By Lolis Eric Elie
One of the joys of being in the 'Treme' writers’ room is hearing David Simon, Eric Overmyer and Tom Piazza discuss old New Orleans rhythm and blues records. Choosing the right music for the show is a very important part of the writing process. Much of that deliberation might more profitably take place once the scene is written and the details filled in, but since music is the backbone of the show, it is not entirely illegitimate for us occasionally digress about who played what when, and which version of what song might be best for Antoine Batiste to cover in a particular episode.
All three men are experts. (Last season, George Pelecanos and the late David Mills also brought music expertise to the writers’ room. But they were funkateers from the Clintonian school. George Clinton, that is. Different religion altogether.) At first, I thought my New Orleans birth certificate entitled me to get a word in edgewise but it seems that the moment I open my mouth, they move the discussion to another level of esoterica, and I am left behind.
I’ve asked Eric, David and Tom to create lists of New Orleans music and musicians that they particularly like. There will be more such posts in the future. But for now, let’s begin with some songs from David Simon’s roster of forgotten or neglected New Orleans songs.
- "The Monkey," Dave Bartholomew
- "Los Hombres de Fiasco," All That
- "Here Come the Girls," Ernie K-Doe
- "Sacred Ground," John Mooney
- "Lillie Mae," Smiley Lewis
- "Chicken Shack Boogie," Amos Milburn
- "Just to Hold My Hand," Big Boy Myles
- "Junker Blues," Champion Jack Dupree
- "Second Line on Monday," Chuck Carbo
- "Hard River to Cross," Earl King