vampires at mardi gras
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


It's a piano sort of day, here in Montreal. Clear skies and brisk breezy roads, clumps of snow at the street-corners, people sauntering around and singing to themselves. No sign of birds, yet, but I'm sure that they're en route.

Professor Longhair - "Go to the Mardi Gras". I first heard Mr Longhair through Mr Kafkaesque, which is sort of embarassing because Longhair's one of the founding fathers of New Orleans R&B, and that speaks to my knowledge of early r&b. This was his signature tune, with several different versions (with slightly different titles) recorded. It's a fantastically bouncy boogie-woogie-ing number, saxophone bumps over a hush-and-stumble drum patter, a bright and friendly whistle, Longhair singing with matter-of-fact exuberance. "If you go to New Orleans," he says, "you oughta go see the Mardi Gras." And then there's the whistle solo at the end, the rhythm section cutting out so that there can be a little smiling moment.

Gordon Downie - "Chancellor". The Tragically Hip are the biggest band in Canada, and so it follows that their vocalist must be the biggest rock singer in the country. But listening to Downie's solo debut, Coke Machine Glow, the idea seems preposterous. The album's got spoken word and peculiar broken songs, Julie Doiron and Atom Egoyan, people yelling from the backs of rooms and hardly an electric guitar to be heard. What it showcased, however, was Downie's remarkable panache for vocal delivery as well as for lyrics. "Chancellor"'s melody is something lovely and unforgettable, dancing with absurd imagery and letting the gushing flow of Downie's voice carry it up and around mossy outcroppings. It's difficult to identify precisely why the song is so wonderful, so starry and quietly fine, but the proof's right there - in the clattering drums, the generous piano, the acoustic guitar strum; in the way that in 2001 I kept it on repeat for hours, in the way that I'm compelled to now do so again.

You may notice a new description of stg on the right sidebar. Obviously, I take this business of good music very very seriously. (Do you boys and girls think I need to put in something about 'supporting artists'? If you ask me, anyone who reads this thing knows and does, many times over. But I wonder...)

Posted by Sean at March 11, 2004 8:53 PM

Oh wow! I really like the Chancellor song. Very mellow. Thanks.

Posted by ladygoat at March 11, 2004 9:53 PM

I grew up with a picture of Professor Longhair hangin' in my living room. Seriously. Good choice!

Posted by forksclovetofu at March 12, 2004 3:13 AM

I LOVE Professor Longhair. My URL is a page with some background info on him if anyone is interested. He's got an amazing piano rhythm thing going on. If you like this song, check out Tipitina and Big Chief; those two were also big songs for him.

The other good thing: You can never be sad while listening to songs about Jambalaya.

Posted by Melanie at March 13, 2004 8:01 PM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny