Cocaine boogie: James Booker, the tragic piano genius of New Orleans – by Sean O’Hagan

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Photo of James BOOKER

It was the legendary Louisiana musician Dr John who memorably described James Booker as "the best black, gay, one-eyed junkie piano genius New Orleans has ever produced". Though Booker – who died from hard living in 1983 at the age of 43 – would have undoubtedly approved of the description, it does diminish his musical stature somewhat, while only hinting at his flamboyance and talent for self-destruction.

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