Steadfast New Orleans musician Ernie Vincent releases new album … – NOLA.com

Ernie Vincent’s latest album, ‘Original Dap King,’ is now out.

Gambit staff writer
Ernie Vincent’s latest album, ‘Original Dap King,’ is now out.
Ernie Vincent has spent decades teaching other people how to play the songs he’s written. As a bandleader, the mainstay New Orleans guitarist and singer knows how to keep his band, The Top Notes, on track. So when the shoe was on the other foot and it was another musician teaching Vincent how to play a few new tunes, he enjoyed the experience.
“I said, ‘Man, I’m always teaching somebody else how to do a song that I write, and for the first time in my life, somebody is guiding me through a song.’ That’s the first time that’s happened to me,” Vincent says. “But I didn’t realize, it was easier than I thought.”
Those new songs are on Vincent’s new album, “Original Dap King,” which is now available on Alabama-based label Cornelius Chapel Records. The record title alludes to Vincent’s influential 1972 funk hit, “Dap Walk” — and to late soul singer Sharon Jones’ backing band, which found its name in the hit song, Vincent says.
Vincent recorded “Original Dap King” in spring 2021 at Dial Back Sound in Water Valley, Mississippi, with co-producers Bronson Tew and Matt Patton. It was Patton, who plays bass in the Southern rock band Drive-By Truckers, that showed Vincent how to play the songs he wrote for the new record.

Vincent, Patton and Squirrel Nut Zippers’ Jimbo Mathus contributed to the originals on the record, and there are versions of “Seven Sisters,” Dennis Binder’s “Early Times” and “Black” by metal band Neurosis. Mathus is bandleader on the album and plays piano, and along with drummer Tew and bassist Patton, “Original Dap King” features guitarist Taylor Hollingsworth, horn player Hank West, strings player Jamison Hollister and backing vocalist AJ Haynes, who performs with Seratones.
Vincent comfortably flies through a range of genres, from funk and brass-packed soul to blues, rock ’n’ roll and even a little psychedelia on the 10-song album. It’s reflective of his 50-plus year career playing stages in New Orleans and across Louisiana and beyond.
Vincent was born in the 1940s near Thibodaux, and the family moved to New Orleans when he was young. He picked up the guitar in his late teens and fell in with drummer Herlin Delpit.
“He asked me and said, ‘Ernie, you a guitar player?’ I said, ‘I’m learning.’ And he asked me how many songs I knew, and I said, ‘I know three songs: one Muddy Waters and two Jimmy Reeds. That’s all I know,’” Vincent recalls. “He said, ‘Shit, that’s plenty.’”
The first gig Vincent played was at a club called Shangri-La in Bridge City, but he was soon joining Delpit at juke joints across Acadiana and southeast Louisiana and into Mississippi, playing as Li’l Ernie and the Alpines. During that time, a Meridien, Mississippi, musician named Po’ Will taught Vincent how to play the blues — and appreciate moonshine.

After close to a year living in Mississippi, Vincent moved back to New Orleans and took classes through William Houston Sr.’s School of Music. He learned to read and write music, which helped Vincent and his new band, The Top Notes, land a lot of work playing balls and parties and backing acts like Mathilda Jones, Solomon Burke, Ernie K-Doe and many major rhythm and blues musicians coming through New Orleans. And Vincent hosted Sunday gigs — which often featured K-Doe — around town throughout the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s.
Vincent says he’s written more than 200 songs over the years, and his “Dap Walk” — a name inspired by the unique walk used by the bassist in Vincent’s band at the time — is a funk classic. “Original Dap King” showcases the experience and talents of a steadfast New Orleans musician.
“A lot of people don’t know much about me because I haven’t had a record out in a while,” Vincent has said in the past. “I’ve always been the kind of guy who likes to work in the background supporting others rather than drawing attention to myself.”
Find “Original Dap King” on streaming platforms and at corneliuschapelrecords.com.
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Email Jake Clapp at jclapp@gambitweekly.com

Sam Morril left Tulane University twice.
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