The Library of Congress recently announced its latest list of 25 recordings worthy of special attention from preservationists, and three recordings related to Louisiana are on the roster.
That’s a testament to Louisiana’s unique role in national culture, and it should be a source of pride to all who live here.
Each year, the library adds 25 more recordings to its National Recording Registry, which makes them a priority in the library’s preservation program. The latest selections for the registry bring the total number of recordings on the list to 450.
Among the new additions are Louis Armstrong’s performance of “Mack the Knife” and Clifton Chenier’s 1976 zydeco album “Bogalusa Boogie.” Also added was composer Alex North’s soundtrack to the 1951 film version of Tennessee Williams’ “A Streetcar Named Desire.”
Armstrong’s recording of “Mack the Knife” became an unexpected sensation when it was recorded in 1954, inspiring 17 cover versions in the United States alone.
Chenier, the Opelousas musical legend, cut his “Bogalusa Boogie” album in a single day, with no second takes, “and remains a definitive performance by one of zydeco’s greatest artists,” according to the library.
When director Elia Kazan persuaded North to do the score for “Streetcar,” he sent him down to New Orleans to “sop up the atmosphere.” The visit helped North become the first composer to integrate jazz into a major motion picture score.
We’re glad these recordings are getting the recognition they deserve. They’re a tribute to American ingenuity — and the Louisiana culture that’s nourished it.