Classic Melting Pot

foto © Jacob Blikenstaff

An under-rated though very appreciated (for those who know) legend passed away recently, Wardell Quezergue, one of several architects of the New Orleans soul sound, passed at 81. I’m in the process of planning a big tribute set for the Sept. 18th show when Melting Pot returns to the KPFK airwaves, but for the time being here’s 5 of my favorite Quezergue related songs, a couple of which I only had the faintest hint he was involved in until recently.

Smokey Johnson – I Can’t Help It

This isn’t just one of my favorite Quezergue related productions, it’s one of my single favorite soul instrumentals of ALL-TIME!!! There’s probably not a single song that I love to finger snap and soul clap on the beat to than this one with those the drum patterns and that rhythm…lord that rhythm! Just pure magic to dance to.

Robert Parker – Barefootin’

One of the breeziest NOLA soul songs, the first big hit on Quezergue’s NOLA label. I’m more partial to the flipside “Where The Action Is” but y’all already know that and it’s real hard to deny what a joy it is dance to this gem.

Dorothy Moore – Misty Blue

I’ve heard this song literally hundreds of times, it’s one of my faves and one of my wife’s all-time favorites, but I only just realized that the gorgeous arrangement that, along with Moore’s great vocals, lifts this one into legendary status was arrainged by none of other than Mr. Q.

King Floyd – Groove Me

It’s UNBELIEVABLE to me that ANYONE would hear this song and think, “Yeah, we’re gonna pass…” but that’s exactly what Atlantic Records did on this single, so Quezergue and gang put it out on their record label Chimneyville and it promptly became a big-time hit and later on Atlantic came crawling back. This one is from a pretty legendary session at Malaco studios in Alabama that also yielded Jean Knight’s “Mr. Big Stuff” maybe the biggest song Quezergue ever had a hand in. “Groove Me” is another all-time favorite of my, just a total smile inducing soul song with some of the best sentiments around love you’ll find in an upbeat mover of a song.

Smokey Johnson – It Ain’t My Fault

Another Smokey Johnson instrumental, with it’s opening drum lines, it just screams second line, the piano melody is a New Orleans staple, and one that’s been sampled a few times which Quezergue only recently got a settlement around. So much soul…Thank you Teacher!

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