Professor Longhair, “Go to the Mardi Gras”
Today is the birthday of Professor Longhair (Henry Roeland Byrd, 1918-1980). While his records were not big national hits, his rhumba and Cuban-inflected brand of New Orleans rhthym and blues was hugely influential on the likes of Fats Domino, Dr. John, Huey “Piano” Smith, and Allen Toussaint. Long an industry legend, he was just beginning to find national fame when he passed away suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 62.
And now his best-known tune “Go to the Mardi Gras”