Music was paramount in New Orleans, a town where they liked jazz with their blues. Regular blues musicians like Richard ‘Rabbit’ Brown got on disc when the record companies came to town. In general bluesmen and women came from out of town for their sessions, Texans like Lillian Glinn, Will Day, Oscar Woods and Blind Willie Johnson or Mississippians Bo Carter, the Mississippi Sheiks and Walter Jacobs, or out-of-towners like Little Brother Montgomery. New Orleans also saw the first recordings by fascinating Cajun musicians like Amédé Ardoin, Dewey Segura, Lawrence Walker and Cléoma Falcon, who put down their version of 12-bar blues.
From the 19th century African music gatherings in Congo Square to the birth of jazz and its offshoots, New Orleans is one of America's most important music cities, and with the Rough Guide to the Music of New Orleans collection, listeners get a well-rounded taste of the Crescent City's musical gumbo. The collection touches on traditional jazz torchbearers (Dr. Michael White), classic R&B (Jessie Hill, Earl King), down-home funk (the Meters), Mardi Gras-ready brass players (Kermit Ruffins, Hot 8 Brass Band), global-influenced groovers (Los Hombres Calientes), and artists on the rise (Papa Grows Funk). While it's impossible to capture the full spectrum of New Orleans music on a single disc – women artists are underrepresented, and the NOLA hip-hop scene that's emerged since the 1990s is skipped entirely – this Rough Guide is a spirited introduction, and as a bonus is accompanied by a second disc featuring emerging heavy funk purveyors Dumpstaphunk.