New Orleans Funk, New Orleans: The Original Sound of Funk, Volume 2: The Second Line Strut by Ben Lasman

Part of the Editor's Choice series.

BOMB 105 Fall 2008
Issue 105  B105  Cover
268105831 01292015 Ben Lasman Bomb 105

It’s an iffy conceit, packaging a glut of obscure tunes from the same period and place, and then inventing a genre to cohere them. This kind of curating forms the basis for most compilations, and while the process is bound to be reductionistic, it’s also a bit presumptuous: something like “Milwaukee Milktruck Blues” looks fantastic plastered across a record sleeve, but it’s never entirely clear how the artists would feel about the attribution.

This nag is almost dispelled on Soul Jazz Records’ endlessly-titled New Orleans Funk: New Orleans: The Original Sound of Funk, Volume 2: The Second Line Strut, but the tracks still cook hotter than August asphalt. Apart from the obligatory Meters and Betty Harris takes, Soul Jazz plumbs the more esoteric depths of the Crescent City’s 1960s–’70s back catalog, dishing up a strangely high number of tunes about food (“Chicken Strut,” “Tequila,” “Hot Tamales,” and an ostensible ode to dysentery, “Funky Belly”) and dances that sound like afflictions (“The Twitch,” “The Dap”). Musical convergences are less platonic than a matter of production. Drum hits stick to the riffs like beads of sweat and tinny guitar licks sound as if they’re being played through transistor radios on a Ninth Ward porch. Ultimately, it’s a vibe of late-summer lethargy that coheres the album rather than the unified artistic vision of its contributors. Forget the funk, Second Line Strut is a snapshot of the city’s soul.

Ben Lasman has written for CMJ, The New York Press, and BOMB. He is a junior at Yale, where he edits two campus magazines, plays in some bands, and is working on a novel.

New Orleans Funk was released by Soul Jazz Records in 2008.

Robert Pollard by Mike McGonigal
Pollard01 Body
Macy Gray’s On How Life Is by Rone Shavers
​Macy Gray

Singer Macy Gray’s smoky, scratchy, full-bodied voice is paradoxical. Let it be said that she can belt it like Aretha, growl it like Tina, and is as unmistakable as Dinah, Eartha, or Nina in her range, tone, and delivery.

Winning and Losing: Bladee and Mechatok Interviewed by Alexander Iadarola
Two portraits side by side. On the left is musical artist Bladee wearing a black mesh helmet with tall, pointed ears and holding a silver coin up to his right eye. On the right is producer Mechatok, a young man with a buzzcut holding two fingers with acrylic nails that have flames coming off of them.

On techno-spirituality, impending doom, and making failed pop songs.

Political Power: Anjali Enjeti Interviewed by Madhushree Ghosh

On publishing a novel about the partition of India and an essay collection on living in the South as a South Asian American.

Originally published in

BOMB 105, Fall 2008

Featuring interviews with Claire Fontaine, Nayland Blake and Rachel Harrison, Roman Signer and Armin Senser, John Giorno, Kelly Reichardt and Gus Van Sant, Alan Vega and Matt McAuley and Brain McPeck, Richard Maxwell and John Kelsey, Chris Lipomi and Kathryn Andrews, and Peter Cole.

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Issue 105  B105  Cover