Thursday, September 22, 2016

40 Year Itch : Stompin' Some Rump

Wild Tchoupitoulas : Meet the Boys on the Battlefront

One of 1976's most essential recordings! The Wild Tchoupitoulas combines the music of The Meters with the Mardi Gras indian chants of George "Big Chief Jolly" Landry and the vocals of his nephews, The Neville Brothers. 

Although Landry gets a writing credit for many of these songs, most are based on traditional Mardi Gras indian chants dating back to the turn of the last century. Some are as boastful as anything a modern day rapper would say:

Meet the boys on the battlefront
Meet the boys on the battlefront
Meet the boys on the battlefront
where the Wild Tchoupitoulas gonna stomp some rump

Fueled by alcohol, New Orleans gangs would often wind up shedding blood on Mardi Gras day. But members of indian tribes would try to "stomp some rump" using feathers, sequins, needle and thread.  

Every member of the tribe has a duty. Listening to the album you'll hear about the "spy boys" who fronts the tribe keeping a look out for other tribes. The Big Chief is the leader of the tribe and the most ornately costumed. The chiefs and the tribes face off, exchanging taunts in a symbolic fight. 

And then they move on.

Although the album's title doesn't roll of the tongue (it's Wild Chop-it-too-lus), this is one of 1976's greatest albums, receiving an A rating from Robert Christgau and finishing ahead of both David Bowie's Station to Station and The Modern Lovers  in the Village Voice Pazz and Jop Critics Poll.

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