In March of 1975, Professor Longhair, the New Orleans blues singer and piano player extraordinaire, gave a concert aboard the Queen Mary ocean liner at a special Venus and Mars album release party organized by Paul McCartney and Wings in Long Beach, CA. Three years later, a recording of the concert was released on Harvest Records. On Friday, April 5, Live On The Queen Mary arrived back on shelves, reissued by Harvest and MPL in a number of configurations: CD, 2-LP, and a special “Long Live ‘Fess” deluxe edition box set.
In the spring of 1975 — just in time for Mardi Gras — Paul McCartney and Wings set up shop in New Orleans to record their album and were quickly influenced by the city’s culture and music, especially “‘Fess,” as he was known. As McCartney said in a recent statement: “He had this great style, this kind of rolling piano style. And he was singing this song called ‘Tipitina,’ which is like one of his hits. He’s got this very interesting vocal sound, it was almost like a yodel. A funny little break in his voice … I just loved [Longhair’s piano] style so much that I composed something called ‘My Carnival’ and it’s got the same riff, basically, that he plays…I just couldn’t play it as well!” When it came time to find talent for the Venus and Mars album release party, McCartney turned to Professor Longhair.
For the new CD and 180-gram black vinyl reissue, the live album has been remastered at The Music Shed in New Orleans, back in the city where it all began. Both configurations include a new foreword by Hugh Laurie, who pays tribute to the influence of Professor Longhair and The Queen Mary. Harvest/MPL have also released a special deluxe edition box (the “Long Live ‘Fess” edition) that includes the LP, Laurie’s liner notes, a replica Professor Longhair press pack featuring two 8″x10″ photos by Linda McCartney and a period press release from MPL, alongside an exclusive double A-side single: “Tipitina” / “Mess Around.”
All the configurations of Live On The Queen Mary are available now from Harvest/MPL. You can find Amazon links and a full track listing below!
Professor Longhair, Live On The Queen Mary (originally Harvest LP SW-11790, 1978 — reissued Harvest/MPL, 2019)
CD / LP
1. Tell Me Pretty Baby
2. Mess Around
3. Everyday I Have The Blues
1. I’m Movin’ On
2. Mardi Gras In New Orleans
3. Cry To Me
4. Gone So Long
5. Stagger Lee
7″ Single (exclusive to deluxe “Long Live ‘Fess” box set):
2. Mess Around