Ernie Vincent


Yes, you read it right, Ernie Vincent!! The man who, along with his band the Top Notes Inc., have gone down in the deep funk history books for creating that unhinged masterpiece of wah-wah guitar, multiple drum breakdowns and positive ghetto messages known as "Dap Walk." But before we go any further, a little philosophy and historical perspective is in order.

It's often been postulated that one of New Orleans' greatest musical qualities is its "laziness." While anyone whose ever had the pleasure of listening to a Chris Kenner record would most certainly agree, there's another side to it as well: The lackadaisical approach that we enjoy in so many of our favorite records can also be a detriment to those trying to really get things done. Just ask Ernie Vincent. "Most people in New Orleans are laid back in (their) playing," he told funk historian Egon. "I believe you hit the bandstand, fire it up and kick it!" As Emperor Ernie K-Doe once so succinctly put it, Tain't It The Truth! And now that we've gotten the philosophy out of the way and quoted the Emperor, our history session is in order. It was none other than Vincent's band that were backing up Mr. K-Doe regularly when his now famous Mother-In-Law Lounge first opened it's doors nearly a decade ago. Vincent had a band at the time the likes of which I'd never seen and certainly haven't seen since. A bass player who took care of the bottom while simultaneously making up for the lack of horns by playing the horn lines high up on his bass neck, a keyboardist whose suave, self-assured approach instantly convinced you that he was some weird, long lost brother of Allen Toussaint, and towering above it all, Vincent. His appearance alone was intense enough; a strong, youthful countenance, a thick, processed head of hair and a Gibson hollow body guitar slung over his shoulder. But it was the way he played that sent shivers down the back. His riffs were so rhythmic, he may as well have been playing the drums. Every piercing chord was hit like it was the last note he'd ever play and he wanted to give it everything he had, while his leads were as stinging as a hive of angry queen bees.

At the time that Vincent became my favorite local unsung guitar hero—equal only in rank and importance to Irving Banister—you could've hit me over the head with a box of "Dap Walk" 45s and I wouldn't have known what they were. It didn't matter that he'd cut an as-yet-to-be-rediscovered funk masterpiece back in '72 because he was still creating. But now that we've mentioned that phenomenal single, we've come to our point: The chance to see Ernie on stage, playing "Dap Walk" on the same guitar that he recorded it with. (Word hasn't come back about the famously squeaky wah-wah pedal that he used, but if he's still go it, we'll make sure he brings it out of retirement!). Best of all is the fact that Li'l Buck Sinegal's stellar soul band, the Buckaroo Orchestra, will be backing Ernie up. Take it to the bank, they've got the pedigree. After all, Buck's double-barrelled blast of hard core soul-funk, "Cat Scream"/ "Monkey In A Sack" on the La Louisianne label—which he'll be playing that night with original drummer Nat Jolivette poundin' out the beat—is as sought after a piece of Bayou State black vinyl as is "Dap Walk." Then there's Ernie's second Fordom single, "Things Are Better," which will also be featured…

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