The Wild Tchoupitoulas: The Wild Tchoupitoulas (1976)

The Wild Tchoupitoulas

Track list:

01. Brother John
02. (Meet) The Boys on the Battlefront
03. Here Dey Come
04. Hey Pocky A-Way
05. Indian Red
06. Big Chief Got a Golden Crown
07. Hey Mama (Wild Tchoupiloulas)
08. Hey Hey (Indians Comin’)


The Wild Tchoupitoulas:
Big Chief Jolly (George Landry)
Spy Boy (Amos Landry)
Flag Boy (Carl Christmas)
Trail Chief (Booker Washington)
Second Chief (Norman Bell)

Arthur Neville – keyboards
Leo Nocentelli – guitar
George Porter, Jr. – bass
Joseph ‘Ziggy’ Modeliste – drums
Cyril Neville – congo
Teddy Royal – guitar
Aaron Neville – piano
Charles Neville – percussion
background vocals- Charles Neville, Cyril Neville, Aaron Nevile, Arthur Neville, Willie Harper

Recorded and Re-mixed at Sea-Saint Recording Studio, New Orlens, LA
Released: 1976
Label: Island – ILPS 9360
island / Mango 162-539 908-2 [2003, CD]

Producer: Allen Toussaint, Marshall E. Sehorn
Co-producer: Arthur Neville, Charles Neville
Recording Engineer: Ken Laxton, Roberta Grace
Remix Engineer: Ken Laxton

Album Concept & Design by Photographique Studios
Painting by CB Kennedy / Carleatis
Photography by: Paul A. Howrilla
CD Design: Ruth Kaplan

The Wild Tchoupitoulas - photo

Photo order Left-to-Right:
Spy Boy (Amos Landry), Trail Chief (Booker Washington), Big Chief Jolly (George Landry), Flag Boy (Carl Christmas), Third Chief (Thomas Jackson), Second Chief (Norman Bell)

The Wild Tchoupitoulas — a group of Mardi Gras Indians headed by George “Big Chief Jolly” Landry — only released one album, but that one record caused a sensation upon its initial 1976 release.

It was one of the first records of the album-oriented rock generation that captured the heady gumbo of New Orleans R&B and funk.

Landry may have fronted The Wild Tchoupitoulas, but the key to the record’s success was his nephews, Charles and Cyril Neville, who headed the rhythm section.

They drafted in their brothers, Art and Aaron, to harmonize, and thereby unwittingly gave birth to the band that became the Neville Brothers.

Still, the fact that The Wild Tchoupitoulas ranks among the great New Orleans albums isn’t because of the Nevillles themselves, but the way The Wild Tchoupitoulas lock into an extraordinary hybrid that marries several indigenous New Orleans musics, with swampy, dirty funk taking its place in the forefront.

There are only eight songs, and they are all strung together as if they’re variations on the same themes and rhythms.

That’s a compliment, by the way, since the organic, flowing groove is the key to the album’s success.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine[]