The Upful LIFE Podcast – 070: PAPA MALI [solo, 7 Walkers, Shantytown Underground,] + RIP Russell Batiste Jr.


Welcome the great guitarist/singer/songwriter/producer PAPA MALI! Based in NOLA for the past dozen years, Papa Mali is a certified rock n’ roll troubadour, having lived several musical lives in numerous locales across the past half-century. An artist for art’s sake and rad to the core, Malcolm is an old-school bluesman, reggae devotee, soul/R&B aficionado – he’s at home with funk, folk, and gutbucket piano joints too. The man is a living breathing chameleonic musicologist in our midst. A conversation brimming with detailed ruminations and colorful pointifications.

In addition to the Crescent City, Papa Mali reflects on nascent days soaking up culture in his Shreveport childhood, before wandering onward to Little Rock, Kingston Jamaica, Austin, and eventually New Orleans, with a plethora of potent points between. The lifelong soundtrack to these travels, trials, and tribulations is a terrifically-tasty gumbo on the transistor radio station.

Episode 070 starts with a short message from your host, a moment of reflection and prayer for peace. Followed by a brief tribute to the dearly departed NOLA drummer/icon RUSSELL BATISTE JR. Papa Mali begins our conversation with a lengthy, touching tribute to fallen friend and collaborator, an Austin legend, bassist BRAD HOUSER.

  • 3:15 – a word from our sponsor iamavl
  • 6:00 – a brief acknowledgement of current events
  • 9:30 – The Upful Update
  • 16:00 – Celebrating the life of Russell Batiste Jr.
  • 21:30 – Russell Batiste Jr. talks about Frenchy
  • 23:15 – introducing PAPA MALI 
  • 27:15 – INTERVIEW w/ Papa Mali (108 mins)
  • 2:15:30 – afterglow & Vibe Junkie JAM


Please check out our sponsor IAMAVL

Papa Mali interview topics include: Remembering Brad Houser, discovering/absorbing music as a kid, Howlin’ Wolf, Rolling Stones, Johnny Slim Campbell, a wide-eyed, shape-shifting 1977 sojourn to Kingston, Jamaica at the apex of political gangland warring, getting adopted by rastas in the bush, moving to Austin, acclaimed American reggae band Killer Bees, the death of co-founder Michael E. Johnson, coming back to reggae decades later with NOLA’s Shantytown Underground, the connection between reggae/rocksteady and New Orleans R&B/soul, meeting/dosing with Bill Kreutzman of the Grateful Dead at Oregon Country Fair, embarking on 7 Walkers with Billy, George Porter Jr., and Matt Hubbard, writing with Robert Hunter, moving to NOLA and creating Music Is Love album, Reverend Goat Carson, making two LPs with Dan Prothero and Fog City Records, Papa Mali the record producer, and more!


Vibe Junkie JAM 

“Flouride” Critters Buggin’ (1998)

ECHT! live mini-set 2023

Stanton Moore and Adam Deitch talk Russell Batiste Jr.


Please check out our sponsor IAMAVL




Listen on Spotify

Theme Song: “Mazel Tov”– CALVIN VALENTINE