Thursday, March 26, 2009

So long, Eddie Bo.

so sad to hear the news of eddie passin'...veronica, if you're readin' this, my heart is with y'all...much much love.

the above photo of eddie bo was taken by dan prothero at a show that he and I produced. the venue was dba during jazzfest a couple of years ago. the band that night was me on guitar and vocals, eddie on piano and vocals, kirk joseph on sousaphone and robb kidd on drums. eddie's old pal ( and our dear friend and spiritual guide), big chief monk boudreaux dropped by and ended up stayin' all night.

my friend kieth abel cooked up a mess o' collard greens, fried chicken and homemade cornbread and set it up backstage...and we all spent a couple of hours before the show, eating, conversing, enjoying life and it's simple pleasures...good friends, good food, good music...eddie and monk were especially keeping us all entertained with reminiscin' bout 'back in the day'. kirk related how 'check yo bucket', with it's tuba-like bassline, sing-song chorus and sexy lyrical innuendo, was a personal favorite of his and all the jumpropin' girls on his block as a 12 year old kid!

earlier that week I had tried to persuade eddie to rehearse (because it was a big deal to me to play with the elder funk maestro and I wanted to be prepared)...finally, he reluctantly agreed the day before the show to come by the studio I had rented for the occasion. he listened to us run through 'hook and sling' and 'check your bucket', barely joining in himself. he grinned and half-jokingly scolded me for making him drive across town..."See...I wouldn't even be doin' this show if I didn't know ahead of time that y'all could play! I knew we didn't need no rehearsal!"

Nothing could have been truer as he took the stage and took command of the band, the audience and the piano underneath his fingers. The packed house began to sway and shout, jump and one point, during an intense workout on brother ray charles' 'what I say' the entire building felt like it was expanding and relaxing in time with his left hand...oh yeah - it was funky!

I am lucky in so many ways to have known eddie and shared that magical night of music on the bandstand with him...I will never forget it as long as I live.

Thursday, March 12, 2009






Thursday, February 12, 2009

Second Annual Supernatural Ball is Next Week!

Just a reminder that PAPA MALI'S SECOND ANNUAL SUPERNATURAL BALL will be held a week from this Thursday, February 19th at Tipitina's Uptown (501 Napoleon Ave) beginnig at 10pm and going late until whenever????

This year's lineup is amazing! John Mooney! George Porter Jr.! The Revolutionary Snake Ensemble (from Boston)! The Hot 8 Brass Band! Groovesect featuring Uganda Roberts! The Rev Goat Carson! Plus more surprises...and of course, your host Papa Mali (yours truly).

So arrive early, stay late and get as freaky as you's Carnival time in New Orleans, y'all!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Papa Mali featured in New Orleans 'Offbeat' magazine.

Click on the Offbeat icon to your right, or simply paste this URL into your browser:

Inside, I am interviewed by noted music journalist, John Swenson and we also announce and discuss the upcoming 'Second Annual Supernatural Ball', an event that I started last year and plan on doing every year around Mardi Gras.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Yes, we can...and we did!

My friends, we are at a unique place in American history.

Starting in the sixties - with the assassination of JFK, through Vietnam, Watergate, the Reagan years of yuppie greed, Iran-Contra, arms buildup, the Bush Sr. years of Desert Storm,CIA/Noriega/crack, and into the new millenium with Dubya and Cheney's phony election and subsequent war in Afghanistan leading up to the illegal invasion of and war in Iraq - it hasn't been easy keeping one's faith in our government.

But with the election and inauguration of Barack Obama, we have a leader who has attracted the attention of the world, and given people everywhere, from all walks of life and from every background, a reason to believe that change - sweeping, radical change - is possible again in this once mighty and beloved nation.

Let's get behind him...he will need our confidence and our support as he takes on the nearly impossible task of repairing the economy, ending two wars, healing the damage done by partisan politics and corruption in Washington, addressing the state of our fragile global ecosystem and restoring the reputation of the United States as a country that stands for freedom, justice and equality.

It won't happen overnight, but it won't happen at all without the cooperation of every American citizen, getting behind an underdog who believes that as long as there is hope, there can be change...

It's the best campaign platform I've seen for these times we live in, and I, for one am going to put my faith in this amazing man. Won't you join me?

Click on the photos of Obama to the right, for an amazing speech by Obama (crowd shot) and an inspirational music video entitled 'Yes, We Can' (photo of Obama and little boy).

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Music for your supernatural soul...

From time to time, Mysterious Forces will suggest musical selections - radio stations, podcasts and (coming soon) my personal favorite, vinyl records - which may or may not provide an excellent soundtrack to the mysterious forces guiding your own path.

Today, consider this blog/podcast, whose very title 'Voodoo Funk' has been used to describe my music, though this genre is a kindred spirit of a different order. I think you will enjoy it.

Simply click on the 'Everybody Get Down' icon to the right, OR copy and paste this URL into your browser:

THEN once you are on the VOODOO FUNK main page, scroll down to the same 'man with guitar' icon (Everybody Get Down)and click on it for a podcast of vintage african soul vinyl...check the beautiful photos and label art!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

This just in...

From concsious brother and snake charmer Graham Wood Drout:

click on image above for "the ten commandments of successful daily living"...amen!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Hawaii, Part 1

On December 29th, my buddy, keyboardist Matt Hubbard and I flew to Paia, Maui, Hawaii to join up with our friends, Hutch Hutchinson, who has played bass for Bonnie Raitt for nearly 3 decades, and Bill Kreutzmann, legendary drummer and founding member of the Grateful Dead. We were picked up from the airport in a very cool, funky, retro limo (thanks, Julie) which I was calling the "reel-to-reel-to-reel Dubmobile", due to the excellent reggae music that was booming from the sound system, and after a long, long, day of airports and overcrowded flights, Matt and I were more than ready for some of the local 'hospitality'. Wowie, indeed! But it was a brief chill, as we had to get to the was less than 90 minutes away.

The four of us performed for nearly 3 and a half hours at Charley's in Paia, to a packed house of revelers who were ready to get started with the New Year's festivities. A psychedelic light show was provided by our good friends and hosts, Joey, Jeremy, and Benjamin, and the crowd seemed to appreciate the extra effort to enhance their very stoned brother came up to me and said "how do you make your shirt DO that?", referring to the swirling projections pulsating on my black rayon button-down. That pretty much summed up the mindset of us all, but the week had just begun...(to be continued)

NEXT on Mysterious Force: Willie and family, and the big New Year's Eve extravaganza...stay tuned!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Uh, Baby...was it good for you?

Another Christmas, come and gone.

Man, this time of year can be so confusing - elation and depression often go hand in hand...the buildup, the big day, and in some cases, the big letdown. These emotions are often amplified by family or domestic tensions, sibling rivalry, money problems (especially this year, huh?), the breakup of a relationship, the recent loss of a loved one...or even something as seemingly shallow as not getting what you wanted.

Here is hoping that yours was a very merry Christmas - that none of the things I mentioned apply to you. Sometimes, shakin' off the blues can be as simple as counting your blessings. My favorite song for putting modern problems of Christmas in perspective is Johnny Cash's "Christmas As I Knew It" (click on link to the right), where he tells the tale of a particularly destitute Christmas as a child in rural, poverty stricken Arkansas.

But for some folks, Christmas depression can be a very real thing and if you are suffering from the holiday blues, I want to take this time to remind you, you are not alone, so hang in there. There is a light on the horizon and a light inside each and every one of us.

"I'm gonna get up and make my life shine..." - Boz Scaggs

And speaking of 'A Brand New Day'...I want to wish ALL my readers a better New Year. 2009 shows a lot of promise, what, with a new president and the hope that Obama brings to our nation after eight of the darkest years in U.S. history! His election alone is historic and progressive by anyone's standard! I, for one, feel as though the rest of the world woke up the day after election day and said: "Well, what do you know...the people of America have stood up and spoken out for freedom once again!"
Let's keep that hope alive!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Soul Santa

Merry Christmas and happy Holidays to all my fine and funky friends and readers!

This podcast from our friends at Daptone Records ( the people who brought you Sharon Jones and who are greatly responsible for the success of Amy Winehouse) will definitely get you in the holiday groove!


It's easy! Just click on the 'Soul Santa' icon at right, or copy and paste the URL below into your browser.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


It's that holiday time of the year, and if I manage to survive the commercial hype ( I always do) I hope to pull it all together during the final hours of Dec 24, and have myself a merry little Christmas ( I always do).

But this year, as you are trimming the tree (or lighting the Menorah), consider if you will, the Mardi Gras Indians of New Orleans, who will also celebrate Christmas, and then get right back to sewing their magnificent suits, each one different than the year before, each one resplendent in it's exotic plumage, detailed beadwork, bright, shiny jewels.

Christmas may be upon us, but Mardi Gras mornin' soon be comin'...and every spyboy, flag boy, wild man, squaw and big chief gonna be sewin' night and day as Fat Tuesday draws near.

Big holiday shout out to my injuns!

Ho, Ho, Ho and Hoon Don Day! Merry Christmas and My-Ti-Coo-Ti-Fiyo!

Mysterious Forces salutes the Mardi Gras Indians, in all their magnificent supernatural splendor!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

This Just In

...from astute reader, Bonafied Tom:

"I learned this at least, by my experiment, that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundry; New universal and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air your work need not be lost, that is what they should be. Now put foundations under them." -Henry David Thoreau

I love this quote, and it exemplifies the outlook which I tried to define in my opening entry (Answering the Call...)

Of course, I will be writing about all kinds of subject matter which is less cerebral and more down-to-earth. Who knows what I may feel like gettin' into on any given day? Record collecting? Probably. Food? Likely. Fishin'? Maybe. Music? Definitely. Life on the road? Most assuredly.

But, I always want there to be an angle that makes you think, ponder and wonder.

If natural is good, then supernatural must be even better, right?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Answering the Call of a Higher Power

I never could get behind religious minded individuals who would seek to discredit me and my beliefs. Once a particular faith gets too organized, they usually begin looking for folks that they can convert to their own doctrine. And frankly, I am suspicious of any organization that wants me as a member, and I am even more suspicious of any individual or group who thinks they have 'The Answer'.

I will be the first to tell you that I don't claim to have the answer. I only know what works for me.

And I will be the last person on this beautiful earth to try to convert you to my way of thinking.

But just so you know where we stand, here is my own, personal theology in a nutshell - take what you need. If it helps you, great. If it doesn't jibe with your own belief, please know that I respect your path and promise not to question your faith in it. Please return the favor.

I do believe in a higher power, though I don't believe that anyone, living or dead, has figured it out and explained it yet. Maybe some day, but I doubt it. It is human nature to try and analyze, label and explain everything we experience. It is my belief that humans, as a species, have not evolved far enough to comprehend the true nature of God, for lack of a better word. Nevertheless, I have felt it's presence, in nature, in love, in music, art, poetry and dance. I have felt God's presence while witnessing birth and death, and in times of crisis, peril and tragedy. And I can't remember, but I imagine that God was there when I was very, very young...steering me away from danger, manifested in the loving, trusting wide-eyed smile that all babies and small children share.

I have also experienced God while high on psychedelics, and other mind-altering substances, but I am almost certain that any of these things consumed in excess can be detrimental to your spiritual path.

And that is all the faith I need to be a believer. "Who feels it knows it." And I believe that this higher power exists within us, within everything, whether we choose to acknowledge it or not.

I believe that karma is gonna get you. Everything that you do, good and bad, is gonna come back to you.

Learn to forgive and love yourself so that you may truly forgive and love others. Accept and give love as often as you can. Forgive those who truly don't deserve it.

Keep an open mind (read this one as often as necessary).

Seek out your true self and honor it's existence by being the best 'you' that you can be.

Be kinder than you are required to be to children, animals, sick people, the elderly and the poor.

Honor the dead by learning from their mistakes and carrying on their good deeds, especially those traditions which uplift, bring joy and comfort to those that they leave behind.

Read more books. Listen to what others have to say.

Do not judge others - the laws of nature (and karma) will take care of that. Do what you know is right.

Realize that intention is vibration, and that vibration is what makes up the physical plane. You can cause great damage just by being negative and obsessive. You can also do vast amounts of good through positive prayer and meditation.

Realize that alleviating internal struggle is often as simple as making peace with your dark side, while nurturing the light that shines within you.

Be open to the possiblity that incredible opportunities await you every single day, otherwise, you might not recognize them, and they will move on.

Don't take me, these words or yourself too seriously. Lighten up. Laugh more.

Do your thing.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Greetings, my friends and fellow seekers, and welcome!

'Mysterious Forces' is my latest undertaking: a blog, journal, a travelogue, a sometimes skewed look at everyday situations, epic experiences and minor events through my own unconventional perspective.

I hope you will join me, as I wax philosophical, spout off rants and musings, talk about whatever happens to be on my mind and try to find some meaning, understanding, common ground and humor in the world we share.