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The Original Pin Stripe Brass Band | I Wanna Go Back to New Orleans [REVIEW - OffBeat]


The title track fills the first nine minutes of this CD, which was recorded in April 2006. The Pin Stripe Brass Band insists it wants to go back to New Orleans - "I don't care what the people say; I don't care what the man says." Atop a second line rhythm, snare drummer Herbert McCarver III expresses why he wants to return - "Everybody second lines on the street; they got Mardi Gras parties, they've got high rollers" - and how he'll get there - "I might take a bus, you know... I might take a bus, you know... I might even walk, you know." With sentiments such as these, it's easy to imagine a New Orleans crowd, wherever they might now be, answering his call with the response, "I wanna go back."

It's the centerpiece of an album that then returns to standard New Orleans and brass band fare. That means a mix of styles from the R&B of "I'm Walkin'" to the traditional anthem of "The Saints" and Mardi Gras Indian chants such as "Ooh Na Nay." Ben E. King's "Stand By Me," which for years has enjoyed a continued presence at second line parades, takes on new meaning here as it's dedicated to the victims of Katrina.

Back in the 1980s, the Pin Stripe occasionally stepped into the hot, new, funky brass band style and engaged in blowing battles on the streets with the then up-and-coming Rebirth Brass Band. Even then, however the classic brass repertoire was always its calling card and continues to be its strength, as displayed on numbers like "E Flat Blues," widely known as "I've Got a Big Fat Woman," and "Dancing at the Mardi Gras," on which trombonist Terrell Warren takes over vocals. Beyond the catchy rhythms and true-to-life lyrics of the title track, "I Want to Go Back to New Orleans" there's nothing revolutionary about this album. But that song, along with the spirit and deep commitment of the Pin Stripe Brass Band, makes it work.

---Geraldine Wyckoff


Originally published in OffBeat [October 2006], pg. 37


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