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Discovering Coco Robichaux

In New Orleans, the happiest musical discoveries are made by accident. And so it went this year at the second weekend of the 26th annual New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival (April 28-May 7). On the cab ride home from Tipitina's, where we'd just seen zydeco madman Boozoo Chavis, a bluesy wail and a low voodoo sound that's a cross between Howlin' Wolf and Professor Longhair wafted from the front seat.

"Who's that you got on?"

"Coco Robichaux," says the driver.

It's a name familiar from Dr. John and voodoo folklore, but it's also a real guy. "He's been playing music for 30 years and this is his first album," says the cab driver. "He's playing tonight on Esplanade."

It turns out that Coco Robichaux played the festival the previous afternoon and we missed him, but his CD is available at the festival's record tent; it's called Spiritland, on the local Orleans label, whose logo is a red bean...

---Jon Garelick


Excerpt originally published in The Boston Phoenix, Section Three [May 19th, 1995], pg. 23


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