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Various Artists: Our New Orleans

Recorded in New York, Memphis, Houston and Maurice, La., in the two months following Hurricane Katrina, this benefit album documents some of New Orleans’ living treasures expressing their feelings in song for their beloved hometown.

Allen Toussaint opens the collection on an optimistic note with a new take on “Yes We Can Can,” his hit song for the Pointer Sisters in the early ’70s that now serves as a mantra for rebuilding the City That Care Forgot. Dr. John delivers a haunting rendition of “A World I Never Made,” which he originally cowrote with Doc Pomus in 1980 for B.B. King, and New Orleans soul queen Irma Thomas channels Bessie Smith on the earthy “Back Water Blues,” accompanied by Toussaint on piano and Doyle Bramhall II on guitar. Pianist-singer Eddie Bo contributes a solo N’awlins-rumba rendition of “When the Saints Go Marchin’ In,” and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band speaks for the whole crew with an intimate, heartfelt rendition of “Do You Know What It Means to Miss New Orleans?” Toussaint also turns in a mournful minor-key reading of the Professor Longhair anthem “Tipitina,” which he’s dubbed “Tipitina and Me.”

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