Tuesday, March 8, 2011

For a Song: All on a Mardi Gras Day

The Wild Magnolias: All on a Mardi Gras Day


I’ve never been to Mardi Gras. In fact, I’ve never been to New Orleans. So Mardi Gras for me is something that exists in the imagination. That imagination is fueled by some great music. Here, The Wild Magnolias give a clinic on the “second line” beat. I have heard of it, and I know it when I hear it, but don’t ask me for a formal definition of second line. Instead, listen to the big bass drum that opens this song. Soon the vocal parts come in, then the piano. Finally, the full band arrives. At that point, the rhythm instruments are playing the second line beat. That’s what is, and no words can explain it as well. On top, All on a Mardi Gras Day turns into a New Orleans brass band extravaganza. And the lyrics imagine a heavenly gathering of the greatest musicians New Orleans ever had to offer. What more can I say except, “bon temps roullez!”