John. The "Big Chief", the "Spy Boy", the "Flag Boy" and several other roles or offices are important to the Mardi Gras Indian tradition of "masking" (parading through the street in full costume). Many blocks ahead of the Indians are plain clothed informants keeping an eye out for any danger. The song is sampled in the song "Knock 'Em Out" from Alright, Still, the debut album from Lily Allen. He co-wrote the song with Theresa Terry. 5 on the R&B charts, and became his only national hit. [2] He would keep time by kicking his foot against the piano's base. [2] He was a pivotal link between early New Orleans piano pioneers such as Tuts Washington and later names such as Fats Domino, Art Neville, Allen Toussaint and Dr. These characters are mentioned in Earl King's song, as well as many other songs which have come out of New Orleans. https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Big_Chief&oldid=969147334, Articles with unsourced statements from September 2011, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 23 July 2020, at 17:33. The "Big Chief", the "Spy Boy", the "Flag Boy" and several other roles or offices are important to the Mardi Gras Indian tradition of "masking" (parading through the street in full costume). The song was covered by Fats Domino and released as a single in 1953. [7], In 1959, Byrd re-recorded the song as Go to the Mardi Gras, which was produced by Joe Ruffino and released in December as a 7" and 10" on Ruffino's label, Ron Records. It became a hit in New Orleans for Professor Longhair in 1964,[1] featuring a whistled first chorus in a rollicking blues piano style and subsequent lyrics written in mock-American-Indian pidgin (whistled and sung by King, uncredited). My Indian Red by Dr. John Traditionally sung at the beginning and end of a Mardi Gras Indian gather, it is a chant about how the tribe will never bow down to an adversary. Next comes the "first flag," an ornately dressed Indian carrying a token tribe flag. [11], "Fats Domino - Mardi Gras in New Orleans", "Professor Longhair: The Times-Picayune covers 175 years of New Orleans History", "Professor Longhair 78 RPM - Discography - USA - 78 RPM", "Professor Longhair - the Chronological Professor Longhair: 1949", "Professor Longhair – Go To The Mardi Gras / Everyday, Everynight", "Professor Longhair - Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge", "Professor Longhair - Rock 'N' Roll Gumbo", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Go_to_the_Mardi_Gras&oldid=985936814, Pages using infobox song with unknown parameters, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 1949 "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" b/w "Professor Longhair's Boogie" (Star Talent 808) 10", 02-1950 "Mardi Gras in New Orleans" b/w "She Walks Right In" (Atlantic 879) 10", 12-1959 "Go to the Mardi Gras" b/w "Everyday Everynight" (Ron 329) 7"/10", 1985 "Rock 'n' Roll Gumbo" (Dancing Cat Records) lp/cd, 1991 "Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge" (Rhino Records/Bearsville) cd, This page was last edited on 28 October 2020, at 20:52. (Even though it was not a national hit, the single was available for years in the New Orleans area, especially during Mardi Gras. [4], The song was first released as Mardi Gras in New Orleans by Professor Longhair and His Shuffling Hungarians in 1949 on a Star Talent 10" 78 RPM single. ), King wrote the song while attending school, and recalled the tune during a recording session with Longhair arranged by Wardell Quezergue. Check them out on the YouTube links provided. [9] Professor Longhair is a legend. Each gang performs its own original songs and dances on Mardi Gras Day, on "Super Sunday" (the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day) and at other functions in the community. [1] It is now considered an iconic festive song of the New Orleans Carnival season. The tune became popular in New Orleans, frequently performed by local musicians such as Dr. John, and is now a staple of the repertory of most brass bands and musicians in the area. [8], The song was also re-recorded in 1971 and released in 1991 on the album Mardi Gras in Baton Rouge. According to tradition, the African Americans in New Orleans who first formed "Indian gangs" did so as a tribute to the Native American tribes in the area who took in runaway slaves in the pre-Civil War era. The Mardi Gras Indians play various traditional roles. [2] He developed a unique "rhumba boogie" style that combined elements of blues, barrelhouse, and Caribbean influences. The characters of “Big Chief”, “Spy Boy”, and “Flag Boy” have important roles and offices in the group, and are mentioned in Earl King’s version of this song. The "Indian Nation" of Mardi Gras Indian "gangs" in New Orleans includes the Wild Magnolias, the Golden Eagles, and several others. Henry Roeland Byrd, Better known as Professor Longhair (or nickname "Fess"), was born in Bogalusa and moved to New Orleans with his family as an infant. 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