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Carlo Ditta is one of the most crucial spokes in the New Orleans wheel whom you never heard of. Maybe that’s because he’s been too busy being a singer-songwriter-guitarist-producer-label operator working with a myriad of Crescent City artists to the point where he’s just now, at 61, releasing his first solo CD, What I’m Talkin’ About, on his own Orleans Records, for which he produced Willy DeVille’s greatest album, Victory Mixture (1990).

The title track starts this spirited romp by declaring—in no uncertain terms—“you’re lookin’ good, baby, just like a little ugly girl should.” “Go On Fool” is more sophisticated than the funky old Smiley Lewis original. “As The World Turns” adds some social commentary plus accordion. They say “I’m Leaving You” is the last song that the legendary Louie Prima [1910-1978] ever recorded (Ditta also pays tribute to Prima on “Pretty Acres). Ernie-K-Doe’s “Beating Like A Tom Tom” beats the original. Then there’s Aaron Neville’s “Tell It Like It Is.” Rather than even try to compete with Neville’s heavenly vocal, Ditta does it down by conversationalizing the situation. It’s off-putting at first but only until you get into Ditta’s groove with repeated listenings. And, boy, let me tell you: this CD holds up remarkably well. “Try A Little Love” is a staunch blues-rock instrumental. “Walk That Walk” gets into Tony Joe White Swamp Rock territory and he closes with Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers To Cross.” New Orleans lost Mighty Sam McClain and Allen Toussaint last year, both of whom worked with Ditta. May Carlo go ever on.

--- Mike Greenblatt – The Aquarian Weekly

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