Professor Longhair’s house on Terpsichore St. in New Orleans.
New Orleans bassist Reggie Scanlan describes the 1970s comeback of R&B piano legend Professor Longhair as “a convergence of a lot of happenstance things.” Professor Longhair had recorded a number of hits in the ‘40s and early ‘50s; his significant musical talent, however, couldn’t always pay the rent. But “Fess,” as he was affectionately known, was given a slot on the roster of the newly-minted New Orleans Jazz Festival in 1971, and was poised to do some of his best work to date.
“With the reemergence of Fess, we were all scrambling to find records,” says Scanlan, who was in his late teens at the time. “We had never heard anything like this.”
Longhair, whose given name was Henry Roeland Byrd, passed away in 1980, after releasing a new album and making plans to tour with The Clash. Restoration is currently underway on his dilapidated duplex on Terpsichore (TERP-sih-kor) Street in New Orleans, and the house’s comeback, once complete, may be just as impressive as when Fess took the stage in ’71.... Read More →
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Katherine Flynn is an editorial assistant at Preservation magazine. She enjoys coffee, record stores and uncovering the stories behind historic places. Follow her on Twitter at @kateallthetime.