Musician - 3/94, p.91
"...listening to this album is like waking up with a hornet's nest in your head...an accurate depiction of Booker's virtuosity, a genius bordering on madness..."
Solo performer: James Booker (vocals, piano).
Recorded at the Maple Leaf Bar, New Orleans, Louisiana between 1977 & 1982. Includes liner notes by Earl King, Jeff Hannusch, Ricky Castrillo, Harry Connick Jr., Thorny Penfield, Michael Goodwin, Scott Billington and John Parsons.
Recorded at the historic Maple Leaf Bar in New Orleans, this live set finds legendary Crescent City pianist James Booker playing for his fans on his home turf. He's in excellent form. Like his musical ancestors Jelly Roll Morton, Tuts Washington, and Professor Longhair, Booker is steeped in both classical and blues-based traditions, drawing on ragtime and boogie-woogie styles with a rhythmically inventive and wildly improvisatory spirit.
The opening piece, a stomping medley of "Slow Down/Bony Maronie/Knock on Wood/I Heard it Through the Grapevine/Classified," showcases Booker's exuberant concert persona and his keening, soulful vocals, while the album's highlight is the medley "Tico Tico/Papa Was a Rascal," with its closing motif of ornamental classically influenced embellishments. Elsewhere, Booker performs New Orleans classics such as "St. James Infirmary," "Junco Partner," and the Fats Domino hit "All By Myself" with his own inimitable keyboard transformations. Booker's wide-ranging influences and styles, his astonishing piano skill, and his passion as a performer are all combined on RESURRECTION OF THE BAYOU MAHARAJAH.