“Voodoo” here has little to do with zombies and all to do with the history of New Orleans, where religious practices and rhythms brought over from Africa became new forms. The Soul Jazz label has been putting out deep, dense and ear-popping compilations of vintage New Orleans party music since 2000; the well has not yet run dry on this superlative series, now in its fourth instalment. Styles and tempos vary; themes range from measuring up a man’s worth (Norma Jean’s sassy, protofeminist No Competition) to Dave Bartholomew’s storied The Monkey, in which three chimps express their horror at how humanity lives. But the groove is constant: these compilations are both history lesson and a party in a box.
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666