I've been a huge fan of New Orleans pianist/singer James Booker since childhood. Booker, a perennially under-acclaimed honky-tonk genius, died in 1983 but his name still sparks gleams in the eyes of musicians and others in-the-know. James Booker is just The Guy. He's as good as it gets, and even those from that scene who've risen to fame and fortune (Dr. John, Harry Connick, etc) will freely admit it.
He's becoming a little less obscure thanks to the new film "Bayou Maharajah: The troubled genius of James Booker". I've heard it's un-frickin-believably terrific (musician friends tell me it's one of the greatest music films ever), but it's near the end of its festival circuit, and will likely never get a full release. I'll be sure and let you know when the DVD comes out.
I'd suggest you buy his CDs, buy the transcriptions of his miraculous piano work, and await the DVD. But don't take my word for it. Check this out, if you can even stand hearing music so honest, funky, gorgeous, and brilliant:
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