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What's Going On

What's Going On by The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Released: Aug 2006
Label: Shout Factory Records
The strained voice of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin opens the album, pleading with the federal government to "Get off your ass and do something, and let's fix the biggest crisis in this country." Delivered while New Orleans was still underwater, the Mayor's words give way to the bluesy swell of horns that uneasily reconstruct the familiar melody of "What's Going On." But this version is dark and brooding, channeling the elegiac, Vietnam-era Marvin Gaye classic into bloodshot catharsis. The rest of the album, a song-for-song redux of Gaye's classic, is equally great.
Sam Chennault