10 Songs, 41 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Following the prison sentence for heroin possession that derailed his career in the '60s, Junco Partner was James Booker’s first proper opportunity to reintroduce himself to the general public. Once touted as one of New Orleans’ most promising young bandleaders, this album was the first in a string of solo recordings that repositioned Booker as an untamed virtuoso on the piano. Recorded in February 1976 by the British-based producer Joe Boyd (best known for his collaborations with traditional folk acts like Fairport Convention and Nick Drake), Junco Partner emphasizes the diversity of Booker's repertoire. The first three songs are a Chopin waltz, a Leadbelly standard, and one of Booker's original compositions, the sparkly and funky "Pixie." Booker's genius is that he could play three such songs in a row and convince the listener that they shared a root. As much as he was writing a history of New Orleans piano with his recordings, he was also writing his autobiography. He was totally unafraid of letting his scars show, even when he was playing dance tunes. The title song, a Booker perennial, remains one of music's great accounts of drug addiction.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Following the prison sentence for heroin possession that derailed his career in the '60s, Junco Partner was James Booker’s first proper opportunity to reintroduce himself to the general public. Once touted as one of New Orleans’ most promising young bandleaders, this album was the first in a string of solo recordings that repositioned Booker as an untamed virtuoso on the piano. Recorded in February 1976 by the British-based producer Joe Boyd (best known for his collaborations with traditional folk acts like Fairport Convention and Nick Drake), Junco Partner emphasizes the diversity of Booker's repertoire. The first three songs are a Chopin waltz, a Leadbelly standard, and one of Booker's original compositions, the sparkly and funky "Pixie." Booker's genius is that he could play three such songs in a row and convince the listener that they shared a root. As much as he was writing a history of New Orleans piano with his recordings, he was also writing his autobiography. He was totally unafraid of letting his scars show, even when he was playing dance tunes. The title song, a Booker perennial, remains one of music's great accounts of drug addiction.

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