Ernie K-Doe: The R & B Emperor of New Orleans

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Historic New Orleans Collection, 2012 - Biography & Autobiography - 285 pages
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"May 1961, and one tune was sitting pretty atop both the R&B and pop charts. "Mother-in-Law" became the first hit by a New Orleans artist to achieve this feat?to rule black and white airwaves alike. Ernie K-Doe was only twenty-five years old, and his reign was just beginning. Born in New Orleans?s Charity Hospital, K-Doe came of age in a still-segregated South. He built his musical chops singing gospel in church, graduating to late-night gigs in clubs on the city?s backstreets. He practiced self-projection, reinvention, shedding his surname, Kador, for the radio-friendly tag K-Doe. He coined his own dialect, heavy on hyperbole, and created his own pantheon, placing himself front and center: "There have only been five great singers of rhythm & blues?Ernie K-Doe, James Brown, and Ernie K-Doe!" Decades after releasing his one-and-only chart-topper, he crowned himself Emperor of the Universe. A decade after his death, lovers of New Orleans music remain his loyal subjects." -- from publisher's website.

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This wonderfully written book by New Orleans journalist Ben Sandmel should be lifted up from its roots deep in The Crescent City, and spread far and wide. It’s the intricate and fascinating story of a local citizen-character-hero who meant a whole lot more than his sole nationwide #1 hit might suggest. 

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