Thursday, September 30, 2010

Shame On You, George "W" Bush!

Relax, this isn't going to be a political bash story. You'll find out what significance the title of this entry has in just a brief moment.

Now for those of you who know me on Facebook, you've probably heard me gush like a giddy Japanese schoolgirl over the HBO original series, Tremé, more than a few times over the past year. I believe I might even have an archived entry here on this blog where I pleaded with you all to check it out when the show originally aired back in April.

None of you listened. And I mean NOBODY! Sheesh. I swear!

Tremé (pronounced: "truh-may" or "treh-meh", depending on who you ask in the area) mostly covers the historic black and Creole neighborhood of the same name in New Orleans, just 3 months into the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It follows the stories of 10 characters (some of whom know each other, but most of whom don't) as they struggle to put the pieces of their varied lives back together again in the city they love and call home.

Anyway, the point I'm making is that you all missed an incredibly AWESOME tv show. I'm sure the real reason is that you don't own a subscription to the premium cable channel. Yeah, that's it! Too bad, too. Because, in addition to being an engrossing and well-acted drama, Tremé was also notable for its focus on the amazing musical tradition the city of New Orleans is known worldwide for.

The show had its regular cast of established actors (some of whom are quite familiar to fans of other HBO shows, if not movies), but what really stood out was the rather large inclusion of a great many local and real life musicians. At times, it felt like I was watching a documentary on the who's-who of New Orleans Jazz and modern brass band luminaries.

Because of this, I've been dying for the soundtrack for this amazing show to be released. And now, ladies and gentlemen . . . that day has come AT LAST!!! Well, only if you purchase your music online, it seems -- like via iTunes or even Amazon's .mp3 downloads store. The actual physical CD won't hit brick 'n' mortar stores until the end of October (bummer!). But hell, who buys CDs anymore?

I'm particularly happy I finally get to hear the intro theme song that plays when the credits roll before each episode. Click here to see (and hear) the opener for yourself. Ain't that just the coolest? :)

The other song I could only hope upon a dream they would release--and was surprised to find out they did!--was the reworking of Smiley Lewis's hit 1957 single, "Shame, Shame, Shame" for the show. The lyrics here were altered to provide a satirically damning slam against George W. Bush, particularly his bungling of the whole disaster recovery affair after the tragedy of Katrina in 2005. In the fifth episode of the season, local "Nawlins" DJ and aspiring mayoral candidate, Davis McAlary (played here by the spastic, but always lovable, Steve Zahn) somehow manages to beg, plead, entice, and/or inveigle some of the Tremé's most notable musicians into helping him record his biting yet humorous take on this song for use on the campaign trail. The end result is a thing of beauty, and must be heard to be believed. I've included a clip of the relevant scene from that episode below so you can see what I mean:

In the show, the song is received with huge success and bolsters McAlary's cause to be the anti-anything that is plaguing the local New Orleans political scene. I was never sure this would ever be released as a real song, but now that I've downloaded the album and found it included among the track list, I can safely say I've since listened to it at least 6 times on just this one day alone. And I'm sure I'll listen to it a few more times before the day is done.

It's a really catchy tune, no?

I have no idea when the show will release on video. Most likely a few weeks before the 2nd season premieres next year. And, oh yes, there WILL be a 2nd season. HBO already confirmed it.

I can't wait!

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