear the same simplicity in his chords; they're amazingly efficient. I think that everyone was good on that
first organic album. Julius Farmer obtained a scholarship to study with Stanley Clarke, and we went to New
York to open for Freddie Hubbard at Carnegie Hall. Julius only had one lesson with Stanley Clarke…
because it was Stanley who asked him to show him some of his tricks!”

In the Spring of 1974 Rault went to Memphis for a meeting with Stax Records' Al Bell, who'd also expressed
an interest. Nothing came of it however, and American distribution of the Barclay recording was finally
picked up by Polydor U.S. after Rault went to New York; president Jerry Schoenbaum agreed to take on
the project and the first album by the Wild Magnolias was released in April in the U.S.
b
a. Wild Magnolias and Golden Eagles Indian practice with 'Crip' Adams (left) and 'Alligator June' (with tambourine).
a. First Wild Magnolias LP, Barclay 80 529. b. From left to right: Alfred 'Uganda' Roberts (congas), 'Monk' Boudreaux, 'Bo' Dollis, 'Alligator June', 'Bubba' Scott
b. Second Wild Magnolias LP, Barclay 90 033. and friends at Indian practice. H&R Bar, Uptown New Orleans, 1974. (Michael P. Smith)

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It was a spring bouquet of tropical flowers with dizzy tribal refrains that nobody had ever heard
before. It was festive music from beginning to end, with a terrific dance feel thanks to irresistible melodies
like the incendiary (Somebody Got) Soul Soul, Soul, a variant of the Indian "couture" hymn chanted in the
1930's by the Wild Squatoolas under the title (Somebody Got to) Sew, Sew, Sew. In late Spring 1974, Smoke
My Peace Pipe (Smoke It Right), an ode to marijuana, an essential component of the Mardi Gras Indian
culture advocating tribal harmony, reached #74 on the Billboard charts and stayed for six weeks. It gave
rise to a whirlwind of incantations and ceremonial feathers riding high over Indian war songs, demented
tambourines, beaded moccasins and multicoloured pearls from the stage of Carnegie Hall in New York
to the Capitol Center in Washington. The public was dumbfounded, fascinated by their technicolor
parade. Back in the wings, the first signs of dissension began to appear between musicians and Indians,
an awesome bunch like a kind of New Orleans Family Stone...

Along with their tribes, chiefs 'Bo' Dollis and 'Monk' Boudreaux were now celebrating what Rault tastily
called “the rhythm of seduction,” the raw material of funk. In February 1975, Rault produced sessions for
a second album, “They Call Us Wild,” which was released in France, Spain and Canada the following May.
In a laid-back atmosphere, the opus illustrated the musical hedonism and funk that typified New Orleans.
Continual changes at the head of the U.S. division of Polydor indefinitely postponed an American release.
Most of its nine tracks were written by Willie Tee. On their first album, Willie had been at the service of
the Wild Magnolias as an accompanist, but the second Magnolias record was actually a Willie Tee album,
and he expressed himself to the full, incidentally showing the direction he would take on his first solo
album “Anticipation,” which was released the following year.

A Mardi Gras classic, New Suit related the way the Indians could spend a whole year working on their new
costumes. Anchored palpably in the Indians' everyday existence, this title appeared in America as a single
on New Orleans Treehouse Records, the label run by Warren Hildebrand, one of the two heirs to All South, Selected bibiliography
the largest independent distributor in this part of the Deep South. It was a record by a collective, with more
jazz influences and less funk and individualism, and “They Call Us Wild” caused a surprise due to its
modern sound. Willie Tee noted: “On the second album I tried to find a way to write pieces about Indian John Broven, Walking To New Orleans. Blues Unlimited, Bexhill-on-Sea, England, 1974.
rituals, and also songs allowing the Magnolias to be something more than just a one-off phenomenon.
I wanted to bring about a kind of fusion between organic and modern. On “They Call Us Wild” we were Robert and Mason Florence, New Orleans Cemeteries: Life in the Cities of the Dead. Batture Press, New Orleans, 1997.
already doing what's popular today. Unfortunately, many songs didn't find an echo. When we were kids,
my grandfather used to sing Ah Anka Ting Tang Boo Shanka Boo to give us a scare. I had the chance to use Jeff Hannusch, I Hear You Knockin'. Swallow Publications, Inc., Ville Plate, LA. 1985.
that incantation again, which evokes voodoo mysticism. Jumalaka Boom Boom also belongs to the novelty
song characteristics of the city. But the spirit of that record quickly evaporated.” Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) and Jack Rummel, Under a Hoodoo Moon: The Life of Dr. John the Night Tripper
St. Martin's Press, New York, 1994.
Philippe Rault left Barclay at the end of April 1975 after making a large contribution to the music of the
Art, Aaron, Charles, Cyril Neville and David Ritz, The Brothers. Da Capo Press, Cambridge, MA., 2001.
South he loves so much. Three decades later, these two albums by the Wild Magnolias remain vibrant
testimonials to the soul of New Orleans, a city that has always faced up to adversity. It's a Black-Creole- Joseph Roach, Cities of the Dead: Circum Atlantic Performance. Columbia University Press, New York, 1996.
Indian city where the scent of magnolias and the impetuosity of Mardi Gras funk will always express incredible
resistance in the face of not only natural and social catastrophes, but also simplistic musical categorization. Michael P. Smith, Mardi Gras Indians. Pelican Publishing Company, Gretna, LA, 1994.
Without a doubt, Handa Wanda and all those hymns with eternal vibrations will ring out forever in the
skies of New Orleans: “Injuns, here we come back!” Florent Mazzoleni, James Brown, l’Amérique noire, la soul et le funk. Hors Collection, Paris, France, 2005.

Florent Mazzoleni From left to right: 'Monk' Boudreaux, 'Bo' Dollis, 'Quarter Moon' Tobias on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage
English translation by Martin Davies. Festival, 1976. In the background: Alfred 'Uganda' Roberts (percussion), 'Guitar' June (guitar). (Michael P. Smith)

34 35
a

a. 'Quarter Moon' Tobias, 'Alligator' June and friend, H&R Bar, 1974. (Michael P. Smith)
'Quarter Moon' Tobias, H&R Bar, Uptown New Orleans, 1974. (Michael P. Smith) b. Indian practice at the H&R bar on 2nd Street and Dryades, 1978. (Michael P. Smith)

36 37
Black Eagles Indian practice at First Base Lounge, New Orleans, 1980. (Michael P. Smith)

38
“Drag it up from wherever your memory hides those things,” they said. So I did. They were compiling the
liner notes for this album, and someone let slip that I'd had first-hand experience of this bunch. It was quite true.

My first road-trip as a minder for American musicians had all the bells and whistles—literally and figuratively—
that one usually associates with eight large, black, tourist-looking-but-otherwise-normal people from New
Orleans, (i.e. sandals, flowery shirts, straw hats), plus the six guys from the band that travelled with them.
These were also normal, tourist-looking musicians and, as if to prove it, they wore a few cameras dotted
around the same flowery shirts. Saying I was their “minder” is a euphemism; actually I worked for the label
that had signed them. I was the most recent, and therefore the most humble, addition to the Barclay Records
promotion department, which meant that I also had to “mind” a certain Bob Hart from “The Sun” (a UK
tabloid known less for its devotion to popular music than for the large breasts it featured on page three)
and, definitely devoted to music, Ray Coleman, then the editor of 'Melody Maker'. His presence, I felt, was
owed more to the fact that I'd traded him two seats for McCoy Tyner's set (in exchange for several column-
inches in his paper) than to the fact that nobody in England had heard of The Wild Magnolias. Or even the
fact that Chris MacGregor's Brotherhood of Breath was on the same bill at the 1975 Antibes Juan-les-Pins
Jazz Festival. Ray was very happy with that; it was an unforeseen bonus that put him in a very good mood.
We all had dinner Sunday night in the gardens of Le Provençal, the hotel closest to the stage, and Chris
MacGregor was, well, loud. The trip was turning out fine, but our arrival hadn't gone smoothly from the
word go: “to Antibes, young man!”. In fact, there had been a little incident on the way through Nice airport
on the Saturday morning. You might call it a test of initiative, but it felt more like cardiac arrest.

'Bo' Dollis, Chief of the Wild Magnolias on stage, New Orleans, 1973. (Michael P. Smith)

40 41
still technically in no man's land, on the wrong side of the terminal. Beneath the iridescent feathers lay
slick, white, turquoise, pink, orange and blue suits of velvet and lace embroidered with emeralds, diamonds,
rubies, opals and sapphires. Or so it was thought. I'd seen the photographs, and they were only rhinestones,
sequins and glass beads, but they sure looked real to me.

“They're only rhinestones”, I stammered.


“Rhine-what?”
“Rhinestones. Costume stuff. Glass beads. They're dummies.”
“They look genuine to me, sir.”
“No, really? I thought real stones always looked a bit dull. These sparkle too much to be the real thing,
wouldn't you say?”
“They'll have to be impounded, all the same. You can't bring them into the country just like that. There's
the import duty to start with…”
“But these are costumes. Fancy dress. These guys are going to wear them onstage tomorrow. They're going
off to London on Monday.”
“Who are they, then?”
“Well, this one's Joseph Pierre Boudreaux. Calls himself 'Monk'. Passport number C2733604. And that
one's Theodore Emile Dollis. 'Bo' to his friends. In fact, these are the Wild Magnolias.”
“I see. You're saying this is a temporary importation? That these goods are not staying in France? They
should have been declared at Orly.”
“Absolutely temporary. No way they're staying here. This is just another job for these guys. They're plugging
an album.”
“Then that's a different matter altogether. Happens all the time during the Festival.”
“OK, fine. Just show me which form to fill in.”
“Here you are, sir. There'll be a 64.000 francs deposit as a guarantee.”
“Say again?”
“64.000 francs. The deposit. As a guarantee.”
“What… guarantee, exactly?”
“Just to make sure the merchandise leaves the country on Monday, sir. Otherwise the suits stay here.” He
gave me a look.
“Ah.”

I was trying to calculate how many years I'd have to promote eight Mardi Gras Indians for the Barclay label
in order to pay back the deposit, should anything happen to Monk Boudreaux's rhinestones in the next 24
hours. It would take a thousand years… They'd kill me if the Magnolias did the gig in their shorts. There
was a bus waiting outside; the office in Paris was closed; mobile phones hadn't been invented; and it was
July, one of the two months when French businesses are dormant. Especially on Saturdays on the Riviera,
and especially French banks anywhere. So I wrote a personal cheque for 64.000 francs, and then looked
for a prayer-mat. I'd try and call the label's accountant from the hotel; maybe he could square this with my
“One second, please. What's in those bags?” bank.

I'd had no idea, but I was soon to find out. I was still idly wondering if the band had brought “substances” 'Crip' Adams gave me a heart-massage in the bus. “It's OK, man, we got away.” Yes, we did. The rest was
all the way from Louisiana, or maybe just Paris “substances” acquired during their stopover, when the a blur. When the band piled out of the bus in front of Le Provençal we got a standing ovation from the bell-hop,
Customs gentlemen in blue suits began heaving huge piles of ostrich feathers onto the counter. We were the keys from the concierge, and several flunkeys to carry bags, bells and whistles to various suites.

The Golden Eagles from left to right: 'Quarter Moon' Tobias, Chief 'Monk' Boudreaux, 'Alligator June', 1978. (Michael P. Smith)

42 43
“So, what's been going on, then?” said Ray Coleman.
“Long story. You can do me a favour and get me a whisky.” I tried to explain, hoping it would work wonders
for the mileage I was expecting from his paper, but Ray had other things on his mind.
“It's OK for McCoy Tyner, is it? And another thing - I bumped into Cecil Taylor while you were gone, and
we're going to have lunch with him up in the hills.” He jerked a thumb skywards behind him.
“Wonderful. So, your paper's paying for the taxi then.”
The sun was high. While Cecil Taylor was explaining the merits of grilled shrimp to the Melody Maker's
editor sitting in the shade, the Wild Magnolias were getting serious back at Le Provençal. Someone, maybe
the band's manager Quint Davis, but probably 'Bo' Dollis, a man who still sings his songs in the same key
after thirty years, had figured that what sleepy, summertime Antibes needed before the show was a genuine,
down-home, New Orleans-style parade. With rhinestones. The Magnolias excelled at this ritual, even
during rehearsals up and down the stairs of Le Provençal, which was the largest open space available for
them to work on their motivation. When we came back down the hill after Cecil Taylor's rather esoteric
shrimp-monologue, there was a press conference; what the French journalists most wanted to know seemed
to have more to do with ethnology than musicology, but at least they could pronounce 'Boudreaux'. What,
for example, did they think about “Cajun” being a corruption of the French word “Acadien?” Could the
Magnolias' visit somehow be interpreted as a “return home,” perhaps? All such intellectual questions were
politely fielded and tossed aside with rhythm. Their English journalist-comrades, on the other hand, had
little difficulty pronouncing “Bordeaux” until they'd had too much of it, and then they opened fire. Was
playing in France a dream? Where did Crip's nickname come from? (Because he walked with a limp.) Had
they had enough time to recover from their jet-lag? What time were they due in London? Did they enjoy
the sun and the wine? Probably.
Sunday dawned, although nobody saw it, and throughout the afternoon we just hung around waiting for
sunset. Dusk came, and with it the business. Sound-check. Chanting is hardly the word to describe the
sounds that came moaning out of that five-star hotel. Nobody had ever heard that kind of rhythm in
Antibes, not even Sidney Bechet. Willie Tee and his brother Earl Turbinton were hand-clapping, and doing
it like they played piano and alto (Earl had recently collaborated with Joe Zawinul on In A Silent Way.
Willie had his own band at the time). Out came the Magnolias in full regalia, waving tambourines, cow-bells,
triangles and whistles, and shaking congas and the odd bongo; they sashayed down the front steps, second-
lined their way around the gardens, and then swayed up the street before circling back down towards the
stage. They were working on the theory that nothing was too outrageous, although they probably drew the
line at coming onstage with a snake down their throats. The feathers were quite enough. With every step
they gathered a crowd, and soon the Festival grounds were jammed with both ticket-holders and locals who
hadn't bothered to buy any. That's how irresistible the Magnolias were before they even got near a stage.
When they finally came on, Willie & Earl, plus Larry Panna & Co., had already taken up position with a
D6 clavinet, a Fender suitcase piano, four huge amplifiers, an alto clarinet, alto and soprano saxes, percussion,
bass and drums. Together they were blowing their souls straight back to Rampart and Decatur Streets.
As for the Magnolias as soon as they hit They Call Us Wild most of the people in Juan-les-Pins went nuts.
Post Scriptum.
Quint Davis was a student at Tulane University and part-time shepherd for the Wild Magnolias when not
busy being Music Director for the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. It was Quint, I believe, who recovered
my cheque on the way home. None of which has anything to do with these marvellous tracks recorded in
Bogalusa, except for the rhinestones.

Martin Davies Mardi Gras Indian, Wild Magnolias Tribe, 1974. (Michael P. Smith)

44 45
I guess it all started because of Fird 'Snooks' Eaglin, the very soulful blind guitar player/singer from New
Orleans, Louisiana. In 1968, I was working for the international department of Disques Barclay in Paris
and my then boss and friend, Bernard de Bosson, shared with me a fascination for Snooks' music. Back in
1962, when Bernard worked for the French division of Polydor Records, he had released with unbounded
enthusiasm an Imperial EP featuring Snooks under the promising banner Le Nouveau Génie. That's Genius
as in Ray Charles. Coincidentally, Snooks had also been dubbed Little Ray Charles in the U.S.
Malheureusement, nothing much had happened with that particular disc (I'm Slipping, Going to the River),
despite the airplay granted by Uncle Dan (Filipacchi) on the most popular teenage radio show of the day
in France, the famous “Salut Les Copains” on Europe Nº 1.

On my end, as a student exploring the record bins of the Latin Quarter music stores around 1966, I had fallen
for an LP by Snooks on Storyville Records, entitled “Portrait in Blues” (Vol.1). It included such gems as
Bottle Up & Go, Alberta and an outstanding version of Malagueña, Snooks' very unique bluesy take on
the Spanish flamenco classic. Bernard's and my combined interests in his style and very diverse repertoire
led us into enthusiastic conversations that would routinely end by where is Snooks now? Is he still playing
music? Can we ever find him? Being far away from Louisiana at the time, and with no easy access to information
about the current New Orleans music scene, those questions were always impossible to answer.

Fird 'Snooks' Eaglin on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1977. (Michael P. Smith)

46 47
had pawned his guitar to buy a refrigerator, but they had been able to retrieve the instrument and had teamed
him up with Professor Longhair at the 1971, second edition of the New Orleans Jazz Festival. Roy Byrd,
a.k.a. Professor Longhair, one of the most outstanding piano players from the Crescent City, was finally
being rediscovered after years in total career obscurity. Would I want to meet him and did I know about
the black Mardi Gras tradition and the Wild Magnolias Indians? They were having a practice that afternoon
at Longhair's house on Rampart Street, would I be interested into coming along? It sounded like an opportunity
not to be missed, and in fact this is how I was first introduced to Theodore Emile 'Bo' Dollis, chief of the
Wild Magnolias, to Joseph Pierre 'Monk' Boudreaux, chief of the Golden Eagles, and their crew, in the
living room of Professor Longhair's narrow shotgun house. This was surely a once-in-a-lifetime moment
for me. Hearing for the first time at close range those Afro-Caribbean rhythms mixed with the New Orleans
street call and response vocals, turned out to be a formidable revelation.

I was familiar with Big Chief, as Fess had performed that New Orleans standard with Earl King on his 1964
Watch Records single. Now, I was face to face with the Big Chief, in person. Bo Dollis' outstanding vocals
and charismatic presence, his gang's drive and unflinching support, turned out to be an irresistible artistic
experience! Quint and Allison showed me photos of the fantastic homemade Mardi Gras Indians costumes
that the Wild Magnolias donned for Carnival Day and on St. Joseph Day. The strong visual harking back to
the American native people took this powerful first musical experience to an even higher consciousness.
After a few hours of going through a large variety of Mardi Gras songs, the Wild Magnolias party proceeded
to the H&R bar, a short distance away, on the corner of 2nd Street and Dryades, their official headquarters,
where Indian practice continued late into the night.

Before leaving New Orleans a few days later, Quint and Allison handed me the 45 r.p.m. recording of one
of the Wild Magnolias main rallying songs that had been recently produced by Quint for his Crescent City
label imprint in a Baton Rouge studio, Handa Wanda (Part 1 & 2). This single blended the black Indians
street music with the New Orleans funk and jazz of a talented local keyboardist and singer, Wilson
Turbinton a.k.a. Willie Tee. Willie Tee covered a lot of musical ground, from modern jazz with his brother,
saxophonist Earl Turbinton, an alumni of the Cannonball Adderley band, to funk and soul, where he had
distinguished himself with a R'n'B charting single Teasing You on Atlantic in 1965. The end result of the
stylistic gumbo on the Handa Wanda 45 single was like a keg of musical dynamite, spearheaded by 'Bo'
Dollis' raucous and abandoned vocal, a mighty testimony to the power of New Orleans funk and African
roots. On first hearing, I knew I had to get Disques Barclay involved with this new and unique sound. This
was going to be my next mission: to have these awesome singers and musicians signed up and recorded.
Armed with only the Handa Wanda single and a series of powerful photos by Michael P. Smith of 'Bo'
As it turned out, in 1971, I produced for Barclay several blues albums among which, one by piano player and Dollis and the Wild Magnolias, I returned to Paris ready to convince the “powers that be” to sign up the
singer Roosevelt Sykes, then a resident of New Orleans 9th Ward.When I headed for the Crescent City the project to the label.
following year, the unanswered questions about Snooks came back into focus. Roosevelt being one of my few
contacts in town, I immediately visited him upon my arrival and after a warm welcome Louisiana style Success in that particular endeavour took a while, nearly a whole year to be exact. After effectively convincing
—red beans and rice and a six-pack of Dixie beer—I put to him the where is Snooks Eaglin quiz. He Eddie Barclay of the potential of this act, for the following ten months, international negociations went
promptly indicated that if anybody knew of his whereabouts, it would have to be the two young people who back and forth between Quint, the Wild Magnolias, George Wein, Quint and Allison's principal partner and
had recently booked him into the local, new and fledging New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival,Quint main associate in the New Orleans Jazz Festival, their lawyers, Disques Barclay's lawyers in New York
Davis and Allison Miner. My time in town was limited, so I arranged to meet with Quint and Allison the City, Paul Marshall and Stewart Silfen, and various boosters for the Wild Magnolias at the Paris Barclay
very next day, at their home on the corner of Chartres and Frenchmen streets, in the Faubourg Marigny. office such as Cyril Brillant, the head of the export department. Don't forget that in those days: no internet,
That's where the ball really got rolling in many different directions and way beyond my original quest. no emails, no fax even, just slow international snail mail and telex machines. Finally, twelve months later,
Snooks, well, yes of course, he was alive and well in St. Rose, Louisiana. He was on disability and his wife in December 1973, I was headed back to New Orleans to produce the first Wild Magnolias album.

Quint Davis and Professor Longhair. on stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1977. (Michael P. Smith)

48 49
You may ask, what had happened to my quest for Snooks Eaglin in the meantime? Well, when it came time
to choose the musicians who would accompany the Wild Magnolias on their first album recording adventure,
we knew, of course, that Willie Tee would lead on all the assorted keyboards and arrange. From his own
regular group, the Gaturs, Larry Panna was picked as the drummer. Willie's brother, Earl Turbinton, Jr. would
be a featured soloist on alto and soprano saxophone and even on bass clarinet. Earl and Willie had worked with
an outstanding young Southern University student, a protégé of music master Alvin Batiste, Julius Farmer on the
bass, and they both recommended him. To reinforce the percussion side of the band, Alfred “Uganda” Roberts,
a permanent sideman to Professor Longhair, was also hired without hesitation. Alfred knew the Mardi Gras Indians
scene very well and used to join their practices at the H&R bar, so he was very familiar with their musical idiom.
He fitted right in. That left the lead guitar seat to be filled,and guess who was the musician heading the
list? Snooks, of course. He would bring all the funk and fire that was required by the material of the Wild
Magnolias and an unmatched adaptability to the different grooves that Willie Tee was going to create for
the rhythm tracks. Snooks was the man, as much for his rock steady rhythm parts as for his burning lead
guitar work. Our search for Fird Eaglin had come to its conclusion and the cycle was finally completed.

The studio we picked for the recording was a brand new facility, not in New Orleans as one could have
expected, but 60 miles to the north of the city, across Lake Ponchartrain's 25 mile-long bridge, the famous
Causeway, and into the flat pine forest region that blankets this part of the Deep South. Bogalusa, the Black
Creek in Choctaw Indian, a blue-collar redneck paper mill town along the road leading to the Pearl River,
the official stateline between Louisiana and Mississippi. It featured one short piece of a main street with a
couple of eateries along the way, and a notable stench of rotten cabbage—yes! the Crown-Zellerbach paper
mill—that one would try to avoid, according to the direction of the wind. Most of the time in vain. Besides
being the birthplace of Professor Longhair, a fact that seemed lost on most locals, it also held the infamous
reputation of having been a hotbed of K.K.K. activities up to a very recent past. Not a thing that the local
Chamber of Commerce would promote in its brochure, but a real hard fact nevertheless in the post-civil
rights movement days of 1973. It turned out that Bill Blue Evans, a local kid with a brief Hollywood recording
engineer experience and a wealthy dad, had just built outside of town in the middle of the pine forest on
Old Varnado Highway, a million dollar recording facility, the likes of which certainly could not be found in
New Orleans. It even very seriously competed with other top studios in Nashville, the closest music business
center, 600 miles away. The celebrated Tom Headley, founder of Westlake Audio in Los Angeles and the The Wild Magnolias Mardi Gras Indians (in full regalia) had officially crossed Canal Street from their
ultimate studio designer of the decade, had personally supervised the coming together of Studio In The Uptown headquarters for the first time only in 1970, and this in order to perform at the original edition of
Country. But, as far as choosing our place of work for the Wild Magnolias project, the clinching factor was the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival in Congo Square. Besides a very quick one-nighter in London
mostly the meeting with the in-house recording engineer, Stephen Hodge. A former engineer at MGM studios for some rich banker friends of Ahmet Ertegun, the head of Atlantic Records, they had never set foot outside
in Los Angeles, with a serious pedigree to boot—Val Valentin was his uncle and had tutored him and entrusted of the U.S. and very rarely outside of New Orleans. In retrospect, it seems that bringing 15 black New
him with some major U.S. and Latin artists recordings—Steve immediately displayed the type of confidence Orleanians to Bogalusa, a remote and potentially inhospitable part of Louisiana, was a bit of a stretch.
and sense of sonic adventure that I was looking for. If anything, I wanted some serious sound experimentation I remember Willie Tee evoking a few horror stories about gigs in clubs in this redneck-heavy Eastern part
to compliment the unorthodox musical gumbo that Willie Tee and his band were going to bring to the table. of the State. Professor Longhair did not seem to harbor too many good memories about his birthplace
This was not going to be some Smithsonian traditional folk fare destine for the Library of Congress either. Whether the Indians themselves knew much about “living country,” was doubtful. But the gods were
documenting the ethnic proclivities of black New Orleans street music. Quint Davis said he wanted the Wild on our side and with the gracious help of Bill Evans, Jim Bateman, the studio manager in its early days,
Magnolias to compete with the latest R'n'B bands on the juke box at the H&R bar and I fully concurred and the full cooperation of the house staff, we all set sails to Bogalusa across the great Lake Ponchartrain that
with him on that artistic direction. I wished to be even more adventurous and bring the most contemporary December of 1973, to produce the first Wild Magnolias album. For a couple of weeks we settled into a long
sound elements techniques of rock as I had experienced them with some of the more creative English recording low-lying woodhouse half a mile down the road from Studio In The Country. “The Ranch,” as it had been
engineers such as George Chkiantz and Keith Harwood at Olympic Sounds Studio in London. Stephen nicknamed by the folks at studio, became our home away from New Orleans for a couple of weeks. It turned
Hodge immediately appeared to be the right person for this purpose and we decided to choose Studio In into a crowded refuge from the center of creative activities a short distance away. Constant cooking seem to take
The Country, mostly for that reason, certainly not for the social setting of the city of Bogalusa. place 24/7 under the wary eye of Mamie Tillman, who had quite a task keeping this bunch well-fed and happy.

Mardi Gras Indian Practice, November 1970. Courtesy of the Jules Cahn Collection from the Historic New Orleans Collection
From left to right: 'Monk' Boudreaux, 'Gate' Johnson, 'Alligator June' and Quint Davis.

50 51
On the first night in the studio, in order to establish the balance set-up for the Indians and for Willie Tee's band,
we had everyone jamming together on Two Way Pak E Way. I shall always remember Bill Evans, the studio
owner, walking into the control-room while we were still adjusting the vocals and the instruments. He stood
there flabbergasted by the musical funk & fire burning on the other side of the glass. With his jaw dropping
he said: Man! you're crazy, you ain't never gonna be able to do a record with these guys. Well, Bill, I should
have been a betting man! Though as an outsider walking in on this situation, I can totally understand his
reaction. The track on the album recorded that night pretty much reflects the wildness of the moment.

The eight Indians plus a number of friends and associates who had trailed along all the way from the hood
were being fast and furious. Lots of Mad Dog 20/20 had been consumed and the song that Willie Tee wrote
about Smoke My Peace Pipe, Smoke It Right had not been lost on anyone. But in due time during the next
several days, a method to the madness was put in place and we did cut rhythm tracks with just a guide
vocal, 'Bo' or Willie, and used overdubs to record the final lead vocals and the Indians vocals. Willie also
added several layers of keyboards and Earl Turbinton laid down some horn overdubs, especially the bass
clarinet on Saints. Willie had some very specific ideas of arrangements that we helped him build and
concretize. All the talk-box effects in Smoke My Peace Pipe and Corey Died were also overdubs, naturally. We
definitely wanted the spontaneity of the live rhythm section but we also used all the techniques available to
come up with a current contemporary sound. Loops, backward recordings, phasing effects and so forth.
This is where Stephen Hodge's part was crucial. He understood and knew how to do all this and still keep the
rawness and spontaneity of the music of the New Orleans street. We were lucky to have him as a recording
engineer, as he proved to be an enthusiastically creative soundman and a great collaborator to the project.

How was Snooks doing in the middle of all this? Well, he was having a ball and everyone of his guitar
solos on the first Wild Magnolias album is the original take. His soulfulness and virtuosity were so out-
standing, how could you possibly improve on such definitive and inspired playing?

A few days before Christmas 1973, we wrapped up the mixing sessions and very excitedly headed back to
town for a well deserved holiday break, during which Willie initiated me to the joys of eggnog and Yuletide
New Orleans style. We knew we had something special in hand and could not wait to test the album on the Unfazed, we nevertheless prepared ourselves for the production of album number two, “They Call Us Wild,”
unprepared A&R offices of American record companies. By March 1974, Peter Siegel and Jerry which we recorded in February 1975, also at Studio In the Country. The approach this time was focused
Schoenbaum had won the auction and Polydor Records U.S. became the designated record label licensing on the style of songs that seemed to have attracted the most attention on the first album, namely the original
the album Stateside. A couple of months later Smoke My Peace Pipe, took off on the national R'n'B charts, songs that Willie Tee had written in 1973 for the Wild Magnolias, Corey Died and Smoke My Peace Pipe.
albeit in a censored abridged version. It looked like the American airwaves were not ready, even in 1974, In fact, aside of Fire Water, Injuns Here We Come and Ho Na Nae, which was a track leftover from the
for lyrics such as:“Ain't nothing like a real good high ; Just take a few hits, put some smoke on your mind” 1973 recordings, all the songs on the 1975 second album were Willie Tee's. Stylistically, it seems therefore
and further:“Columbian, Acapulco Gold, Can't compare to what I hold.” correct to say, as Florent Mazzoleni indicates in his liner notes, that this was a Willie Tee album much more
so than the first Wild Magnolias album. But there was never any fuss about that new direction from the
The first Wild Magnolias album received unanimous critical success. Unfortunately, it did not translate into Magnolias' point of view, as everyone was very happy to utilize Willie's strong songwriting contribution to
big album sales, even if the single Smoke My Peace Pipe had a promising good run for a few months. its utmost. Outside of 'Bo' Dollis, 'Monk' Boudreaux & the Wild Magnolias themselves, he understood better
Polydor U.S. was plagued at the time by serious corporate growing pains and, following a pattern repeated than anyone what the Indians were all about, and was able to translate that state of mind and that attitude
at that company over most of the 70s, president Jerry Schoenbaum left the label in 1975 after only a short into material that they could entirely relate to. So much so that he gave them, in the batch of tunes he wrote
tenure. A new president and a new administration then entered the picture, with projects of their own, and for this second album, an instant Mardi Gras Carnival season classic, New Suit. That song, since its initial
according to an often repeated scenario in the music industry, it was out with the old and in with the new, U.S. release in 1976 on Warren Hildebrand's local New Orleans Treehouse label—later to become Mardi
even if untested. As the commercial achievement of the first Wild Magnolias album had been lukewarm, Gras Records—has been for 30 years now a stalwart Mardi Gras tune on par with Professor Longhair's
the licensing contract for the act in the U.S. was basically dropped for the next album due in 1975. Go To The Mardi Gras, The Hawketts' Mardi Gras Mambo, Al Johnson's Carnival Time and a few others:
Hey! La Bas: welcome to the music business, cher! “Every year for Carnival Time, we make a New Suit…”

Official photo of the Wild Magnolias for the U.S. release of their first LP on Polydor Records. Top row, from left to right:
'Monk' Boudreaux, Chief of the Golden Eagles, Theodore Emile 'Bo' Dollis, Chief of the Wild Magnolias. Bottom row:
'Bubba' Scott, James Smothers, 'Crip' Adams, 'Gate' Johnson, 'Alligator June', 'Quarter Moon' Tobias. 1974. (Michael P. Smith)

52 53
'Bo' Dollis and the Wild Magnolias reappeared on the recording scene finally in 1990 on Rounder Records
thanks to the dedicated work of Allison Miner after she took over the management of the band. Under the
title “I'm Back at Carnival Time,” that album explored a number of Carnival mainstay songs, revisited
Iko, Iko and Golden Crown and even took on the Zydeco classic by Clarence Garlow, Bon Ton Roulet and
Professor Longhair's Tipitina.

In 1993, I had a chance to work again with 'Bo', 'Monk' Boudreaux and Gitchie Johnson, but in a totally
different setting this time, as the producer for the FNAC Music label of a Willy DeVille live album being
recorded at the Bottom Line in New York City. Willy DeVille had become a French Quarter resident since
1990 and acquired a great respect and admiration for the Wild Magnolias and the Mardi Gras Indians
tradition. So we brought the two chiefs and Gitchie to the Big Apple to perform Iko, Iko and Meet The Boys
On The Battlefront with him on the stage of the famous Village club. These tracks appear on Willy's “Big
Easy Fantasy” album which also features Allen Toussaint, Eddie Bo, Dr. John and the Meters and is still
available nowadays on the French label Wagram Music.
a b
Finally in 1994, Polygram Records released for the first time in the U.S. “They Call Us Wild,” simultaneously
with the 1st Wild Magnolias album rerelease. It had taken 19 years for the 2nd Barclay recording to come
The band on “They Call Us Wild” varied slightly from the first album in order to fit the new direction of a out officially in the band's homeland! Since then, a few more CDs by 'Bo' Dollis and the Wild Magnolias
tighter, more compact funk section. Julius Farmer had moved by then to Milano, Italy, to pursue his jazz have appeared in record stores, “1313 Hoodoo Street” on Australia's Aim Records in 1996, “Life Is a Carnival”
career and was replaced by Erving Charles, a solid as a rock, no frills bassman who later in the 70s would in 1999 on the Blue Note label, another album on Aim Records in 2002 entitled “30 Years and Still Wild.”
become Fats Domino's bass player until he passed away in 2003. Willie also brought along Guitar June, Meanwhile, 'Monk' Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles also had their own album, “Lightning and Thunder,”
whose rhythmic funk style would send some sharp as a knife killer riffs throughout the tracks. There was out on Rounder Records/Select.
definitely less soloing going on the new project and the new focus gave up some of the looseness and jam
feeling in favor of a more tightly packaged, song-oriented approach. Without losing a definitive sense of As I write these lines, one year after the devastation of Katrina, three of the eight Wild Magnolias band
humour as in Jumalaka Boom Boom where 'Quarter Moon' Tobias is featured in a killer deadpan recitation. members remain alive and still active with their music in New Orleans. The two big chiefs, Theodore
Emile 'Bo' Dollis, chief of the Wild Magnolias, Joseph Pierre 'Monk' Boudreaux, chief of the Golden
To our great regret, this second album, outside of New Suit and Fire Water which would appear in the Eagles, and Lawrence 'Crip' Adams. We want to salute them here as well as their companions who
“Mardi Gras In New Orleans” album released in 1976 on the Mardi Gras Records label, was never released have passed away, Leonard 'Gate' Johnson, James Smothers, Washington 'Bubba' Scott, James 'Gator
in the U.S. at the time. Shortly after the recording sessions for “They Call Us Wild,” in the summer of 1975, June' Johnson, Jr. and, last but not least, the fearless Johnnie 'Quarter Moon' Tobias. Our thoughts
I left Disques Barclay and France and moved from Paris to…New Orleans! Consequently, the new album also go to a number of other participants of those two albums who have also passed away in the
was left in a lurch in France and the rest of Europe. Meanwhile, in 1976, Marshall Sehorn finally realized meantime: Julius Farmer and Erving Charles who helped create the musical foundation of the
what a great New Orleans cultural treasure had gone untapped by his Sansu Enterprises, Inc. Under the fine Wild Magnolias album tracks; Jules Cahn, the initial connection with the Wild Magnolias, Professor
musical guidance of his partner Allen Toussaint, he put together the Wild Tchoupitoulas album around Big Longhair, and a very special salute to Allison Miner who tirelessly continued working with the Wild
Chief Jolly, his direct relatives, the Neville Brothers, and the other three members of the Meters. Island Magnolias for many years in the 1980s and 90s, until she left us in December 1995.
Records released the album that year. The LP borrowed from the Wild Magnolias first album Hey Pak E
Way, Meet The Boys On The Battlefront and Golden Crown and from the second album Injuns, Here They Quint Davis has remained the director of the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival ever since its
Come. With a number of rearrangements of the lyrics of course, in order to suit these new versions by the first edition in 1970, and Willie Tee is currently an artist-in-residence at Princeton University,
Wild Tchoupitoulas. The common well of Mardi Gras Indians songs was fair game as it looked like the big following the unfortunate consequences of hurricane Katrina. Parker Dinkins, who had worked with
buzz about the Wild Magnolias a few years earlier had somehow fizzled away. In the decades that followed, Quint and Allison on the first stages of the Wild Magnolias career, operates his record mastering
several other New Orleans Uptown tribes had their own recording projects released. If not for the huge company, MasterDigital in Covington, Louisiana. And let's not forget my original source of inspiration,
international success that had been hoped for, the Wild Magnolias albums had nevertheless created an Fird 'Snooks' Eaglin, still the mightiest guitar man in all of Louisiana! They all contributed with enormous
ongoing trend in the pantheon of musical traditions of the Crescent City. We are all grateful and proud to soul power and tremendous dedication to these recordings and to a great New Orleans heritage and
this day for having participated in the making of those records. musical tradition.

a. From left to right: George Davis (guitar), Johnny Vidacovich (drums), Earl Turbinton (soprano sax) Julius Farmer (bass)
at Lu & Charlie's club on Rampart Street, 1973. (Michael P. Smith)
b. The Turbinton Brothers, Earl (soprano saxophone) and Wilson a.k.a Willie Tee (keyboards) on stage at the New Philippe Rault
Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, 1975. (Michael P. Smith) Los Angeles, August 2006.

54 55
CD 1
The Wild Magnolias

01. Handa Wanda 4'43 07. Meet the Boys (on the Battlefront) 2'25
(The Wild Magnolias) (Traditional. arr. by The Wild Magnolias)

02. Smoke My Peace Pipe (Smoke It Right) 6'58 08. Ho Na Nae 5'02
(Wilson Turbinton) (The Wild Magnolias / Wilson Turbinton)

03. Two Way Pak E Way 7'51 09. (My Big Chief Has a) Golden Crown 6'23
(Traditional. arr. by The Wild Magnolias) (Traditional. arr. by The Wild Magnolias)

04. Corey Died on the Battlefield 5'00 10. Shoo Fly (Don’t Bother Me) 8'50
(Wilson Turbinton) (Traditional. arr. by The Wild Magnolias)

05. (Somebody Got) Soul, Soul, Soul 6'13 11. Iko, Iko 3'21
(The Wild Magnolias) (Traditional. arr. by The Wild Magnolias)

06. Oh! When the Saints 8'47 12. Smoke My Peace Pipe (Smoke It Right) single edit 2'39
(Traditional. arr. by The Wild Magnolias) (Wilson Turbinton)

The Wild Magnolias are:


Theodore Emile 'Bo' Dollis: lead vocals, background vocals, tambourine. Joseph Pierre 'Monk' Boudreaux: lead vocal on Shoo Fly, background
vocals, congas. James 'Gator June' Johnson, Jr.: background vocals, tambourine. Lawrence 'Crip' Adams: background vocals, cow bells, tambourine.
Johnnie 'Quarter Moon' Tobias: background vocals, tambourine, whistle. Leonard 'Gate' Johnson: background vocals, tambourine.
Washington 'Bubba' Scott: background vocals, triangle, tambourine. James Smothers: background vocals, bongos, congas.

With special guest: Norwood 'Gitchie' Johnson: bass drum.

'Bo' Dollis is Chief of the Wild Magnolias tribe. 'Monk' Boudreaux is Chief of the Golden Eagles tribe.

The New Orleans Project is:


Willie Tee: keyboards, percussion, background vocals. Earl Turbinton, Jr.: alto and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet.
Julius Farmer: bass. Fird 'Snooks' Eaglin: guitar. Larry Panna: drums. Alfred 'Uganda' Roberts: congas.

Produced by Philippe Rault. All arrangements by Willie Tee except as noted. Recorded at Studio in the Country, Bogalusa, Louisiana, 1973.
Engineered and mixed by Steve Hodge.

Tracks # 1 and 6 originally released on Barclay LP 80 529. P 1974 Universal Music France.
Tracks # 7, 8, 9 and 10 originally released on Polydor U.S. 519 418-2. P 1993 Universal Music France.
Track # 8 appeared in a shortened version on Barclay LP 90 033.
Tracks # 11 and 12 released on Barclay single 62 076. P 1974 Universal Music France.

56 57
CD 2
They Call Us Wild

01. They Call Us Wild 3'14 06. New Kinda Groove 4'01
(Wilson Turbinton) (Wilson Turbinton)

02. New Suit 3'06 07. Jumalaka Boom Boom 5'14


(Wilson Turbinton) (Wilson Turbinton)

03. Ah Anka Ting Tang Boo Shanka Boo 4'28 08. We're Gonna Party 3'07
(Wilson Turbinton) (Wilson Turbinton)

04. Fire Water 3'45 09. Ho Na Nae 4'38


(The Wild Magnolias / Wilson Turbinton) (The Wild Magnolias / Wilson Turbinton)

05. Injuns, Here We Come 5'22


(The Wild Magnolias / Wilson Turbinton)

The Wild Magnolias are:


Theodore Emile 'Bo' Dollis: lead vocals, tambourine. Joseph Pierre 'Monk' Boudreaux: background vocals, congas. James 'Gator June'
Johnson, Jr.: background vocals, tambourine. Lawrence 'Crip' Adams: background vocals, cow bells, tambourine. Johnnie 'Quarter Moon'
Tobias: background vocals and rap on Jumalaka Boom Boom, tambourine, whistle. Leonard 'Gate' Johnson: background vocals, tambourine.
Washington 'Bubba' Scott: background vocals, triangle, tambourine. James Smothers: background vocals, bongos, congas.

'Bo' Dollis is Chief of the Wild Magnolias tribe. 'Monk' Boudreaux is Chief of the Golden Eagle tribe.

The New Orleans Project is:


Willie Tee: keyboards, Arp synthesizer. Earl Turbinton, Jr.: alto and soprano saxophones. 'Guitar June': guitar. Erving Charles: bass.
Larry Panna: drums. Alfred 'Uganda' Roberts: congas.

Produced by Philippe Rault. Recorded at Studio in the Country, Bogalusa, Louisiana, 1975.
Engineered and mixed by Steve Hodge.
All tracks released as Barclay LP 90 033. P 1975 Universal Music France.

The New Orleans Project for the "They Call Us Wild" album (2nd Wild Magnolias LP), from left to right:
Alfred 'Uganda' Roberts (percussion), 'Guitar June' (guitar), Wilson Turbinton a.k.a.Willie Tee (keyboards, arranger and band
leader), Larry Panna (drums) and Earl Turbinton (saxophones). (Dennis Wile)

58 59
He's an old time Flag Boy We all got together
Early in the morning Hey Jak A Ma Fin A
Oh run get your mama Remember them Indian (bis)
Run get your papa Oh! boy we leavin'
Tell 'em Injuns hollerin' Holler ya'll we leavin'
Tell Injuns comin' Well I'm going home ya'll (bis)
Oh they comin' in the mornin' I've had my fun now
Gonna have our fun ya'll I've had my fun ya'll
CD 1 Early in the morning So tell your mama
The Wild Magnolias Hey Pak E Way Make an alligator crawl the wall Oh tell your mama
Hey Pak E Way (x3) That you had your fun now
Hey Pak E Way Let 'em come, let 'em come Oh! you had your fun now
Hey Pak E Way Here they come! 'Cause you jumped up and down
Hey Pak E Way Chawa Oh you jumped up and down
Hey Pak E Way Make no Houmbah! Oh you turned all around
Hey Pak E Way Holler Ha Ko Mi Lindo (x2)
01. Handa Wanda Han Die, Kil A Way (x2) Hey Pak E Way Flag Boy make Chawa! With them old time Injo
Oh Jak E Mo Fino on a Holiday Hey Pak E Way Make no Houmbah! Hey La Hey La
Indians!!! Oh boy we ready, ya'll we right Hey Pak E Way I'm in the Flag Boy for the Wild Magnolias Had my fun now
Indian from Han Douah Make Lou Ah!! Author / Composer: The Wild Magnolias Hey Pak E Way Make Chawa! Do what you wanna
Said uptown rulers and downtown too, Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP) What I say ya'll ? 'Cause them Injuns leavin'
Said Wild Magnolias got Injun blue! What I know now ?
Traditional arranged by The Wild Magnolias
Hey boy we ready, ya'll we right Injuns is ready Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP)
Handa Wanda, Oh Mama! Hey people is ya ready?
We're the prettiest in the city on Mardi Gras 02. Smoke My Peace Pipe (Smoke it Right) Let's all have fun now (x2)
Handa Wanda, Oh Mama Let's do what we wanna
Oh! Keddie-Fay-Hacko-Ma-Ho-Na-Nae Smoke my peace pipe, smoke it right (x4) Let's do what we oughta 04. Corey Died on the Battlefield
Handa Wanda, Oh Mama! I'm a Big Chief, I do the best for my tribe Let's jump up and down
Oh tell me boy what the Indians say Smoke my peace pipe, smoke it right! Golden Crown Way back, in the days of slavery
Handa Wanda, Oh Mama! I do what I can to keep them satisfied Oh that's my gang ya'll (x2) Was this cat they call Corey Brown
Oh little bitty boy and little bitty girl Smoke my peace pipe, smoke it right! We hollerin' in the morning Even then brothers would sneak to their tents
Handa Wanda, Oh Mama! Smoke my peace pipe, smoke it right (x2) Gonna holler in the evening To hear Corey get on down
On Mardi Gras morning they won't go wrong Now in my pipe is some super bad herbs Gonna holler that day ya'll! He often drew crowds by his out of sight rap
Hey come here boy won't you stand by me? Guaranteed to soothe your nerves Oh Wild Magnolia Seemed everyone can dig what he said
I'm the prettiest Big Chief you ever did see! Ain't nothing like a real good high Let's all get together (bis) But by some trick of fate
Hey Wanda Handa Han Dan Dey Just take a few hits, put some smoke on your mind Do what you wanna (bis) A dude who knew only hate
Say ring them drums on a holiday Smoke my peace pipe, smoke it right (x2) Let 'em go ya'll Slipped by, and took Corey's life
Oh Mardi Gras morning, it won't be long Whenever you're down and feeling uptight Hey Pak E Way Corey died on the battlefield (x3)
Well them Indian rulers gonna sing their song Come to my tent, I'll make you feel alright Hey Pak E Way Early that morning, early that day A lot of folks will miss Corey
Oh run get your Mama, Papa too Columbian, Acapulco gold Hey Pak E Way I'm a run all the way And they won't forget about his dream
Them Indian boys got Injun blue Can't compare to what I hold Hey Pak E Way Make no Houmbah! Because love is the key, for both you and me
Don't deny your name, you got your gang Just a few tokes to blow your mind Hey Pak E Way Make Chawa His dream will live endlessly
Don't deny your name, you got your fame Get it together, just take your time Hey Pak E Way Wild Man, Wild Man Corey was a brother
Now Handa Wanda Na Ha Na Ney Smoke my peace pipe, smoke it right! Hey Pak E Way Here they come, here they come Who was aware of his inner man
Hey watch them boys in a Mardi Gras day Author / Composer: Wilson Turbinton Hey Pak E Way Flag Boy for Golden Eagles make Chawa And at the direction of the cosmic
Oh! the prettiest in the city on a holiday Turbine Music/ GoPam (BMI) Hey Pak E Way Chawa with Wild Magnolias He lived to reach the promised land
Hey Mardi Gras morning we don't give a damn Hey Pak E Way Thirty two inches across my chest Corey died on the battlefield
Oh! run get your mama, papa too, Hey Pak E Way Don't bother nobody but the Lord and death In search of is destiny
Oh them Injuns comin they got Injun blue! Hey Pak E Way Run through graveyard And it's no different for you or me
Oh tell me boys what them Indians say 03. Two Way Pak E Way Hey Pak E Way Kick over tombstone You must die for what you believe
Said Handa Wanda Ha Na Ney Hey Pak E Way Turn over graves
Hey Pak E Way (x3) Author / Composer: Wilson Turbinton
Hey! prettiest in the city on a holiday Hey Pak E Way Leave a bloody trail Turbine Music / GoPam (BMI)
Hey! Rex is the ruler Mardi Gras morn' What I say now? Hey Pak E Way That wake up the dead
Now the Indian ruler gonna carry on Hey Pak E Way Hey Pak E Way Alligator crawl, snake jump the wall
Hey Spy Boy jumping up and down Oh, ya'll is you ready? Hey Pak E Way Lou a boom boom, got a gun - nobody run
Oh! Spy Boy said we're goin' downtown Hey Pak E Way Hey Pak E Way Lou a boom boom - everybody got a gun 05. (Somebody got) Soul, Soul, Soul
Oh! Jak E Ma Fino put hole in the ground Gonna do like you wanna Hey Pak E Way Flag Boy walk a nella
Put a hole in the ground and dance all around Hey Pak E Way Hey Pak E Way Make Two Way Pak E Way I sewed, sewed, all night long,
Oh! Jak E Ma Fino Ma Ho Na Ray Gonna do what we oughta! Havin' fun now Somebody got soul, soul, soul
Oh! Jak E Ma Fino on a holiday Gonna have our fun ya'll Do what you wanna I sewed that morning 'till the break of dawn
Say Mardi Gras morning and here they come Gonna holler in the mornin' Get what you oughta Somebody got soul, soul, soul
Oh them Indian boys gonna have their fun Jak A Ma Fina Oh boy, we ready Said Mardi Gras morning gonna bring me home
Han-Die Kil-A-Way (x2) Oh boy we ready Holler ya'll we ready Oh do like you wanna, do like you know
Oh! do like you wanna on a Mardi Gras day! Early in the morning Holler Injuns a leavin' (x2) Hey Jak E Ma Fino anywhere you go
Oh! ya'll we ready, ya'll we right Gonna strike without a warning Yeah, we had our fun ya'll Oh, take me down, downtown
We the prettiest in the city on Mardi Gras Ha Kai Melinda Oh! we had our fun ya'll Say, take me down, downtown
Hey come here boy, won't you stand by me? Oh them old time Injuns Oh! we do what we oughta Said Mardi Gras morning gonna have my fun
I'm the prettiest Big Chief you ever did see He's an old time Wild man Oh! we did what we oughta Oh don't ya'll worry and don't ya'll run

60 61
Just do what you wanna on Mardi Gras 07. Meet the Boys (on the Battlefront) Oh! the Golden Crown, they goin' round Oh! the Big Chief got a Golden Crown
Pipa Lunie Ma Duke Cree Aye Lustille Big Chief got a Golden Crown Got a Golden Crown and he won't bow down
I wear my feathers with a heart of steel Meet the Boys on the Battlefront (x3) Oh! sing everybody, let's all have fun Won't dirty his crown on a Mardi Gras
I won't bow down I don't know how The Wild Magnolias' gonna bust a rump! My Big Chief's got a Golden Crown Oh! he got a Flag and he got a Spy
Say I won't bow down on the dirty ground Hey La Hey boy, what 'I say ? Oh! the tambourines ring, they beat them drums Got a Wild Man hollerin' on a Mardi Gras
Hey Jak E Ma Fino Ma Ho Tan Dey I'm a Big Chief on a holiday Big Chief got a Golden Crown So people get ready for the Mardi Gras day
Oh tell me boy what them Injun say Comin' down on Mardi Gras morn' Oh! the Golden Crown, the Golden Crown And you do what you wanna when they kneel and pray
Ha Die, Kill A Way (x2) Look at me, I got a great big Crown The Golden Crown, he won't bow down Don't hurt my Flag, don't hurt my Spy
Ha Kiddie Fay Hako Ma Ho Na Nae Meet the Boys on the Battlefront (x3) Holler “Jak E Ma Fino Ma Ho Tan Day!” Don't borrow no trouble on a Mardi Gras
Say early in the morning sun don't shine The Wild Magnolias' gonna bust a rump! Oh! my Spy boy got lowdown ways When you jump up and down, you turn all around.
Oh! the Wild Magnolia gonna be on time Sing my song boy, I sing it well I'm from Uptown and I won't bow down
Traditional arranged by The Wild Magnolias
Oh! they running up and they running down Mardi Gras ya'll, I'll raise some sand On Second & Dryades, I don't know how Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP)
Gonna run that gang all other town Jak A Ma Fino, make Ho Tan Ta Aye Holler “Jak E Ma Fino Ma Ho Tan Day!”
Oh meet everybody on hundred and one What I say on a Mardi Gras Day! Oh! do like you wanna on a holiday.
Said a hundred and two gonna meet 'em too! Cajuns hollerin', boy, let'em come Hey, come to New Orleans on A Mardi Gras morn,
So take me down, downtown Let'em come on Mardi Gras Oh! ask anybody where the Indian, 10. Shoo Fly (Don't Bother Me!)
Take me down, downtown If they come boy on a Mardi Gras Day On Second & Dryades when Indian live
Say Mardi Gras ya'll wanna have my fun I'm a Big Chief, make Kill Out The Way ! Oh! my Spy boy gonna ask'em please Shoo fly, don't bother me (x4)
Cree Aye La Jon, La Du Cree Aye Told my mama 'fore I left home Now don't get worried and don't get scared Said early that morning, about a quarter to five,
Oh! them Injuns hollerin' on Mardi Gras Gonna mask that morning, then I'm coming home Cos them Indian boys gonna let ya pass That dirty old judge he gave me five!
Oh, take me down, downtown Son, don't you worry, son, don't you run Well take me down, Downtown (x2) I was a little bitty boy and I did not care
Say, take me down, downtown You's a Big Chief on a Mardi Gras ! Oh! I won't bow down, I don't know how I wanted to leave New Orleans and go somewhere,
Hey early in the morning gon' have my fun Jak A Ma Fino, put a hole in the ground I'm goin' Downtown on the overpass Well way in the valley, down so low,
Said do like you oughta, do like you know Hole in the ground, they dance all around Jak E Ma Fino, jump up and down You had to cut that cane row by row,
Said meet them boys anywhere you go When they holler, Boy, when they run Oh! Spy boy won't you tell them why I said early that morning nobody knows
They're the Injuns on Mardi Gras! Why the Big Chief holler with a Golden Crown Hey! boy get ready everywhere he go
Somebody
When they dance all around on a Mardi Gras I said early that morning won't you cry
Somebody got Traditional arranged by The Wild Magnolias I said early that morning I could not fight
Somebody got soul Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP) Oh! Jak E Ma Fino Ma Ho Tan Te Ray
Oh! Mardi Gras ya'll the Indian Red Said down on the walk, and don't you know ?
Somebody got soul, soul, soul! (x3) I'm gonna shoot them flies everywhere I go
Said Jak E Ma Fino Ma Ho Tan Dey Oh! the Big Chief got a Golden Crown
Oh! the Big Chief ya'll he won't bow down Well I met that captain on a big white horse,
I'm an Injun boy on a holiday I didn't know his name but I called him boss,
08. Ho Na Nae Kutchie Fay No Say, don't tell no lie
Oh! don't ya'll worry, boy don't ya run Well I asked my mother and my little bitty wife
Oh! them Injun boys on a Mardi Gras
Said meet everybody on Mardi Gras I'll be home this summer if it costs my life
Ho Na Nae (x4) Oh! Mardi Gras morning it won't be long
Say come to New Orleans on Mardi Gras I said down by the river where the water go down
Do like we oughta Oh! my Spy boy gonna sing a song
Said ask anybody where the Indians If you jump overboard you gotta go down,
Have your fun now Oh! Jak E Ma Fino put a hole in the ground
Oh! they're from uptown, won't bow down Oh! Them Injuns ya'll gonna show them how I said I didn't know but I didn't care
Oh! they're from uptown, they don't know how Have your fun boy I wanted to leave New Orleans and go somewhere
Injuns is runnin' Oh! do like you wanna, do like you know
They gonna meet everybody on Mardi Gras You wear them feathers anywhere you go I said Ace, Tray, a Duce and a Jack,
Magnolias gonna sew all night Spy Boy Hollerin' I been to Angola but I won't go back
Holler loud ya'll (x2) Oh! you wear your feathers and your maribou
Oh now don't you worry boy, don't you run Hey Jak E Ma Fino Ma Ho Tan Dou I said down by the river where the water go long
Somebody got soul, soul, soul! Ho Na Nae (x4) That's the same ol'river gonna take me home
Let'em know now Oh! them Injuns ya'll got Injun blue
Oh! my Spy boy gonna let them through I said down on my knees and don't you see
Author / Composer: The Wild Magnolias Injuns is ready (x2)
Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP) Don't mess with you, I won't mess with him,
Sing in the morning Oh! Spy don't worry, Flag don't run
I said the only thing that made me mad
Holler in the evening Only thing you do let a Indian come
The captain in the mornin' gonna kick your ass,
Here they come boy Oh! ya'll they jumpin' up and down
Said I don't know but I've been told
Wild Magnolias On Mardi Gras morning my gang gonna clown It don't rain in Angola and it don't get cold,
06. Oh! When the Saints Morning Glory Oh! Spy boy let'em know I'm a little bitty boy better treat me right
Ho Na Nae (x4) Now let'em know anywhere you go I was goin' on the walk with a ten inch knife,
Oh! when the Saints, go marchin' in Flag boy comin' You got your name and you got your gang
Oh! when the Saints go on marchin' on in I said early in the morning I didn't know
Oh! people he ready Yeah! on Mardi Gras morning ya'll you got your name They would chop that cane row by row,
Oh! now Lord, I wanna be in that number People he ready Oh! the Big Chief a comin', He from Uptown
Oh! when the Saints go marchin'on in… I said Mother dear won't you pray for me !
Let's have some fun now Let's all have fun before we go home I said the captain boy is awful mean
Oh! when the stars refuse to shine All have fun now Oh! them Injuns are leaving, here they go I said only thing and it wasn't too kicks
Oh! when the stars up above refuse to shine Let's do like we oughta Oh! that Spy boy let'em know Said early in the morning got a great big stick,
Well, I wanna be, gotta be, I wanna be in that number, yeah! Do like we oughta Let'em know where they're from on a Mardi Gras I said Ace, Tray, Duce and a Jack
Oh! when the saints go marchin' on in… You a Wild Magnolia on a holiday I went to Angola but I made it back,
Author: The Wild Magnolias / Composer: Wilson Turbinton
Oh! when the Saints, go marchin' on by Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP) Well now you don't hurry, boy, you don't run Early in the morning 'bout a quarter to nine
Oh! when the Saints go on marchin' on in Only thing you do let a Indian come I made it from Angola right on time
Oh! I wanna be in the number Well now Flag boy what I say ? I'm a little bitty boy with a feather in my head
Oh! when the Saints go marchin'on in… Oh! Spy boy what he say ? I said Mardi Gras morning gotta Kill A Way
Oh! when the sun, refuse to shine 09. (My Big Chief Has a) Golden Crown Well now here we come, here we come I said little bitty boy come stand by me
Oh! when the sun, yeah! refuse to shine Well now here we come on Mardi Gras I'm the prettiest thing that you ever seen,
Well, I wanna be in the number Indian!!! Oh! we wear our feathers and maribou I said early in the morning on Second & Dryades
Oh! when the saints go marchin' on in… Indian from Han Dou Ah make Lou Ah When we jump up and down, better let us through They'll be jumpin' and shoutin' and they won't Houmbah!
Make Boom Boom, make no Houmbah Don't borrow no trouble, don't borrow no fight Hey Flag boy runnin' on Melpomene
Traditional arranged by The Wild Magnolias Oh! the Golden Crown, the Golden Crown Only thing I ask, act a Indian right Hey Spy make fire when the Wild Man scream!
Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP) My big Chief got a Golden Crown Well the Big Chief got a Golden Crown Said Mardi Gras comin' and it won't be long

62 63
Said Mardi Gras morning gonna carry on 11. Iko, Iko.
I'm a little bitty boy, better treat me right
My Flag boy running got a great big knife On Mardi Gras,boy, when you kneel and pray
I say early in the morning and nobody know Iko, Iko One Day
I shot my pistol in the jailhouse door Well you's a Big Chief on a Mardi Gras day
I said I didn't worry, I didn't mind Iko, Iko One Day
I left Angola 'bout a quarter to nine Well, Machine Gun Kelly and Al Capone
I'm a Big Chief runnin', get the hell out the way!
Iko, Iko One Day
I'm gonna meet them boys for the holiday
Well, all them boys they dead and they gone CD 2
Hey Flag boy jumpin' up and down
Well they talkin' about
Hey Flag boy singin' for Golden Crown
Iko, Iko
They Call Us Wild
Hey Downtown Mardi Gras low down way
Said early in the morning gonna Kill A Way Iko, Iko One Day
Hey Flag boy leading from way Uptown Iko, Iko
Gonna meet me that morning and he won't Houmbah! Iko, Iko One Day
Said Jack A Mo Fino Ma Ho Tan Dey Well, you jump up and down, you turn all around
If you meet that boy get the hell out of the way Oh! you's a Spy boy on a Mardi Gras
01. They Call Us Wild Cause we are the soul of Mardi Gras
I'm a little bitty boy when the trouble come Got a Spy named Israel, got a Flag named Tom
Every year for Carnival time
I've got a great big stick and a Gatlin gun Said on Mardi Gras morning they won't go wrong
They call us wild We make a new suit
I said trouble come and don't you run So we singing about…
But we got soul Red, yellow, green, purple or blue
Said Mardi Gras morning gonna have some fun You do like you wanna, you do like you know,
And when we do our thing We make a new suit
Ha Dan Pipa Lunie Mardi Gras day You an Indian ruler anyway you go
We lose control We got feathers on our crowns
Said little bitty boy gotta Kill A Way Oh! Spy Pipa Louna, put a hole in the ground
Hey Flag boy jumpin' and don't you know We shake our tambourine That stand about eight feet high
Put a hole in the ground, gonna dance around
Hey Flag boy Mardi Gras sew sew sew And sing and sing In every colour of the rainbow
Cause we singing about….
Say Mardi Gras comin' you'd better be right Our music's so bad We're beautiful, I ain't lying
Holler “Jak E Ma Feno Ma Ho Tan De Ray!”
I bore no trouble don't start no fight Guaranteed to upset your brain Every year for Carnival time
Oh! little bitty boy called Indian Red
I said early in the morning I got the gun We dig our music We make a new suit
Oh! now he don't worry ya'll, he don't run,
Said Mardi Gras morning have some fun And you'll dig it too Red, yellow, green, purple or blue
He's a Wild Magnolia on a Mardi Gras!
I say tell my mother, don't you cry! We'll have you acting wild We make a new suit
Let's talk about…
I leave in the morning 'bout a quarter to five Before we're through Author / Composer: Wilson Turbinton
Hey Spy boy jumpin' with low down ways Traditional arranged by The Wild Magnolias But we're not wild Turbinton Music (BMI)
Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP)
Come Mardi Gras Indians get the hell out da way Not by a long shot
I said Mardi Gras morning it won't be long But we always give it, give it
They'll be jumpin' and shoutin' and carryin' on All we've got
I said early in the morning, boy you're right! They call us wild 03. Ah Anka Ting Tang Boo Shanka Boo
Hey Flag boy runnin' with butcher's knife But we've got soul
Hey I've got the gun and I've got the gang And when we do our thing I'm mixing up a brew of voodoo spice
Say Jack A Ma Fino gonna rip some sand We lose control To control anything that's not acting right
I said take me down on the battlefield We can't help but groove you The brew that I'm making is some dynamite stuff
Hey Flag boy runnin' got a wagon wheel In the wildest way we can If you don't believe me dig the ingredients
Hey Spy boy runnin' from way Uptown So come on Injuns He got some bat wings and rat brains and bumble bee tongues
Hey Flag boy hollerin' done took a crown Spider webs and membranes from the eyes of a frog
And clap your hands
They brought in two Spies but I didn't want it If you don't think that this is enough
We've been into the Carnival
Hey Flag boy holler they got in front Just wait till you get close and smell this stuff
My Wild Man jumpin' goin'up and down Ever since a child
Go ahead if you want to Ah Anka Ting Tang Boo Shanka Boo
We're gonna start a little fight on burnin'that crown
And call us wild These are the words I'm gonna say over you
Say Wild Man holler what you say ?
I'm a little bitty boy with a Kill A Way I've got some snake eggs and turtle legs and scorpions
Author / Composer: Wilson Turbinton
Oh! Shoo fly don't bother me! Fingernails and lizard tails and slimy snails
Turbinton Music (BMI)
I say Shoo fly don't bother me! Ah Anka Ting Tang Boo Shanka Boo
Say early in the morning, boy I got the gun Then I'll swing a glass of my brew on you
You better join us brother and have some fun Author / Composer: Wilson Turbinton
Say Mardi Gras morning, nobody know 02. New Suit Turbinton Music (BMI)
We gonna do the ball everywhere we go
Hey Mardi Gras morning it won't be long Every year for Carnival time
Say little bitty boy gonna sing my song We make a new suit
They jumpin' and shoutin' Mardi Gras day Red, yellow, green, purple or blue 04. Fire Water
Hey Mardi Gras comin' get the hell out the way We make a new suit
I'm a little bitty boy and I do not fight We all try to make them Hey La Hey La Hey Hey La Hey (x2)
Say early that morning I might take your life As hip as we could Big Chief don't want no shuck
Hey Flag boy jumpin' from way Uptown So when we're out on Carnival Say the Big Chief wants some pluck
My Spy boy comin' and won't Houmbah! We'll be looking good Hey La Hey La Hey Hey La Hey, oh! ya'll
I say trouble comin', don't you run Every year for Carnival time Big Chief like plenty of fire water
Here come my Spy with a great big gun We make a new suit Put up your nickels and dimes
Hey Shoo fly don't bother me (x2) Red, yellow, green, purple or blue Say the Big Chief wants some wine
So I don't need no company We make a new suit Hey La Hey La Hey Hey La Hey
Yeah! you're right. Big Chief like plenty of fire water)
We've got rhinestones on our suits
Traditional arranged by The Wild Magnolias That shine like diamonds and stars Coo Che Fe No Say La Hey
Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP) Got to be sure that we're together Told you do like the Big Chief say

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Hey La Hey La Hey Hey La Hey, oh! ya'll, ya'll 06. New Kinda Groove In a fury like a tornado
Big Chief like plenty of fire water He stomped them all till they yelled for help
Do like the Big Chief order Everybody, lend me your ears He waited for the whole alligator family
Get that fire water We've got something that'll good for the next thousand years And made them into a belt!
Hey La Hey La Hey Hey La Hey It's not jazz, it's better than rock'n'roll Hum! What I say!
Big Chief like plenty of fire water (x2) It's good when you first hear it There's only one thing that I am told
Jak E Ma Fina Hey Gets better when the music reach your soul To calm this brother down
Oh! you do like the Big Chief say Got a New Kinda Groove, ya'll You see he has a weakness for the jungle plant
Hey La Hey La Hey Hey La Hey Got a New Kinda Groove! That's known throughout the world
Big Chief like plenty of fire water They say that jazz was born, down in New Orleans You get you a batch and set it on fire
Big Chief he got his squad And that's where we're from, And let the smoke blow on his nose
Gonna ball till the morning come If you know what I mean Once this brother get a whiff of this stuff
Hey La Hey La Hey Hey La Hey It doesn't take long to find out what I'm talking about He's gentle as a lamb
Big Chief like plenty of fire water (x2) Just come to the Crescent and start looking around He's been known to hug gorillas
Got a New Kinda Groove, ya'll Baboons just for a laugh
Author: The Wild Magnolias/ Composer: Wilson Turbinton
Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP) Got a New Kinda Groove! So if you're thinking 'bout taking a trip
Got a brand new groove, ya'll Just to check this brother out
Got a New Kinda Groove, ya'll! Be sure you get the right kind of plant
If you check it all out If you're thinking about staying long
05. Injuns, Here We Come Most of the music starts sounding the same, Singing Ju Ma La Ka Boom
But if you get deep down into us Ju Ma La Ka Boom Boom Boom
Injuns here they come We're a whole other thing, Author / Composer: Wilson Turbinton
They’ll be coming down on Mardi Gras morn’ It doesn't take long to find out what I'm talking about Turbinton Music (BMI)
Hey Jak E Ma Fino anywhere they run Just come to the Crescent and start looking around
Say I told my mama ‘fore I left home Got a New Kinda Groove, ya'll
I’m maskin’ that mornin’ and then I’m comin’ home Got a New Kinda Groove!
Say, son don’t you worry, son don’t you run Got a brand new groove, ya'll 08. We're Gonna Party
Say you’re the Big Chief on Mardi Gras Got a New Kinda Groove
So now here we come, here we come We are the Wild Magnolias
Author / Composer: Wilson Turbinton We came to sing you a song
So now here they come, let’em run Turbinton Music (BMI)
So give us your attention
Say they’re runnin’ down on Mardi Gras
And try to groove along
Oh! Jak E Ma Fino now what I say
The song we're about to sing
Oh! them Injuns have ‘em low down ways Is a thing we do at home
Coo Chee Fe No Say, don’t tell no lies 07. Jumalaka Boom Boom
Get some wine and some ladies
Do you wanna have fun on Mardi Gras Start acting kinda crazy
Say come to New Orleans on Mardi Gras day Ju Ma La Ka Boom Boom Boom (x2)
Deep in the heart of the jungle And party all night long
Say ask anybody where the Indians Come on and party
Say Second and Dryades and Hundred and One There's a story going around
Brother Lion has to give up his throne Party all night long!
Tell the Mardi Gras ya’ll where the Injuns are We're gonna party
To a dude who can tie lightning down
So now here they come, let’em run Party all night long!
Singing Ju Ma La Ka Boom
Oh! now here they come, let’em run You see down in New Orleans
Ju Ma La Ka Boom Boom Boom
Oh! they’re running wild on Mardi Gras Ju Ma La Ka Boom Boom Boom (x2) We party 'til the morning come
Jak E Ma Fina put a hole in the ground The brother that I'm talking 'bout So everywhere that we go
Say the Flag Boy say we’re going down Stands about eight feet tall We try to get it on
Said I’m going down, downtown (x2) Races cheetahs for exercise Jak A Ma Fina Han Tan Dey
On Mardi Gras morning gonna have my fun Cracking coconuts with his jaws We like to party anytime of the day
Oh! here I come, let’em run Singing Ju Ma La Ka Boom Ha Kai Malinda and Ho Na Nae
Oh! they’re running wild on Mardi Gras Ju Ma La Ka Boom Boom Boom Do you want to party
So don’t hurt my Flag, don’t hurt my Spy Everything in the jungle Hear what I say
Don’t cause no trouble on Mardi Gras Tries its best to stay on this brother's side We're gonna party, party all night long (x2)
Say trouble come, now nobody run I mean once anybody bugs this dude Let your hair down and have some fun
Oh! Jak E Ma Fino with a Gatlin gun Boy! Look it's hell for everyone We're gonna keep on jammin' until the morning come
Coo Chee Fe No Say, I tell no lie Hum! Yeah! Jak A Ma Fina Han Tan Dey
Don’t hurt my Queen on Mardi Gras Once a rhinoceros made the mistake We like to party anytime of the day
Say Mardi Gras ya’ll might think I’ll die Of charging in this brother's path Ha Kai Malinda and Ho Na Nae
Well I don’t mind dyin’ on Mardi Gras He grabbed brother rhino by his horn Do you want to party
Oh! now let’em come, let’em come (x2) And spun him for a day and a half Hear what I say
Oh! they’comin that morning on Mardi Gras Singing Ju Ma La Ka Boom We're gonna party, party all night long (x4)
Say Jak E Ma Fin A when you kneel and pray Ju Ma La Ka Boom Boom Boom Author / Composer: Wilson Turbinton
Say Mardi Gras mornin’ it won’t be long Another incident I'll never forget Turbinton Music (BMI)
Say we all get together, we all have fun Happened two or three weeks ago
Say I’m going down, downtown (x2) In a lagoon, near the cave where my man lived
Say I’m going downtown on Mardi Gras Was a commotion, that made the whole jungle scared
Oh! Jak E Ma Fino Ma Ho Tan Dey… Seems two alligators tried to start a nest
Next to my man's fence
Words by The Wild Magnolias, Music by Wilson Turbinton And when he found out what they had done
Gregory Davis Music (ASCAP) He just couldn't help his self

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Mastered for reissue by Gavin Lurssen, The Mastering Lab, Hollywood, California
Supervision: Daniel Richard
Coordination: François Lê Xuân and Philippe Rault for Bastille Productions, Inc.
Art Direction: Antoine Carlier

Special thanks: Michael P. Smith & Karen Snyder, Dennis Wile, Willie Tee, Quint Davis, Steve Hodge,
Anna Zagorski, Jonathan & Rashi Kaslow, Parker Dinkins, Mary Len Costa

Sitting, left to right: Allison Miner-Kaslow, Professor Longhair, 'Big' Will Harvey Jr.
New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, late Seventies.
(Courtesy of the Allison Miner Collection, Hogan Jazz Archive, Tulane University).

This reissue is dedicated to the memory of Allison Miner-Kaslow.

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