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Tuts Washington

A longtime staple of the New Orleans blues and boogie-woogie community, pianist Isidore "Tuts" Washington was a primary influence on later Crescent City players spanning from Professor Longhair and Allen Toussaint to Fats Domino. Born January 24, 1907, he began teaching himself piano at the age of ten; inspired by the itinerant New Orleans musician Joseph Louis "Red" Cayou, Washington amassed a vast repertoire of songs by memorizing performances by area brass bands, then quickly returning home to develop his own renditions. Recognized as something of a prodigy, Washington -- also known as "Papa Yellow" -- was already the superior of most local barrelhouse pianists by his teen years, and he regularly sat in with prominent Dixieland and society bands; his style brought together an eclectic mix of ragtime, jazz, and blues textures, and despite a general reliance on instrumentals, he was also known to pull the occasionally bawdy vocal number out of his bag of tricks.

Washington achieved his greatest success in the company of singer/guitarist Smiley Lewis, with whom he joined forces during the late '40s; prior to the 1952 breakup, they cut some of the landmark New Orleans R&B sides of the period for Imperial, among them "Tee-Nah-Nah," "The Bells Are Ringing," and "Dirty People." However, for the most part, Washington considered recording of little consequence, content instead in his standing as the consensus choice as the French Quarter's champion pianist; as a result, he regularly rejected offers to cut solo sides, and in 1950 set out to conquer new territories, relocating to St. Louis to join the Tab Smith Orchestra. He was back in New Orleans by the end of the decade, signing on with the Clyde Kerr Orchestra and adding a new pop-oriented dimension to his playing for the sake of tourists. Finally, in 1983 -- at the age of 76 -- Washington consented to his first solo recordings, cutting New Orleans Piano Professor for Rounder; he died on August 5, 1984 during a performance at the New Orleans World's Fair. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: City Of Dreams: A Collection Of New Orleans Music

Disc 1

1. Carnival Time

2. Sing It

3. Drawers Trouble

4. Just Because

5. Don't Mess With My Man

6. Check Mr. Popeye

7. You Talk Too Much

8. Big Shot

9. I Bowed On My Knees

10. Drink Jax Beer

11. Go On Fool

12. Dollar Got The Blues

Disc 2

1. Feel Like Funkin' It Up

2. Sew-Sew-Sew

3. Cuttin' Out

4. Shoo-Fly

5. Royal Flush

6. It Ain't What You Think

7. T. Chapman

8. No It Ain't My Fault

9. Golden Crown

10. St. Louis Blues

11. If My Shoes Hold Out

12. Just A Little While To Stay Here

Disc 3

1. You Can Stay But The Noise Must Go On

2. Ain't No Yachts In The Ghetto

3. Rough Spots

4. Flow On

5. A Corn For Crip

6. Keeper Of The Crown

7. Body And Fender Man

8. Gemini Rising

9. Sweet Touch Of Love

10. Here We Go Again

11. Funkyard

12. House That Jack Built

Disc 4

1. Hard Times

2. Classified

3. Every Day, Every Night

4. Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most

5. Tee Nah Nah

6. On The Q-Tee

7. Gumbo Piano

8. All By Myself

9. My Children

10. I Don't Know

11. Go To The Mardi Gras

12. Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans

x

Track List: Louisiana Scrapbook

1. Mardi Gras In New Orleans

2. The New Rules

3. She Said The Same Things To Me

4. We Don't See Eye To Eye

5. Wondering

6. Song For Renee

7. It's You I Love

8. Louisiana Blues

9. The Bachelor's Life

10. Don't You Know I Love You

11. Think It Over One More Time

12. Steppin' Up In Class

13. No Relation

14. One For The Highway

15. You Got Me Worried

16. Gonna Cry 'til My Tears Run Dry

18. When The Saints Go Marching In

x

Track List: Mardi Gras Party

1. Carnival Time

2. My Feet Can't Fail Me Now

3. Maman Rosin Boudreaux

4. Big Chief

5. Mardi Gras Mambo

8. That's Enough Of That Stuff

9. Hey Pocky Way

10. Do Watcha Wanna Pt. 3

12. Mardi Gras Zydeco

14. Mardi Gras In New Orleans

15. When The Saints Go Marching In

x

Track List: The Real Music Box: 25 Years Of Rounder Records Louisiana Spice

Disc 1

2. That's Enough Of That Stuff

3. Three Keys

4. Tee Nah Nah

6. On The Prowl

7. Back On Track

8. Hold To God's Unchanging Hand

9. Hometown New Orleans

10. Down That Lonely Lonely Road

11. Tipitina

12. Coconut Milk

13. Hard Times

14. Meet Me At The Station

Disc 2

1. J'ai Vu Le Loup, Le Renard Et La Belette

3. The Mistake I Made

5. Lula Lula Don't You Go To Bingo

8. La Danse De Mardi Gras

9. Wildwood Flower

12. Laissez Faire (Let It Be)

13. T'en As Eu

14. File Gumbo

15. Outside People

16. Give Him Cornbread

17. Think It Over One More Time

18. Snap Bean

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