Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Augie Jr. & the Big Mess Blues Band - "Drinker's Choice" - 1991

When I lived in New Orleans, I would walk over to Jackson Square almost every day to watch Augie Jr. and the Big Mess band. They were a massive, unruly, ever-rotating group of crazed and colorful musicians. They were a force to be reckoned with, and everyone who played on the street in the French Quarter had respect for them. The Big Mess Band has had many incarnations over the year, but Augie has always been at the heart of it. Augie's 1991 record "Drinker's Choice" doesn't quite capture the ragged glory of the Big Mess Band live in the Quarter, but it's the only full-length record of this New Orleans musical institution, and, as such, has achieved something of a mythical status, largely because it's been so hard to find for so long. Augie and the Big Mess Band have reached untold numbers of ears in their long years of service on the streets of New Orleans. Hopefully, this CD'll reach a few more.

1. She's Mine
2. Down On The Floor
3. Black Train
4. (Please Send Me) Someone To Love
5. Drinker's Choice
6. Hoboin'
7. Hot Tub Gumbo
8. Jefferson Girl
9. Bring It (When You Come)


  1. My parents went to New Orleans many years ago and brought me back a cassette tape of Drinker's Choice. It is still to this day, one of my favorite albums.

  2. Ok, this post is super cool!

    I knew my husband was a musician in New Orleans in a previous life and was always hoping that a family member would have a tape of his band somewhere buried in the bowels of the attic, from where it would emerge someday covered in years of dust. But no such tape exists.

    Then I find this post when I'm surfing for nothing in particular. I'm listening to The Big Mess Band right now. Can't thank you enough for the link.

  3. I played in the Big Mess from late 1992 till 1997. Augie was one of the biggest influences on my music, as well as other members, such as "Washboard" Lissa, and Butch Trivette. Augie suffers from liver disease, and has been on a long, slow decline since the mid 90s. As far as I know he currently lives in Rochester, NY. Lissa still plays in New Orleans. Corey Harris was in the band for a couple of years, and lifted much of his first record on Alligator directly from our repertoire. Bobby Lewis DiTullio plays harmonica with Little Freddie King. Other members are too numerous to list. I wrote a number of songs about the broup that are on my CD "Death of A Streetsinger."

  4. I was a member of the big mess from 87-91, the founding members were augie jr., lissa dricoll, pablo winfrey, jaff zima,scott kirby,and i. i have several street recordings,home recordings and videos from my time in the band, i agree that the drinkers choice is not the best representation of the band,after 1200 shows there were many moments i wish had been captured in the rapture and raucausnous and revelry,but alas a recording studio causes an unnaturalness of the moment. it did have its big mess moments thou, we were as poor as broke dick dogs and the only reason we gathered in the studio was because it was raining that day. Augie had 2 strings tied in knots and i only had a d harp to play the songs we usually played in g,thus augs rose to the ocassion and sang 1 step up. If you could of heard the first version of someone to love,tears were running down my cheeks as augie stood singing with bottle in hand,yet half way thru he yelled stop and that was the end of something glorious,any way drinkers choice has too much compression.if you want some thing rawer,i have street recordings and 2 recordings made at lissas house just before katrina,featuring lissa ,butch,augie,jeremy,roberto and thanks,rand

  5. I wish that link still worked; I can't find this album anywhere! "Hot Tub Gumbo" is easily my favorite Augie song.