So, here’s James Andrews, what am I gonna say about this guy? What he might lack in recorded output he more than makes up for in talent, almost constant live work and interconnectedness with what often seems like half of New Orleans musicians. His tune on the Gumbo Mix, ‘Sweet Emma’ is apparently his favourite of the few he’s written and he’s also on there leading the Treme Brass Band through ‘I Want My Money Back’. He’s big brother to Troy ‘Trombone Shorty’ Andrews and other family members and cousins play in The Rebirth, Dirty Dozen and Hot 8. Their Grandaddy was Jessie ‘Ooh Poo Pah Do’ Hill and on the other side they related to Prince La-La. It goes on like this……they grew up in the Treme, in a house where Fats Domino would drop by and hang out, Danny Barker taught them traditional music. He’s right in there at the centre of all this stuff, pushing Troy into performing when he was real young ‘cos of the talent he had (he ain’t exactly shorty no more, he’s all grown. Although James is a damn tall feller, so maybes he is to him) but despite an ego as big as he is tall, he’s also not really come out front as any kind of big name – he be getting there though. These two tunes come from his debut ‘Satchmo of The Ghetto’. Odd name as Satchmo was from the ghetto but there’s a, possibly apocryphal, family story that he is distantly related somehow to Satch. Either way he’s a massive fan and it’s a nick name he’d picked up along the way, these days it’s given way to “12” (why? I dunno).Live he can bust a rhyme a whole lot better than DJ Davis although there’s none of that here. The album was produced by Allen Toussaint, who also plays on it alongside Dr John (Toussaint having played on Jessie Hill’s stuff and Hill having been a member of the Night Tripper Band it’s all family) It’s a decent record but it doesn’t catch the fire of seeing him live, he had this to say about visits to preservation hall when he was younger
“What struck me was the way they played the music; it just had that New Orleans energy. They could control the crowd through the music. The reflection of the crowd is part of the music.”
and it applies to him just as good really. Whatever, check these tunes and we’ll have some Jessie Hill tomorrow, what d’you say?