Carlo Ditta, Hungry for Love.
When the summer gets sizzling in New Orleans’ French Quarter, anything can happen. The rootie toots on Decatur might start doing the Funky Penguin in front of Coop’s Place, or the not-so mellow fellows in the Golden Lantern on Royal could jump up on the bar and knock out a hot version of the Sideways Pony. And, yes, over in Jackson Square a brass band may break into “Cissy Strut” and show everyone what their mamas gave them. That’s just for starters.
Carlo Ditta understands the Crescent City as well as anyone alive, whether it’s the deep down voodoo of the Ninth Ward or the more above ground shenanigans up Magazine Street way. Even better, Ditta can translate all that craziness right into his songs, including back-popping originals or sure-handed covers. This is someone who’s going to find the levee and burn it down no matter what. It’s all irreverent and right on at the same time, just like the city that care forgot itself, where there is no substitute for feeling and funkiness.
His second album is a sultry lagniappe, and includes the John Fred & the Playboys perennial “Agnes English,” the back-o-town delight “Pass the Hatchet” and even a bulls-eye take on “The House of the Rising Sun.” Everything is played and sung with an inner expression of absolute emotion that can’t be duplicated. And when the drummer is nicknamed “Thunderfoot,” Jerry Jumonville and Andrew Bernard are blowing tenor and the legendary Freddy Staehle (drum king on Dr. John’s all-timer GUMBO album) plays the rain stick and tinker bells on a song, everything is everything. Mos’ scocious mania.