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Blue Lu & Danny Barker - Blue Lu Live (REVIEW - Living Blues)

After more than 60 years together, Blue Lu Barker and her guitar-playing husband Danny took their final New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival bow together in 1989. Presented here nearly a decade later, their good-natured performance reflects the sum total of two lifetimes well spent as tireless ambassadors of traditional Crescent City music.

Alas, the disc also testifies to the inevitable ravages of time. At 75 years of age, Blue Lu had recently undergone a tracheotomy, and her once-supple voice was reduced to little more than a raspy croak. Still, she made do with what was left, injecting delightful innuendo into a spirited rendition of her classic Don't You Feel My Legs and Dixieland-based versions of Ballin' the Jack and I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate. At age 80, Danny Barker was in better vocal shape, romping through his own Save the Bones For Henry Jones, a lascivious You Got the Right Key, and a highly amusing St. James Infirmary, deftly chording under his vocals while his sextet, the Jazz Hounds, swing in a profoundly relaxed manner. Bourbon Street Parade and Second Line are rollicking trad jazz all the way.

The late Blue Lu and her spouse (who died in 1994) deserved an A for effort at this concert; kudos to Orleans for honoring them. [An obituary for Blue Lu Barker appears in this issue. - Ed.]

--- Bill Dahl


Blue Lu and Danny Barker

Blue Lu Live

Orleans OR 2111

The Georgia Grind / Don't You Feel My Legs / I Wish I Could Shimmy Like My Sister Kate / Bring the Greenbacks When You Call / Ballin' the Jack / Save the Bones for Henry Jones / St. James Infirmary / You Got the Right Key But the Wrong Keyhole / Bourbon Street Paradise / Second Line


Originally published in Living Blues #141 [September-October 1998], pg. 97


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