As Mardi Gras approaches in earnest, fans of the Radiators are lamenting the loss of our soundtrack of the season. As a way of assuaging the angst, TVD is offering a free copy of the latest full-length download from the pen of Ed Volker. Read on for details on how to win.
When Volker retired last June after over 33 years leading the celebrated New Orleans band, he said he wasn’t going to play in public for at least six months. But he never said he was going to quit composing. His new 12-song collection, Snag, is proof that the fertile mind of the poet is still kicking like the proverbial mule.
Two of the songs will be familiar to hardcore fishheads especially those enamored with the MOMs Ball, the underground Carnival party that the Radiators, as well as Volker’s earlier bands, played for over three decades. Last year’s theme song, “Last Lick” makes an appearance here, as does another rarity, “The Ballad of Delia Green,” known on set lists as “Delia’s Gone.”
Other tunes on Snag give insight into the process that turned rough tunes by Volker into Radiators’ songs. The first cut, “Let’s Get Shiny Tonight” sings out for the full band treatment. “O Dead Man’s Hand” opens with a classic Volker piano riff and has a melody line and lyrics that practically beg for Dave Malone’s voice.
In case fans wonder how Volker was able to make the obviously tough decision to shut down the circus, he offers the wistful, “Save the Last Watusi for Me.” With a chiming, repeating keyboard figure (stream it above) that evokes nostalgia, the song is a gem that stands along with fan favorites like “Grief Snafu” and “Raindancer” for packing an emotional punch.
I have run across fishheads who were unaware that Volker has released six prior intimate albums of his songs (not including the commercially released, Lost Radio), recorded on his own with a bit of outside assistance. All six are still available here. But truth be told, those efforts are uneven—better tunes from each period ended up in the Radiators’ repertoire. But without the option of perfecting his best songs in the laboratory that was the Radiators, this disc is filled with keepers.
To win the download, leave a pithy comment (140 characters or less) about what you miss most about the Radiators. The winner will be chosen Friday on the eve of what would have been the band’s 34th anniversary.
Main Volker Image: Chris Granger, The Times-Picayune