Gig Seeker Pro


New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | INDIE

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Hip Hop R&B





01 July 2014 — by John Swenson

The modest, wood-frame house at 1616 N. Galvez St. looks pretty much like all its neighbors, but the front door leads to a dynastic kingdom inside. Walk through the sparsely furnished living room and you come to the office of Bang-N-Records and the Bartholomew Boyz, where the sons and grandsons of New Orleans music pioneer Dave Bartholomew are still making records. The walls are lined with visual representations of the past 60 years of New Orleans music, from ’50s and ’60s album covers of Dave Bartholomew productions to large-scale posters of hip-hop artists produced by Dave’s son Don, better known as Don B.

Dave Bartolomew, Elsa Hahne, cover story, OffBeat Magazine, July 2014
Photo by Elsa Hahne

On this particular weekday night, Don B. is hunkered down at the back of the house in the production studio. Looking unruffled in his dark aviator sunglasses, Don B. sits at his computer keyboard, wearing headphones and oblivious to the party swirling around him as he concentrates on his work.

The room is filled with people laughing, smoking and generally keeping spirits lively, including Don B.’s sons Don Bartholomew, Jr. (Supa Dezzy), Blake Bartholomew (TrakkaBeats) and Chris McGee (Sup Crew Y.C.), and Bang-N-Records rapper Altonio (Ace B.) Jackson, but Don B. is all business, his hands flying across the keyboard as he lays down beats for the track he was concentrating on. You couldn’t hear what he was playing, only the flat percussive sound of his fingers triggering the rhythms he was crafting.

Eventually, Don B. pulled off the headphones and joined the party with a laugh.

“Now it’s perfect,” he says with satisfaction, like a point guard nailing a three-pointer and casually turning back up court.

Don B. was reflecting on lessons about perfection that are part of his upbringing. After all, those lessons came from the master, his father Dave Bartholomew.

Of all the patriarchs of all the musical families that make up the fabric of New Orleans’ unique culture, Dave Bartholomew may well have amassed the most impressive legacy. His catalog of achievements is nothing short of staggering, a recorded treasure trove that is a true cornerstone of American music, from the extraordinary output of figures like Bobby Mitchell and Smiley Lewis through the ingenious creation of such memorable singles as “The Monkey” and the Lloyd Price smash “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” to the jaw-dropping list of hits crafted for Fats Domino. Bartholomew’s own unit, a supercharged Cadillac of big-band R&B, was a Jazz Fest institution right up until Katrina scattered its elements to the winds.

Dave Bartholomew was a shrewd businessman and a taskmaster in the studio as well as on stage, but he was also a visionary who encouraged his son Don to pursue his own way in music without following in his footsteps. When I first met Dave in the ’80s as a reporter for United Press International, he immediately introduced me to his young son, proudly proclaiming that Don was a hip-hop producer.

Now Don B. has returned the favor as he prepares a release of his father’s music, The Lost Files, finishing up recently discovered demo tapes of sessions that were thought to be destroyed in Katrina. Don B. has assembled a group of contemporary New Orleans artists to complete these sessions, including Cyril Neville, Glen David Andrews, Wanda Rouzan, John Boutte, Deacon John, James Andrews, Delfeayo Marsalis, Charles Moore, Darren Thomas, Warner Williams and Donald Ramsey. At the same time, Don has encouraged his own sons to continue the tradition by working with the family’s production company, the Bartholomew Boyz. Dave Bartholomew’s grandsons are continuing the tradition, creating beats, making mix tapes and shooting videos of a variety of 21st-century urban music.

“My next project is what I’m calling The Dave Bartholomew Lost Files,” says Don B. “It’s 12 songs that my dad did as demos and never released. So I’ve got these demos with James Black, Bunchy Johnson, Wardell Quezergue, Chuck Carbo, Edwin Frank, Irvin Charles and Warren Bell. They were songs intended for a Fats Domino project that never got off the ground, new songs that have never been released written by my dad. I wanted the right people to sing the songs. Like Deacon John sings a song called ‘Backstreet Woman’ about a woman he’s seeing on the side, his ‘Backstreet Woman’—she’s kind of a stalker, knockin’ on his door.

Don Bartolomew, Elsa Hahne, cover story, OffBeat Magazine, July 2014
Photo by Elsa Hahne

“I’m keeping the basics of what Dave laid down, but definitely updating it to 2014 style. Instead of programming it, I used all real instruments, a real horn section, bass, guitars. The only thing I programmed is drums, but the way I program it sounds like live drums. No one could tell the difference.

“I use drum programs because it takes so much time to get the right drum sound for the part and, to be honest, the drummer that I would want to use is Bunchy or Smokey Johnson and I can’t use either one of them, so it’s left to me to program it to sound like Smokey.

It’s a lot of work, but if I program it I can be sure I’ve got the tempos right, the transitions right and it’s always in the pocket. And I want it to sound new, not retro, so that people today can appreciate it.

People who like old-school will relate to it because it has the lyric and rhythmic quality of custom R&B, but contemporary listeners will like it because it has a fresh sound.

“I was riding with my dad yesterday and playing some of the demos for him in the car. He said, ‘We really had our stuff together back then.’”

The 2005 flood following Katrina was a disaster for the Bartholomew family, which lost its homes, its studio and countless personal and professional possessions in the inundation. Like many members of his generation, Dave Bartholomew’s career was effectively ended by the turmoil produced by the flood and subsequent dislocation. Don B. had been a successful hip-hop producer before the flood, making cutting-edge New Orleans bounce records with Master P, Lil Wayne, Mystikal, Mia X, Souljah Slim, Curren$y, Birdman, Magnolia Shorty, Mannie Fresh and Cheeky Blakk; his business was also wiped out. But he and his brother Ronald, who runs the legal end of the family business, were determined to rebuild the Bartholomew brand.

“People don’t really know what it is to be displaced,” says Don B. “I don’t know how many trips I made back and forth between Dallas and Houston to New Orleans. There was nobody in the city. Before Katrina, I was making like $1,500 a week, but after I was doing nothing. Before, the studio was always full, making rap, R&B and gospel records. I had so much work I had to hire an engineer to help me out. When I first came back, I was making money in Memphis, Houston and Dallas, but not New Orleans. I’d be producing New Orleans artists, but in other cities, and the studio was damaged; it had mold and needed to be renovated. So I was really doing mobile work at that point, going from place to place and my son Don would travel with me.”

Katrina did have a silver lining for the Bartholomew family. Don B. had been trying in vain to get his sons involved in making music, but they were never interested until they were forced to move from New Orleans.

“It was my senior year in high school,” says Don, Jr., “so I ended up in a new school where I didn’t know nobody. They told me I had no credits and wanted me to go back to 9th grade. They made me re-do high school. I just wanted to go back home. That’s when I started taking the music seriously, when [Don B.] came home from one of these trips with a keyboard.

“That was a real difficult year for him,” says Don B., “but somehow it got him focused on music. I had been trying to get him and his brother interested in music before Katrina, but they wanted to do whatever teenagers do, hang out and play football. My son Blake, I think once Don got it, it took hold. He saw his older brother doing it and that got him into it. So in that sense, Katrina helped them out getting into music. After Katrina, when they moved to other cities, it gave them time to get into music because they didn’t know nobody there to hang with. So what are you gonna do with your spare time? ‘I’m gonna start making beats.’ When I moved back home in ’07, my son was living in Dallas with my dad. Three days later, he’s like, ‘I’m coming back—can I stay with you?’

“After we renovated and came back home, that’s when he started working a lot. A lot of the people that was movin’ back home was his age, so that was a natural thing for him. I think that was an incentive for him to get better and be in the studio a lot. I wasn’t working so much, but suddenly he was bringing in new people, a whole new generation. With my generation, most of the people was moved out of town. So now I had to either get with it or let him do what he do. So we kind of did both. After they found out through him that we were doing music again, we started building this word-of-mouth thing. People were coming home slowly, but surely, or they would call ahead to book time when they were in town. By 2010, 2011, it was back to normal. At first, nobody had money to make music; they were too busy fixing their homes or scraping money together to come back. We was the only house on the block that was functional. I had everybody living there. We had 10 people living there and the studio going at the same time, so you can imagine what that was like. Everybody wanted to come back so I gave them a place to stay.”

So now a third generation of Bartholomews is working with the post-Katrina influx of new artists, applying the same principles Don B. learned from the patriarch.

“I remember when I first started playing stuff for my daddy, he said, ‘Boy, I don’t know what that is, it’s got no chords,’” says Don B. “But he never discouraged me, so I just kept doing it. He said, ‘Just keep doing what you’re doing and you’ll figure it out. Just keep working.’ And that’s what happened. And I told my sons the same thing. Now I don’t gotta tell them nothin’. They’re doing things that surprise me. Two of my sons debuted projects—Supa Dezzy dropped SMD, which has some very talented artists on there like Ace B., who plays Lil Calliope in the HBO series Treme; and TrakkaBeats has an all-instrumental project entitled Frankenstone—both can be downloaded for free from”

Meanwhile, Don B. was realizing an unrecognized talent for acting as he graduated from being the hip-hop advisor on Treme to playing himself in a major role in Treme as Davis McAlary’s producer. Around the same time, he discovered the lost files.

“I found it all on a cassette,” explains Don B. “When I came back from Katrina, my dad had a bunch of cassettes in his office. Some of ‘em got wet. I went through them and I salvaged what I could. I started listening to it and I found these. He didn’t know it was there; he thought it was gone, that he’d lost them, that’s why I’m calling it The Dave Bartholomew Lost Files. The stuff is 35 years old.”

If you go into the Bartholomew studio complex today, you’re likely to hear three generations of Bartholomew family music at one sitting—Dave’s music being refitted for contemporary use by Don B., and Supa Dezzy, TrakkaBeats and SupCrew YC sprouting the soundtrack to life in 2014 New Orleans. Don B.’s brother Ronald Bartholomew sums up the family motto: “We have two jobs here. We have a job to continue to create music. We love music. But our number one job here is protecting a legacy.” - OffBeat Magazine

"Three generations of Bartholomew fathers and sons nurture a formidable family music legacy"

By Alison Fensterstock, | The Times-Picayune
Follow on Twitter
on June 13, 2014 at 2:33 PM, updated June 13, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Dumpstaphunk drummer Nikki Glaspie to leave band after gig tonight in North Carolina
Country-pop star Hunter Hayes to headline New Orleans' Lakefront Arena in December 2014
Essence Festival to remain in New Orleans at least through 2019
Lady Gaga braves the ice in dominatrix style and other Ice Bucket Challenges gone wrong
Live music in New Orleans for Sunday, Aug. 24, 2014: Memphis rocker John Paul Keith
All Stories | All Photos | All Videos

The double shotgun house on Galvez Street has been in the Bartholomew family since before Don B, Dave Bartholomew's second youngest, was born. At first, it was a rental property. By the time it appears in 46-year-old Don's memory, it was the locus of multiple family businesses: an office for his father in the front, his mother's beauty shop in the middle, and a rehearsal space at the rear where his father worked with musicians, including Fats Domino.

In the 1990's, Don B struck out on his own, recording and producing New Orleans rappers, such as Soulja Slim, Mystikal, Mia X, Cheeky Blakk, Mr. Ivan and early Cash Money Records artists like U.N.L.V. and Ms Tee. During the earliest days of his nascent career, he said, he and his team held fish fries and sold plate suppers to raise money for studio time.

When Dave Bartholomew realized his son was serious, he surrendered the house.

"Do you remember Allied Music on Bienville?" Don said. "He told me to go there, and send him the bill."

Don stocked his new studio with gear. In his early 20s, he'd been working at the Intercontinental Hotel restaurant, trying to ease into a music career while paying his way, and not capitalizing on the name his dad had made internationally famous over decades of years of playing trumpet, writing, arranging, producing and leading bands, as well as sending dozens of hits to the charts with Fats Domino.

For his part, Dave staked his son to a setup, and then let him prove his own skills. The back room of the shotgun became Don B's studio. And it didn't hurt that Dave Bartholomew, who cut his teeth on postwar jazz and pre-rock 'n'roll R&B, scratched his head at hip-hop and bounce music. As a music-business veteran, he kept up with the new sounds, but that didn't necessarily mean he wanted to listen on his own time.

"My dad can tell you right now what's the No. 1 record in the world," Don said. "He gets Billboard every week. He keeps up with his charts. He can tell you every record Lil Wayne has. He's crazy about Trombone Shorty."

"But he'd say, you put me out of here with that stuff."

Dave Bartholomew, now 93, no longer works at the house, but his formidable legacy – and his son's pride in it – is visible everywhere. The double parlor in front is a testament to Dave's legacy, its walls hung with gold records, awards and citations. His special trustee's Grammy Award, from 2012, sits on the mantelpiece across from framed mementos of the 2010 Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame (he was inducted in 1991) American Music Masters tribute weekend dedicated to Dave and his protégé, Fats Domino.

The next room back is a tribute to Don B's 20-year-plus career, plastered with covers of albums the younger man worked on and posters of artists he worked with. And on a recent afternoon, the week before Father's Day, the very furthest part of the house was the province of Don "Supa Dezzy" Bartholomew Jr., 26, who was busy producing a session with old-guard New Orleans rapper Gregory D. Dezzy is the oldest of Don B's three sons, all of whom have ventured into music on both the performance and production side. (Chris, 25, sometimes performs as Y.C. and Blake, 22, who makes beats as Trakka Beats.)

Like his sons, Don also used a stage name for much of his career, shortening the family name to the initial.

"When I started getting into music, I started calling myself Don B. People would always give me leeway because of who my dad was: "Oh, that's Dave's son, let him in here." But I wanted to earn my stuff," he said.

"But recently I think it hit me, when I went and received the Grammy for my dad. I was watching him on the screen, getting a little choked up, seeing everything he'd been through. I thought, all these years, you should have been using that name because your dad paved the way for you, through music, and just as a man, period."

"You know things, but sometimes they just click on you - man, he did all that?

"After that I had a talk with my brother Ron, and I said 'Man, you know what? I'm going to start using Don Bartholomew, because that's who I am, and there's nothing better than that.' "

Don B and his sons started working under the name the Bartholomew Boyz, and together put together project that spanned three generations, a remix of Dave Bartholomew's "Born In The Country."

"I grew up with a sharp grasp of of the business side of music," Don said.

"I watched my dad being real strict, and shrewd. He was a young black man, and he knew how to get his publishing and take care of his songs. I don't know where he got it from, or how it happened but he was always like that - music is the easy part. The business is the part you want to make sure is straight."

"And what I find with my sons, I find myself doing the same thing my dad did with me," he said.

"I find myself telling them a lot about business," he said. "Don't rush, be patient, take care of the publishing and the copyright. Stay in your creativity, and when you're making a record, be in the studio by yourself. You don't need any friends hanging around, so you can concentrate, and be in your mode. I find that those three, though, they work like that anyway. They work pretty much like me."

Don B's own independent label, Bang'n Records, is currently working with four artists, beyond Bartholomew Boyz projects. New videos and albums from local R&B singer Tiffany Shante and rapper Lil Rixkie are due out this summer. And there's also a project that hits closer to home.

"My dad always had a bunch of cassettes," in the house, Don said. "And I never messed with them. I was always into doing what I was doing." But after Katrina, as he cleaned the place out, he took the tapes down off the shelf and gave them a listen.

"During a rehearsal, my dad would always tape," he said. The cassettes he found were recorded in the 1970's and early '80s in the rehearsal room that's now Don's studio. The recordings jogged his memory.

"Some of them, I remembered hearing as a little boy, listening to them rehearse," he said. "And some of them had a lot of narration from my father saying what he wanted to do on the song, and then he would play the song."

"This stuff has never been put out - people like Tommy Ridgeley, Chuck Carbo, James Black on drums. And all these people that I'm naming are deceased now. It's stuff that can never be replaced."

Right now, Don B is working on an album of remixes, using his dad's old material and contemporary New Orleans artists. The Dave Bartholomew "Lost Files" project, which will include a companion video of local music figures discussing Dave's impact, is set for a July 29 release date. The list of collaborators so far includes John Boutte, Sharon Martin, Wanda Rouzan, Gina Brown, Russell Batiste, Deacon John, Amadee Castanell and others. But one major figure that hasn't worked on it is Dave Bartholomew.

"I don't want my dad to hear it until it's done," Don said. - Times Picayune

"Don B. expands his father Legacy on HBO's "TREME""

By Dave Walker, | The Times-Picayune
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on June 26, 2011 at 10:00 PM

The son of New Orleans music legend Dave Bartholomew, Don Bartholomew has played a leveling role in the recording studio for Davis McAlary and Aunt Mimi this season on “Treme.”

Paul Schiraldi/HBO
Elizabeth Ahsley, Steve Zahn and Don Bartholomew on 'Treme.'
In his production guise of Don B., he’s also brought Altonio “Ace B.” Jackson, a member of his Bang N Records stable of artists, onto the show as it has broadened its musical palette to showcase contemporary New Orleans hip-hop and bounce.

Don B. credits Davis Rogan, the real-life muse for the McAlary character and a writer and performer on the series, and Blake Leyh, “Treme’s” music supervisor, for working him and his music onto the show.

“Davis is the one who really brought me into ‘Treme,’ the real Davis,” Bartholomew said in a recent interview. “He recommended me to Blake, and they gave me the opportunity of a lifetime to put my music on the show.”

Here’s an edited Q&A with Don B.:

How were you cast in an acting role on the show?

I was doing some consulting for the show on the rap music that they added for the second season. They asked me if I would play myself in the studio.

Had you ever done any acting?

I’d done a lot of music videos and stuff. I knew I could do it.

Did you watch the first season, and had you noticed that there wasn’t much hip-hop?

I did notice it, that it had a lot more "New Orleans music," but I kind of figured they were sticking really to the situation. People from out of town think New Orleans is all about food and music. I think they wanted to give the progression to a place that has more than music and food and is actually a metropolitan city.

They featured your dad last season.

I did a cameo on that episode as well.

What did you do?

I went with my dad when they shot the scenes with Irma Thomas. They said they needed a guy to pay the band. That’s how I started acting on “Treme.” I’m the guy paying the money at the end.

You’ve continued your father’s musical legacy and brought it into the 21st century. Do you feel connected to the New Orleans music that goes back through your dad?

Absolutely. Being brought up in my dad’s house, there really was not a whole lot of choice -- either do music or do more music. It was definitely a connection, as far as I’m concerned, with my dad. I feel like somebody has to keep his legacy going. I feel he’s done so much for the music industry, not just New Orleans, but music as a whole. My goal was to educate a lot of people on what he’s done in the past and what he’s doing right now. He has a new song out now, with me and Altonio and others, that just came out. It’s his first rap record.

What’s it called?

The name of the song is, “Born in the Country.” The video just came out Sunday. It was his first music video. After 50 years, he had never done a music video. He’s featured on the song.

Is it on YouTube?


Let’s talk about Altonio for a second. How did you find him?

Actually, he found me on MySpace. I had some tracks on MySpace back in 2006 or so. He was living in Houston, and I was back-and-forth. MySpace was keeping everybody connected at that time after the storm. He had heard some of my music and he wrote to me on MySpace. I didn’t really respond, but met him later at my studio. He was a friend of my son’s who went to high school with him. When we met, he didn’t know I was the same guy he was talking to on MySpace. We connected like that. He came over and rapped. I immediately really loved his look when I first saw him. After I heard him rapping, everything else was history after that.

On the show, you get to work with a couple of pretty good actors. What’s it like working with Steve Zahn?

It is so easy working with Steve. He’s so patient, and he teaches me a lot, man. It’s amazing for me. No. 1, because I’ve been watching him forever in different movies. For me to have the opportunity to work with him, to learn from him, was extremely positive for me. I’m really speechless when it comes to Steve, man. He’s really a good guy.

And there’s Elizabeth Ashley. Isn’t she amazing?

I think they have another word for Elizabeth. She’s another one. She educated me so much on acting, and helped me out so much. It was amazing how much she knew about my dad. Between takes, we’d talk, and she would just make me feel so good. Her acting is so overwhelming. When you’re acting with these two, you just want to be on-point to make sure you have to do what you need to do. When you’re working with two professionals like that, you have to do your job. - Times Picayune

"Where They At"

I never went by the name of Don Bartholomew. Everybody knew me as Don B., because I wanted to have my own identity. I didn't want nobody to give me some leeway, just because of who my dad was. I wanted to be my own person.

I was working at the Intercontinental Hotel. My dad would tell me, “I’ll buy all the equipment you want in the world, but you got to make it happen on your own." I got tired of waking up and going to wait on people and bussing tables at 5:30 in the morning. I used to see guys there, and there’s nothing wrong with it, but I used to see guys like 45 and 50 years old. They’d been doing this for like 25 years. I'm like, "What you mean, you been doing this for 25 years? Why? Why would you want to do this for 25 years?"

I started really having equipment like in 1992. I would say by 1993, I could get on and do any kind of beat. I did the first BG album and Lil Wayne album. The BG’z True Stories. I did that here. That’s the first thing I recorded with Cash Money. A lot of that “Cash Money Studios” [album credits] was this studio.

A lot of times when I first started producing stuff I would bring it to [Dave Bartholomew] and he’d be like, "Boy, there aren't no chords in that. What is that?" It wasn't him being mean. But for me, it was like breaking my heart. I was like, "What do I got to do to make my dad accept my music?" But now that I'm older, I understand he was just being straight up. I understand it now because I tell my son sometimes, "Boy, that’s the wrong key. You don't hear that?" I find myself doing what my dad used to do to me. I know with them it’s pressure. It was probably more pressure with me because with my dad I was like, "This man got all these hits and is in the Guinness Book of World Records and all this." With them, they know what I've done with this hip-hop community. They’re like, "It’s got to be right." Lil Don a lot, he challenges me doing beats. "Look at this beat. This beat is better than your beat."

For more information, please visit their page.


Hitts Studio, Bang'n Records


Years Active:
1993 - present

Collaborated with
Mr. Ivan, Ms Tee, multiple artists as independent producer and engineer - Alison Fenerstock


Just two weeks ago, I was more than a season and a half behind the most current episode of Treme, the HBO series about New Orleans that is shot and filmed in the city. As a hard-working (and unemployed) girl desperate to watch the show at a local bar, I devoted more than 16 hours to catching up.

Decorations at the Hi Ho Lounge.

My investment paid off. I saw last night’s episode at the Hi-Ho Lounge in the Marigny, one of the many bars I’ve heard about but never visited. It’s an unusual place, with the kind of funky atmosphere that feels inauthentic when reproduced by upscale bars.

Before Treme started, I had to sit through a long preview for True Blood, which included Gary Cole, who I audibly noted was “the guy from Office Space.” A man in front of me turned around and haughtily informed me that Gary Cole has a long resume of other films, and rattled off a few.

This unwanted information was delivered by Davis Rogan, the infamous New Orleanian for which the Treme character Davis McAlary (played by Steve Zahn) is based on. Turns out Lil’ Calliope (Altonio “Ace B.” Jackson in real life) and Don Bartholomew (who plays himself on the show, as the record producer) were also in attendance. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the trio had planned to play some of their songs from Treme live after the episode aired. It was written up on, but I had not read anything about the show online for fear of spoilers.

Their performance was great. Ace B and Don B are compelling onstage, and Davis is a better singer than Steve Zahn. Nonetheless, as he micro managed the clearly talented onstage musician , it was easy to see that the “real” Davis is just as obnoxious as his Treme namesake.

For this Kind of New Orleanian, the cringe moment came when Don B. asked the audience if we knew the song Little Liza Jane. No one responded.

“Who here is from New Orleans?” he shouted.

I wished so badly that I could shout “I am!” but I couldn’t. Luckily, no one else could either. The silence confirmed for me that I wasn’t the only carpet bagger in the room.

The group gave a spirited performance of the song—even better than some You Tube covers. I must learn this song if I am to be a true New Orleanian.

We’ll see what the last few episodes of Treme have in store. - Kind of New Orleanian

"New Atlantis: New Orleans Music Rebuilds"

New Orleans musicians have helped facilitate the city's recovery in numerous ways beyond merely restoring its culture in the wake of the 2005 flood. In New Atlantis: Musicians Fight for the Survival of New Orleans, moderator John Swenson offers a detailed account of this story. The HBO series Treme also deals with many of the same themes. Numerous New Orleans events are portrayed in both the book and the HBO series. New Orleans musicians, writers and actors discuss the events in question and try to work out the ill defined lines between journalism, history, drama and "real life."
MODERATOR John Swenson Editor/Writer New Atlantis

Author of New Atlantis: Musicians Battle for the Survival of New Orleans.

John Swenson has been writing about popular music since 1967. He edited the award-winning website for Knit Media and has worked as an editor at Crawdaddy, Rolling Stone, Circus, Rock World, OffBeat magazine and been published in virtually every popular music magazine of note over that time. He was a syndicated music columnist for more than 20 years at United Press International and Reuters. Swenson has written 14 published books including biographies of Bill Haley, the Who, Stevie Wonder and the Eagles and co-edited the original Rolling Stone Record Guide with Dave Marsh. He is also the editor of The Rolling Stone Jazz and Blues Album Guide. In another role Swenson is a veteran sports writer who covered the New York Rangers for 30 years, writing pieces for outlets from Rolling Stone to the Associated Press. Swenson is also a veteran horseracing columnist and handicapper who covered the New York racing scene as a columnist for the New York Post and the New Orleans Fair Grounds meet for The Daily Racing Form. His profile on jockey Steve Cauthen, "Rise To Stardom, Fall From Grace" in Spur magazine was nominated for an Eclipse Award.

Swenson's account of musicians returning to New Orleans after Katrina, The Bands Played On, appeared in Da Capo's Best Music Writing 2007. His Every Accordionist a King won the 2008 Best Entertainment Feature award from the Press Club of New Orleans. Swenson's latest book, New Atlantis chronicles how musicians battled to rebuild New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.
Davis Rogan

Chris Magee

Bill Davis Dash Rip Rock

Bill Davis is a guitarist and songwriter. Dash Rip Rock is the legendary New Orleans-based rock band built around the songs of singer-guitarist Bill Davis. DRR is known for their unique roots music. In 2012 Dash Rip Rock was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame and honored for their contribution to the state's music.

SPIN says Dash Rip Rock is "undeniably the South's greatest rock band." The New York Times calls Dash Rip Rock "the kind of band that provides a lesson in American rock-and-roll history...skillful musicians with a penchant for getting reliably wild...." No Depression raves that DRR's recent albums prove that Dash is "one of the greatest bands working today" and Houston Press recently deemed Dash Rip Rock one of the "Top 10 Louisiana Bands of All Time."

Dash Rip Rock has long been celebrated for tight musicianship, high energy live shows, and songs of raw insolence and longing that are sometimes cut with whimsy. Bill Davis, Dash Rip Rock's founder and frontman, is a songwriter known for his blistering guitar work. For over 25 years the band has amassed a loyal, diverse following.

Though Dash Rip Rock is an infamous live powerhouse who is often credited with founding the musical genre known as "Country Punk," Dash has always been a roots-based band inspired by a variety of styles, including rock, country, soul, and power pop. Influential in shaping genres of modern rock and alternative country acts, Dash has fans that span the globe. The wide tent of their cross-genre fan base includes aficionados of roots-rock and Americana as well as rockabilly, country, and punk fans.

DRR has released 15 records that have all been hailed as cult and underground classics. Bill Davis started the band in the mid '80s, and DRR was first signed to 688 and then Mammoth Records. In the '90s Dash Rip Rock scored a national radio hit, "Let's Go Smoke Some Pot." This tongue-in-cheek classic is still played religiously throughout the nation over FM airwaves on counterculture feast days and covered regularly by major rock acts. Recently the band joined forces with ex-Dead Kennedys frontman Jello Biafra and his Alternative Tentacles label to release a number of albums including the idiosyncratic Hee Haw Hell (2004), a country-punk-rock-opera based on Dante's Inferno. Other cult classics followed, including 2010's Call of the Wild.

In 2010 Dash Rip Rock's song "Johnny Ace" was featured in the hit video game Rock Band. Bill Davis also appears in the new documentary "Outside Industry: The Story of SXSW."

Dash Rip Rock has shared the stage with The Ramones, Jerry Lee Louis, Lou Reed, The Replacements, No Doubt, the Circle Jerks, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Black Crowes and countless others, at times playing up to 250 shows a year and touring with acts like the Cramps, The Reverend Horton Heat, and Mojo Nixon.
Don B

Don Bartholomew aka Don B, CEO and Executive Producer of Bang-N Records is the son of the Legendary Godfather of Rock & Roll Dave Bartholomew who as sole producer of Fats Domino is responsible for creating the original New Orleans sound. Continuing with a legacy of producing great music and great artist, Don B as a producer and owner of Purple Room Studio has worked with most of New Orleans local rap stars such as Lil Wayne, Juvenile, Mia X, the late Soulja Slim and Magnolia Shorty. As one of the longest running full service studios, the Purple Room Studio hosted first recording for Cash Money Records and No Limit Records prior to their national acclaim. As a true percussionist Don B can create any genre beat. As a producer he can develop any artist into a Supa Star!
Don along side his brother Ron B established Bartholomew Boyz Productions. This Production team has now expanded to Don B's sons Don “ Supa Dezzy” Bartholomew, Blake “Trakka” Bartholomew, Chris “ YC” McGhee, and Torial “Red Phoenix” Ladmirault.
Since the boom of Music videos in the 80's and 90's and now YouTube, Don has been able to exhibit his talents on film. His latest video “Born in the Country” featuring his father sparked the interest of the Producers of the HBO hit series “Treme”. Don B's experience in the industry launched his contribution to the series as Hip Hop Music Consultant. His cameo appearance in Season I as himself (Don B, music producer) landed him a recurring role in Season II and III. His knowledge and in depth involvement in New Orleans Music culture gained him a position behind the scenes as Hip Hop Music Director.
Don Bartholomew Jr Bang-N-Records/Bartholomew Boys

Alison Fensterstock Contributing Music Writer New Orleans Times-Picayune

Alison Fensterstock is a New Orleans-based music and pop culture writer. Her work has appeared in Paste, Vibe,, MOJO, Q, the Oxford American, the New Orleans alt-weekly Gambit (for whom she served as music critic from 2005-2009) and the New Orleans Times-Picayune (where she blogs stuff every single day now.)

In 2011, she co-wrote the book "The Definition of Bounce" with rapper 10th Ward Buck (who produced the famous Mr. Ghetto "Wal-Mart" bounce video.) Would you like a copy? You can get one at SXSW. In other bounce-related projects, she was the bounce consultant for season 2 of HBO's dramatic program "Treme" and co-curated the bounce and hip-hop documentary exhibition and oral history archive "Where They At," with the photographer Aubrey Edwards. You can look at it at

She is also the programming director for the Ponderosa Stomp Foundation, for whom she researched the Louisiana State Museum’s “Unsung Heroes” exhibit on Louisiana R&B, rock, garage and blues. - John Swenson

"Treme Wrap-Up: Dealing with Death"

Davis, Aunt Mimi, and Don B in HBO TremeLast week, I wondered if Dinneral Shavers had been sufficiently set up as a presence to make his death carry the weight in the show that it did in life, but there’s no doubting his sister Nakita’s sobbing, incapacitating breakdown during eulogy. Musicians I could spot at the service: Glen David Andrews, Paul Sanchez, John Boutte, Martin Krusche, Kermit Ruffins (late) and J. the Savage/Jamie Bernstein (outside).

The start of this episode explores how people deal with death—wrecked emotional breakdown and symbolic gestures at Shavers’ funeral; detachment and distance, though not as much as it seems (Sofia) and smug indifference (the detective at the second crime scene).

Speaking of, I wonder if the first visit to the Helen Hill crime scene played as chillingly outside of New Orleans as it did for me and—I assume—anyone who realized the crime that the cops were investigating. It was made worse by one of the themes of this season: the sad shape of the NOPD, which is depicted as stubbornly wrongheaded and bogged down in petty, internal squabbles when not engaged in illegal activity.


Davis, Aunt Mimi and Don B are listening to Ballzack’s “Wine Candy” when Don B points out that nothing on Davis’ sampler has national appeal. Despite Davis’ big talk, it’s clear that his idea of thinking big is including the West Bank, and that for all of his bravado, the big fish/small pond model is sunk more deeply in his psyche than he realizes. It’s to the credit of the show that everybody’s not musically great. Conventional television would have Davis’ collection be a hit and make a star of somebody (which might still happen) and confirm his vision (which is unlikely to happen). Similarly, Sonny has proved to be a perfectly adequate guitar player for Antoine’s band, but he hasn’t blossomed in the gig into June Yamagishi. Annie similarly craps out on her first try at songwriting, rewriting Bob Dylan’s “Don’t Think Twice, It’s Alright” by accident.

Two last Davis/Mimi thoughts: I found it hard to follow the exchange between Mannie Fresh and Don B about Aunt Mimi, but if I got the gist of it accurately, it’s nice to know that there’s more to Aunt Mimi than it has seemed so far. Also, the heavily tattooed rapper who followed spoken word artist Gian Smith onstage is Ace B. (also identified in different places online as Ace Boogie and Ace Boggy) a member of Don Bartholomew’s Bang’ N Records crew with Don’s brother, Ron.

Media watch: Times-Picayune writer and former OffBeat contributor Katy Reckdahl got TV time this week, getting a few lines with Oliver Thomas and a little screen time in court with the T-P‘s Ramon Antonio Vargas. Reckdahl’s covering the NOPD’s attempt to raise second line fees – a story she covered for us in November 2006.

When C.J. Liguori marks off the boundary on a map, it’s the footprint for the still-yet-to-be-built Charity Hospital.

It’s great to see sax player Tim Green in Antoine’s band, but Antoine gets the line of the show. As he wrestles with the New Orleans problem of getting the same band on the show that so many local bands genuinely face: “We’re a nine-piece band with 54 fuckin’ pieces.”

It looks like Delmond may face the social consequences of his growing desire to find a contemporary expression of his musical roots, though that version of “Milenberg Joys” would be a good place to start. It looks like his relationship to his New York girlfriend is going to be tested not by Janette but by the class issues associated with the trad jazz/contemporary jazz divide.

–Alex Rawls - Alex Rawls

"The Bartholomew Family: Three Generations of New Orleans Hitmaking"

The Bartholomew Family: Three Generations of New Orleans Hitmaking

Since the mid 1950s, when Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino wrote more than 40 hits for Imperial Records, the Bartholomew family has been a key element of the New Orleans music industry. Dave’s son Don B. ushered in the first wave of New Orleans hip hop, working with Mystikal, Cash Money, Lil Wayne, Mia X and Souljah Slim among others. His grandsons Blake, Chris, and Don Jr. (Trakka Beats, Sup Crew Y.C. and Supa Dezzy) make up the Bartholomew Boyz, who are on the cutting edge of the city’s contemporary R&B and hip hop scene. Don B. is currently producing an album of unreleased tapes of his father’s sessions that were thought to have been lost in the 2005 Katrina flood.
John Swenson
New Atlantis

Don Bartholomew Jr
Bang-N-Records/Bartholomew Boys

Dave Bartholomew

Chris Bartholomew
Bang-N-Records/Bartholomew Boys

Don B
Bang-N-Records/Bartholomew Boys

Blake Bartholomew
Bang-N-Records/Bartholomew Boys - John Swenson

"An overdue tribute to one of the world’s greatest music partnerships"

By Geraldine Wyckoff
Contributing Writer
easy corp payday loan
“This is something that needs to live in New Orleans,” declares Al “Lil Fats” Jackson who portrays the legendary pianist/vocalist/composer Antoine “Fats” Domino in the upcoming musical and theatrical revue, “Walking to New Orleans.” Beyond being purely for entertainment, the show, which debuts on Thursday, September 3 at the Carver Theater, stands as a tribute to one of the world’s all-time great musical partnerships – Fats Domino and trumpeter/composer/arranger/producer Dave Bartholomew. Their multiple, million-selling mega-hits, like the title cut, “Blue Monday, “Ain’t That a Shame” and many, many others put New Orleans on the map in the late 1940s through the 1950s and laid down the roots of rock ‘n roll.

“I don’t believe they could have come from any other place in that time,” offers Jackson who sincerely believes he was born to play the role of Fats.

Trumpeter Shamarr Allen co-stars in his depiction of Bartholomew. “We needed someone who could play their ass off and we also needed somebody that looked like Dave and could play the part,” says Don Bartholomew, Dave’s son who in collaboration with actor/producer Lucky Johnson and marketing director Vince Caruso, is presenting the show.dave-and-fats-again-2015-08

Actually, “Walking to New Orleans” is a series of ongoing performances at the Carver with two one-hour shows at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. weekly from Thursday through Sunday. The aim is for it to be an unlimited engagement.

Naturally, says Don, there will be a lot of music intermingled with dialogue that will tell a bit of the history about Fats’ and Dave’s extraordinary relationship. “We try to cover the milestones that are part of their story like the moment that my dad found Fats, the moment that they played the Copacabana in Europe,” Don explains. He elaborates saying that it’s about how they started with “The Fat Man” cash advance in danville va in 1949 with the performances each night ending with ‘The Saints’ with Lil Fats, in Domino’s signature move, rhythmically bumping the piano across the stage.

Don Bartholomew is also acting as the band director for the eight-piece ensemble that will back “Fats” and “Dave.” Saxophonist Derek Douget scored the part of longtime Domino reedman Herb Hardesty and actor Brand Guttoso will play the part of renowned New Orleans record producer Cosimo Matassa.

“There is no way in the world we could have a tribute story like this without Cos,” Don Barthomew states with great earnestness.

“I’m very excited to play Mr. Bartholomew – it’s a great honor and privilege,” says Shamarr Allen. “He’s one of my all time favorite composers.” The two musicians first met at a Katrina benefit in New York’s Madison Square Garden and have since built a relationship. “When I saw him I was asking him about playing the trumpet, like can you show me how you did this on this record, can you show me how you did on this record?” He said, ‘Before you go any further do you know anything about publishing and copyrights?’ Those were his first words to me.” Allen acknowledges that this experience and other encounters with Bartholomew have helped him dig into his role. “It gave me a sense of direction of who he is as a person.

Beyond Bartholomew’s manner and spirit, Allen says he is also trying to emulate the way Dave played trumpet on his recordings. “He was using his throat to growl and the plunger like a wah-wah at the same time,” says an obviously impressed Allen. “Certain things that he did, trumpet players weren’t doing at the time. When you don’t see anybody else in that era (using those techniques) you realize, installment loans franklin tn ‘Hey this guy created this.’”

While Allen has had acting experience in television, films and theater, Al “Lil” Fats” Jackson really hasn’t. A huge fan of Fats since very early childhood, the pianist and vocalist has an advantage in capturing his essence having built a career around performing Fats Domino’s music in the style of Fats Domino. Helpful too is that, as Jackson explains, Fats’ speech patterns and those of his family are just about the same.

“Fats’ roots are in Vacherie, Louisiana and so are mine,” he offers. “My great grandmother is from Vacherie. That almost Creole drawl is natural to me. I think that’s where my singing patterns come from too – I go back to my childhood.”

Jackson finds the most challenging aspect of doing a production of this kind compared to his regular gigs is that the he’s performing scripted material.

“On my live shows, when I lead my band, I never go from a song list. We just go,” he says with a laugh.

Domino’s first big hit, “The Fat Man,” was a kick-in for inclusion in the musical selections. It’s also Jackson’s very favorite.

“That’s because he taught me how to play it when I was 21,” Jackson, 41, remembers. “Oliver Morgan (of “Who Shot the La La” fame) brought me to see Fats. Oliver said for me to play something and suggested I do ‘The Fat Man.’ It’s a difficult tune – more of a barrel-house song than a rock ‘n roll song — but I played it. Fats said, ‘You almost got it, now let me show you.’ And he sat down and played it.”

To set the atmosphere in the Carver Theater, memorabilia like vintage photos, hand-written music, records and original reel-to-reel tapes will be on display. Each night there will be an “opening act” with a variety of artists like vocalist Robyn Barnes, vocalist/trumpeter James Andrews and other local favorites taking the stage before the arrival of “Fats” and “Dave.” “We plan to have someone different every night,” says Don Bartholomew.

“I think with my dad, he’s fine with it (the show),” says Don Bartholomew. “He sat down and talked to Lucky and he said, ‘Just don’t believe all that shit you read.’ He’s trusting us to get it right.”

Al “Lil Fats” Jackson hits it on the head when it comes to his and Allen’s challenges in portraying two of New Orleans’ greatest and most successful artists – Fats Domino and Dave Bartholomew. “We’re not playing unknowns,” he humbly acknowledges. “This is the cream of the crop and we have some serious shoes to fill.”

Jazz in the Park Is Back!

Autumn in New Orleans isn’t announced by the leaves changing color or a crispness in the air as experienced in more northern climes – we can only dream – but the start of the fall musical festival season. First up is Jazz in the Park, that celebrates the beginning of its eighth season on Thursday, September 3, 2015. The always high-energy, truly New Orleans vocalist Charmaine Neville performs at 5 p.m. in the lovely and friendly Louis Armstrong Park followed by pianist/vocalist – and though he’s from England, truly musically New Orleans – Jon Cleary and the Absolute Monster Gentlemen at 6 p.m. Check out the latest “monster,” the talented drummer and vocalist Jamison Ross, who’s been touring with the group recently. DJ Smoke-A-Lot aka Kermit Ruffins will warm things up beginning at 4 pm. The weekly series runs through October 29, 2016.

This article originally published in the August 31, 2015 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper. - The Louisiana Weekly


Still working on that hot first release.




Bartholomew Boyz is the hottest production team in New Orleans!!! This production team incorporates the musical talents of Don "DON B." Bartholomew Sr., Don "SUPA DEZZY" Bartholomew Jr. and Blake "Trakka Beats" Bartholomew.  BARTHOLOMEW BOYZ music production can be heard on the songs of many local, national and international artists songs.  BARTHOLOMEW BOYZ have worked with and recorded such talents as: Juvenile, Mystical, UTP, 6 Shot, Wacko, Skip, Hafree, Mr. Ivan, Reap Howard and many more...

Band Members