Jun 20, 2015

RhoDeo 1524 Grooves


Today you'll get a never-ending stream of notes that make you feel unworried and thirsty for thew 5th and last time, not that the well has dried our man released no less then 50 albums in his long career but let's face it it's time to move on, meanwhile i finish with more highlights from the Night trippers career. ... N'joy

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Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States, Dr. John's Acadian ancestry traces back to the imperial territory of Alsace-Lorraine. He claims that his lineage took root in New Orleans sometime in the early 1800s. Growing up in the Third Ward, he found early musical inspiration in the minstrel tunes sung by his grandfather and a number of aunts, uncles, sister and cousins who played piano. He did not take music lessons before his teens, and only endured a short stint in choir before getting kicked out. His father, the owner of an appliance store and record shop, exposed him as a young boy to prominent jazz musicians like King Oliver and Louis Armstrong, who inspired his 2014 release, Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch. Throughout his adolescence his father's connections enabled him access to the recording rooms of burgeoning rock artists such as Little Richard and Guitar Slim. From these exposures he advanced into clubs and onto the stage with varying local artists, most notably, Professor Longhair.

When he was about 13 or 14 years old, Rebennack met Professor Longhair, which started a period in his life that would mark rapid growth as a musician and the beginnings of his entry into professional music. He describes his initial impression of Professor Longhair with note, not only of his musical prowess, but of his style: "I was also fascinated that he was sitting out there in a turtleneck shirt with a beautiful gold chain with a watch hangin' on it, and an Army fatigue cap on his head.

Although he didn't become widely known until the 1970s, Dr. John had been active in the music industry since the late '50s, when the teenager was still known as Mac Rebennack. A formidable boogie and blues pianist with a lovable growl of a voice, his most enduring achievements fused with New Orleans R&B, rock, and Mardi Gras craziness to come up with his own brand of "voodoo" music. He's also quite accomplished and enjoyable when sticking to purely traditional forms of blues and R&B. On record, he veers between the two approaches, making for an inconsistent and frequently frustrating legacy that often makes the listener feel as if "the Night Tripper" (as he's nicknamed himself) has been underachieving.

In the late '50s, Rebennack gained prominence in the New Orleans R&B scene as a session keyboardist and guitarist, contributing to records by Professor Longhair, Frankie Ford, and Joe Tex. He also recorded some overlooked singles of his own, and by the '60s had expanded into production and arranging. After a gun accident damaged his hand in the early '60s, he gave up the guitar to concentrate exclusively on keyboards. Skirting trouble with the law and drugs, he left the increasingly unwelcome environs of New Orleans in the mid-'60s for Los Angeles, where he found session work with the help of fellow New Orleans expatriate Harold Battiste. Rebennack renamed himself Dr. John, the Night Tripper when he recorded his first album, Gris-Gris. According to legend, this was hurriedly cut with leftover studio time from a Sonny & Cher session, but it never sounded hastily conceived. In fact, its mix of New Orleans R&B with voodoo sounds and a tinge of psychedelia was downright enthralling, and may have resulted in his greatest album.

He began building an underground following with both his music and his eccentric stage presence, which found him conducting ceremonial-type events in full Mardi Gras costume. Dr. John was nothing if not eclectic, and his next few albums were granted mixed critical receptions because of their unevenness and occasional excess. They certainly had their share of admirable moments, though, and Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger helped out on The Sun, Moon & Herbs in 1971. The following year's Gumbo, produced by Jerry Wexler, proved Dr. John was a master of traditional New Orleans R&B styles, in the mold of one of his heroes, Professor Longhair. In 1973, he got his sole big hit, "In the Right Place," which was produced by Allen Toussaint, with backing by the Meters. In the same year, he also recorded with Mike Bloomfield and John Hammond, Jr. for the Triumvirate album.

The rest of the decade, unfortunately, was pretty much a waste musically. Dr. John could always count on returning to traditional styles for a good critical reception, and he did so constantly in the '80s. There were solo piano albums, sessions with Chris Barber and Jimmy Witherspoon, and In a Sentimental Mood (1989), a record of pop standards. These didn't sell all that well, though. A more important problem was that he was capable of much more than recastings of old styles and material. In fact, by this time he was usually bringing in the bacon not through his own music, but via vocals for numerous commercial jingles. It continued pretty much in the same vein throughout the '90s: New Orleans super sessions for the Bluesiana albums, another outing with Chris Barber, an album of New Orleans standards, and another album of pop standards.

In 1994, Television did at least offer some original material. At this point he began to rely more upon cover versions for the bulk of his recorded work, though his interpretive skills will always ensure that these are more interesting than most such efforts. His autobiography, Under a Hoodoo Moon, was published by St. Martin's Press in 1994, and in 1998 he resurfaced with Anutha Zone, which featured collaborations with latter-day performers including Spiritualized, Paul Weller, Supergrass, and Ocean Colour Scene. Duke Elegant followed in early 2000. Additional albums for Blue Note followed in 2001 (Creole Moon) and 2004 (N'Awlinz: Dis Dat or d'Udda). Sippiana Hericane, a four-song EP celebrating his beloved hometown of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, arrived in November of 2005. Mercernary, an album of covers of songs made famous by Johnny Mercer, appeared on Blue Note in 2006. City That Care Forgot followed in 2008. The Night Tripper persona was revived for 2010's Tribal, which featured guest spots from Derek Trucks, Allen Toussaint, Donald Harrison, and the late Bobby Charles. Dr. John also contributed to French electronic artist FĂ©loche's international hit single "Gris Gris John" the same year. He teamed up with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach to produce and record Locked Down. It was issued in the spring of 2012. Two years later, he released the third album in his tribute series, a collection of songs by and associated with Louis Armstrong entitled Ske-Dat-De-Dat: Spirit of Satch. It featured guest appearances from Bonnie Raitt, Ledisi, and the McCrary Sisters, and Blind Boys of Alabama, and appeared in August of 2014.

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Having cut an album of standards on his first Warner Brothers album, In a Sentimental Mood (1989), Dr. John turned for its follow-up to a collection of New Orleans standards. On an album he described in the liner notes as "a little history of New Orleans music," Dr. John returned to his hometown and set up shop at local Ultrasonic Studios, inviting in such local musicians as Pete Fountain, Al Hirt, and the Neville Brothers and addressing the music and styles of such local legends as Jelly Roll Morton, Huey "Piano" Smith, Fats Domino, James Booker, and Professor Longhair. The geography may have been circumscribed, but the stylistic range was extensive, from jazz and blues to folk and rock. And it was all played with festive conviction -- Dr. John is the perfect archivist for the music, being one of its primary proponents, yet he had never addressed it quite as directly as he did here.

Dr. John - Going Back To New Orleans  (flac  401mb)

01 Litanie Des Saints 4:44
02 Careless Love 4:10
03 My Indian Red 4:47
04 Milneburg Joys 2:39
05 I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say 2:29
06 Basin Street Blues 4:27
07 Didn't He Ramble 3:28
08 Do You Call That A Buddy? 3:54
09 How Come My Dog Don't Bark When You Come 'Round 4:09
10 Good Night, Irene 4:11
11 Fess Up 3:12
12 Since I Fell For You 3:32
13 I'll Be Glad When You're Dead, You Rascal You 3:25
14 Cabbage Head 3:59
15 Goin' Home Tomorrow 3:01
16 Blue Monday 3:01
17 Scald Dog 2:58
18 Goin' Back To New Orleans 4:08

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Playing in front of an invited studio audience, Dr. John is featured with a full-scale jazz ensemble on this 1991 session Funky New Orleans. Alto saxophonist Donald Harrison Jr. is the leader of the date, which allows Dr. John to concentrate not only on piano and vocals but also his guitar playing. A hand full of Mac Rebennack and Harrison originals are mixed with the dirty blues of "Shave em Dry" and a nod to Professor Longhair and Earl King on "Big Chief." Also, two instrumental straight-ahead jazz pieces are explored on "Hu-Ta-Nay" and "Walkin Home." This really isn't a Dr. John recording as much as an honest portrayal of these (mainly) New Orleans musicians in an extremely loose and funky setting. Recommended and available on the budget Metro label.

Dr. John with the Donald Harrison Band - Funky New Orleans (live) (flac 351mb)

01 Hu-Ta-Nay 6:17
02 Big Chief 5:17
03 Shave 'Em Dry 5:17
04 Ja-Ki-Mo-Fi-Na-Hay 6:52
05 Mamzelle Zizi 5:43
06 Livin' On Borrowed Time 9:18
07 You Ain't So Such A Much 6:36
08 Hu-Ta-Nay 9:16
09 Walkin' Home 2:23

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N'Awlinz: Dis Dat or d'Udda is a very good record, but it could have been a great one. One has to wonder if the idea of having all these high-profile guest vocalists was Dr. John's, Blue Note's, or producer Stewart Levine's, in order to follow the 21st century trendiness of having "celebrity" guests on a session. This is Mac Rebennack's homeboy album, a tribute to his city and its players. He's recorded some in New Orleans, to be sure, but never has he been able to make use of the Crescent City's greatest arranger, Wardell Quezergue, to such an extent. In addition, the great Doctor was able to enlist Earl Palmer, Smokey Johnson, Nicholas Payton, Dave Bartholemew, Eddie Bo, Walter Wolfman Washington, Snooks Eaglin, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Alfred "Uganda" Roberts, Willie Tee, and a huge slew of players to help him out on canonical N.O. repertoire. The sheer number of percussionists on this set is staggering and welcome. On nuggets like "When the Saints Go Marching In," sung funeral style, the Davell Crawford Singers and the Quezergue horns kick it with the rhythm section and front line. "St. James Infirmary" has Bo second-lining the band as he duets with Mac. The Cousin Joe (Pleasant Joseph) tunes like "Life's a One Way Ticket," Bartholomew's "The Monkey," and Mac's own brilliant "Shango Tango" smolder with that strutting, finger-poppin' R&B. So what's the problem? The lame, completely lifeless vocals of Randy Newman, a track with B.B. King and Willie Nelson, and Nelson on his own on three tracks that will remain nameless mar something so beautifully done that it otherwise might have been one of the finest New Orleans records since the early '60s. There are other guest vocalists who bring home the bacon on duets with Dr. John -- Mavis Staples on "Lay My Burden Down," Cyril Neville on the amazing read of Robert Gurley's "Marie Laveau," and Rebbenack's closer, "I'm Goin" Home," are stellar. And King even rises to the occasion on his duet with Mac on "Hen Layin' Rooster." Dr. John is in amazing voice here, his piano playing is knife-edge tough and funky, and his performances are so inspired that they are perhaps career-defining. Three out of 18 cuts is minuscule after all, and the rest of this set is so badass that it should be purchased regardless. After all, what is the remote control for? It's a contender to be sure, but it could have been a champion.

Dr. John - N'Awlinz Dis, Dat or D'udda (flac 458mb)

01 Quatre Parishe 2:14
02 When The Saints Go Marching In 4:52
03 Lay My Burden Down 4:32
04 Marie Laveau 6:49
05 Dear Old Southland 2:41
06 Dis, Dat Or D'Udda 4:20
07 Chickee Le Pas 4:02
08 The Monkey 3:49
09 Shango Tango 1:27
10 I Ate Up The Apple Tree 3:34
11 You Ain't Such A Much 3:11
12 Life Is A One Way Ticket 4:25
13 Hen Layin' Rooster 3:35
14 Stakalee 4:34
15 En Las Bas 2:35
16 St. James Infrimary 4:40
17 Time Marches On 4:19
18 I'm Going Home 2:21

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Anonymous said...

Hello Rho, can you stick the Dr John up again. Cheers, Larry

Anonymous said...

Has this been reposted?

Anonymous said...

hi Rho, thank for that. there's a problem with the N'Awlinz Dis, Dat or D'udda link? Larry