Archive for the Dr. JOHN Category

Dr. JOHN And The Lower 911 – Tribal 2010

Posted in BLUES, Dr. JOHN on December 23, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dr. JOHN And The Lower 911 – Tribal 2010


To become a genre unto oneself must be the supreme dream of any artist, and it was one realised by venerable New Orleans rhythm & blues institution Dr John decades ago. He is therefore familiar with the other edge of this particular Excalibur: that it makes it next to impossible to surprise your audience, at least short of doing something plain silly, like appearing on stage dressed as a panda, or collaborating with Sting. It is therefore both a compliment and an expression of sympathy to note that, at this point, it is barely necessary to listen to a Dr John song entitled Feel Good Music, as the opening track of this album is: you already know, down to the last exquisite swell of piano and languidly drawled vocal, exactly what it is going to sound like.

And indeed it does, as indeed does much of Tribal – this is very much Dr John doing what Dr John does. Which is no problem in itself, but the really good news is that the peaks of Tribal stand serious comparison with the albums on which his reputation was founded (specifically, his 1968 debut, Gris Gris, and his 1972 New Orleans anthology, Dr John’s Gumbo).

When I’m Right (I’m Wrong), Whut’s Wit Dat and Change of Heart are signature Dr John: big-hearted, sinewy funk, garlanded by one of those blessed voices which seems to find greater depth and range with age (bearing down on 70, Dr John has never sung better than on Tribal, and never more so than on the beautiful string-drenched ballad Lissen at Our Prayer).

There is a lot to take in here – Tribal contains 16 deeply detailed, fidgety tracks ­– but it’s never hard work. It’s a warm, gently funny album – Them suggests Van Morrison with a sense of humour, and Only in America has a whiff of the waspish wit of Randy Newman.
By Andrew Muller.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Dr. John made his bones (at least with the national audience) with a spooky, swampy blues / psychedelia / R&B / funk / pop / rock / jazz-influenced musical gumbo that included the originals “Right Place, Wrong Time,” “Mardi Gras Day,” “I Walk on Guilded Splinters,” “Such A Night” as well as covers of “Iko Iko,” “Big Chief” and “Tipitina.” Though Dr. John has never changed his approach or his sound, Tribal (to some) can be considered a return to his roots.

On this disc, Dr. John continues doing what he does best—playing his own hybrid brand of New Orleans “fonk” (as he pronounces the word). As such, Tribal is a worthy addition to his musical canon. It has been said that on the album, Dr. John makes a complete return to his Night Tripper persona (though in the eyes of many he never left—he just kept it lurking the surface). Along with his crack band, The Lower 911—bassist David Barard, guitarist John Fohl, percussionist Kenneth “Afro” Williams and drummer (and co-producer) Herman “Roscoe” Ernest III—Dr. John has crafted a CD that evokes his earlier work in sound, feel and, in many cases, social commentary.

After Hurricane Katrina, Dr. John released the Sippiana Herricane EP (Parlophone, 2005), which grieved for the city of his birth and took the government to task for its lack of action. In 2008, he released City That Care Forgot (429 Records), on which he directed his considerable anger at the White House, the mayor and police force of New Orleans, insurance companies, crooked, thieving contractors/roofers and everyone else who was making money off the Katrina disaster. Though Tribal settles into a more classic New Orleans groove, Dr. John, though nearing 70, does not and will not fade softly into that good night. The songs recall his earlier work while remaining accessible, relevant and political.

The Doctor, whose gravely voice sounds like it was drenched in a bottle of expensive cognac, growls his way through the album’s 14 tracks while the band lays down a rhythmic New Orleans soul and R&B groove behind his funky piano rolls and licks.

This is a very New Orleans-centric CD, both in musical scope and with regard to guest appearances. Political statements (environmental, economic and social issues) abound on the title track (co-written by the late Bobby Charles, the composer/singer of “See You Later Alligator”), which features Mardi Gras Indian chants with a funky blues backbeat, “Only In Amerika” with its Latin rhythms and protest lyrics, the bluesy “Lissen At Our Prayer” (arranged by Wardell Quezergue), which laments the state of the world, and the soul / gospel of “Big Gap” (co-written with Allen Toussaint), which is about the state and inequality of the people’s income levels. The disc also features “Them” (co-written by Toussaint), and the jazzy “Music Came” (co-written by Harold Battiste and featuring vocals by Barard), as well as two other tracks on which Charles collaborated (“Change Of Heart” and “Potnah”). “Jinky Jinx” is a track that sounds as if it could have been recorded in the late 1960s—it’s funky, part African and part American-Indian, with Creole influences mixed in, and featuring equally exotic voodoo rhythms and lyrics.

“Manoovas” (the disc’s hardest rocking track which also features the slide guitar fretwork of Derek Trucks), sounds as though it was recorded back in the day. The opener, “Feel Good Music,” and “Whut’s Wit Dat?” feature the patented Dr. John groove that makes the listener want to jump up and dance.

As with any Dr. John release, the music is upbeat, funky, chunky, moody, spiritual, oozing with a voodoo vibe. In some cases the music as well as lyrics on this disc is angry, dark and moody. In short, it is a classic post-Katrina Dr. John album on which he has resurrected the Night Tripper persona and seamlessly woven him into the fabric of the music.
By Mike Perciaccante.
Dr. John- Organ, Piano, Vocals;
Herman V. Ernest III- Percussion, Drums, Vocals;
John Fohl- Guitar, Vocals;
Kenneth “Afro” Williams- Percussion, Vocals;
David Barard- Bass, Vocals;
Derek Trucks- Guitar;
Charlie Miller- Trumpet;
Marcel Richardson- Organ, Piano;
Harry Hardin, Natalia Casante- Violin;
Helen Gillet- Cello;
Lauren Lemmler- Viola;
Donald Harrison, Alonzo Bowens, Carl Blouin- Sax;
Erica Falls, Elaine Foster, Lisa Foster- Vocals;
Charla Herman, Lulu Siker- Chant.
01. Feel Good Music (3:22)
02. Lissen At Our Prayer (4:00)
03. Big Gap (4:32)
04. When I’m Right (I’m Wrong) (4:13)
05. Jinky Jinx (3:23)
06. Change Of Heart (3:40)
07. Sleepin’ In My Bed (5:35)
08. Whut’s Wit Dat (4:20)
09. Tribal (6:51)
10. Them (3:17)
11. Only In Amerika (3:08)
12. Potnah (4:17)
13. Music Came (4:06)
14. Manoovas (4:09)
15. Seroungin’ (2:36)
16. A Place In The Sun (4:19)
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Dr.JOHN – Medical School, The Early Sessions Of Mac 1999

Posted in BLUES, Dr. JOHN on December 22, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dr.JOHN – Medical School, The Early Sessions Of Mac 1999


Dr. John’s early work as a producer, sessionman, and songwriter for Ace Records is legendary, not only among fans of Mac Rebennack but among devotees of New Orleans R&B. Unfortunately, there was no easy way to hear this material until Music Club’s 1999 release, Medical School: The Early Sessions of Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack. Clocking in at 18 tracks, the disc isn’t complete, but it is definitive — all the best-known cuts are here, along with a generous selection of little-known gems. To anyone but scholars and aficionados, most of the names on the compilation will not be familiar (The Ends, Al Reed, Ronnie & the Delinquents, Sugar Boy Crawford, Bobby Hebb, among others), and many of these cuts have never been well-circulated, or even released, but that’s what makes the compilation so special. Not only are these lost classics from Dr. John, but these are lost gems from the prime period of New Orleans R&B. And this is not hyperbole — listening to Medical School, it’s hard not to escape the feeling that almost every song is a hit you’ve never heard or have forgotten about. The instrumentals are not weak, the novelties (such as “Morgus the Magnificent”) are fun, and cuts like “It Ain’t No Use,” “Bad Neighborhood,” “You Don’t Leave Me No Choice,” and “Keeps Dragging Me On” are simply fantastic, sounding for all the world like classics, not throwaways. And that’s the reason why Medical School isn’t simply a necessary addition to Dr. John’s catalog — it’s an essential addition to any New Orleans R&B library.
By Stephen Thomas Erlewine, AMG.
The story goes like this. Before he was Dr. John the Night Tripper he was Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr. – a Third Ward kid growing up in the rich musical climate of New Orleans. His life revolved around music from the beginning: he had several aunts and uncles who played boogie woogie piano at home, and his father owned a record store, serviced juke boxes and repaired sound systems in local clubs. Young Mac loved to accompany his father on these calls — he would sit outside and absorb the R&B music for hours. At the age of seven he started guitar lessons from Fats Domino’s guitarist, and there was no turning back. When Mac was a teenager he picked up some session work at Cosimo Matassa’s studio, dropped out of high school and in 1957 joined the Ace staff full time as a producer, songwriter and musician. These Ace years were ITALICS Medical School END ITALICS for the gris-gris doctor, where he honed his songwriting skills and learned how to make records. Rebennack had a hand in each of the 18 cuts presented here, whether as songwriter, musician or producer. His vocals are discernible on one track only, “Row Row My Boat” – but it is a very cool track, indeed. They are all cool – who can’t dig the New Orleans funkified R&B? I have to agree with the man at Louie’s Juke Joint on Decatur Steet who recommended this album to me: “It is essential.” Highlights: Rebennack’s Bo Diddley rhythm on “Storm Warning,” Chuck Carbo’s smooth vocals on “You Don’t Leave Me No Choice,” The End’s “It Ain’t No Use,” “Bad Neighborhood” by Ronnie & The Delinquents, “Morgus the Magnificent” by Morgus & the Three Ghouls (only in New Orleans!), “Down the Road” by Roland Stone.
By Kathryn D. Hobgood.
**Jimmy Donley, Mac Rebennack, Bobby Hebb, Chuck Carbo, Ronnie & the Delinquents,Al Reed, Roland Stone, Big Boy Myles, Sugar Boy Crawford.**
01. Storm Warning 3:15
02. It Ain’t No Use  1:53
03. Bad Neighborhood 1:44
04. Sahara 2:18
05. Two Time Loser 2:16
06. I Cried 2:07
07. Down the Road 2:28
08. Feedbag 2:24
09. You Don’t Leave Me No Choice 2:44
10. Morgus the Magnificent 2:23
11. Lonely Boy  2:25
12. Keeps Dragging Me On 2:28
13. Feels So Good (Just Like I Should) 2:02
14. Row Row Row Your Boat  2:17
15. Remember Me 2:16
16. Good Times 2:35
17. She Wants to Be True 2:29
18. Bordertown 2:34
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Dr. JOHN – The Best Of The Parlophone Years 2005

Posted in BLUES, Dr. JOHN on December 12, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dr. JOHN – The Best Of The Parlophone Years 2005


This set draws from the four albums Dr. John recorded for the British Parlophone label from 1997 to 2004 (released in the United States on Blue Note and Virgin). In the several decades since his popular emergence as the Night Tripper he’s become one of the respected elders of New Orleans music. These seventeen songs show him to be drawing from deep Crescent City traditions, as well as R&B, jazz, swing, balladry. The set also showcases his work with a range of notable guests (from Paul Weller to randy Newman to Mavis Staples). These collaborators never overshadow the good Doctor, rather, they show how broad their shared influences are, as well as what a formidable shadow he casts across the music that’s followed him.
By David Greenberger.
On this album different songs from the good doctor’s other albums come together. This is a great album for people interested in hearing what Dr. John is all about. Hen Layin Rooster is a personal favorite because it brings two old school cats together (Dr. John & B.B. King). If you want to take an adventure with the voodoo king from New Orleans…buy this album. You won’t regret it.
By Matt Morrison.
This fine compilation brings together highlights from Dr. John’s Parlophone tenure, covering four albums recorded between 1998 and 2004. Selections from the records are distributed fairly evenly across THE BEST OF’s 17 tracks, and display Dr. John’s lovable growl, honky-tonk funk, and bluesy, New Orleans gumbo approach. On top of that, THE BEST OF features cameos by everyone from Mavis Staples to Paul Weller.

Among Dr. John’s many talents are his penchant for dabbling in different projects and styles, and his excellent taste in collaborators. ANUTHA ZONE is a record Dr. John cut in London with a host of young admirers (most of them rock musicians), including members of Supergrass, Spiritualized, Ocean Colour Scene, and the Beta Band. DUKE ELEGANT is a tribute album to Duke Ellington, while CREOLE MOON is a funk-based collaboration with James Brown band lynchpin Fred Wesley. N’AWLINZ: DIS DAT OR D’UDDA featured another all-star roster, including Willie Nelson, B.B. King, and Randy Newman (who performs on the excellent “I Ate Up the Apple Tree” here). The diverse directions on these albums come together surprisingly well here, unified expertly by the dynamic performances of Dr. John and company, and the fine sequencing of the collection.
Since signing to Parlophone 1997, Dr John has released four great albums – all very different, but all in the distinctive and inimitable style of the music industry’s favourite physician. From ‘Anutha Zone’ in 1998 with a host of guest collaborations, through the Duke Ellington Centenary celebration ‘Duke Elegant’ in 1999, to his personal interpretation of New Orleans in 2001 with ‘Creole Moon’, and last year’s star-studded ‘N’Awlinz – Dis, Dat Or D’Udda’, Dr John has produced a wealth of latter-day musicality for the label. Parlophone is proud to release a veritable gumbo from ‘The Night Tripper’ – the best tracks from this productive eight year period with ‘The Best Of The Parlophone Years’, including the good Doctor’s own sleevenotes commenting on each of the four albums from which the tracks are taken. As well as Dr John’s unmistakeable vocals and keyboard along with his regular band, featured artists include BB King, Paul Weller, Joolz Holland, Randy Newman, Mavis Staples and Gaz Coombes/Mick Quinn (Supergrass), J.Spaceman a/k/a Jason Pierce (Spiritualized) amongst others. As a bonus to his loyal fans, the album also features two bonus tracks – the previously unissued ‘Careless Love’ from the 2004 N’Awlinz – ‘Dis, Dat Or D’Udda sessions’ and ‘Look Out’ – only previously available as a bonus track on the Japanese version of ‘Anutha Zone’.
Perhaps Dr John said it best himself in the liner notes of this CD:
“I was just trying to do what is typical of the New Orleans tradition of doin’ something different with the music at hand…”
Indeed, Dr. John is different. There’s no denying it.
Over the course of his career, he’s always cooked up a funky musical gumbo for us to sample, that mouthwatering blend of R&B, psychedelic swamp rock, and blues. Why should The Best of the Parlophone Years be any different? It works for him.
Maybe one of the reasons I like Dr John so much is because he likes to mix it up and add his signature touch to classic tunes like “It Don’t Mean a Thing” – the song takes on a whole new flavor once he’s done with it. If you didn’t know any other version, you’d still recognize it as a song that’s been stretched and kneaded into something Duke Ellington likely never envisioned it being. Definitely not in the gravelly drawl that is distinctively Dr. John.
I particularly enjoyed “Hen Layin’ Rooster” – a great collaboration with B.B. King and Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, “I Don’t Wanna Know”, “Look Out”, and “Sweet Home New Orleans” – a fairly upbeat love song to Dr. John’s hometown.
In addition to Gatemouth and B.B., look for guest appearances from Randy Newman, Jools Holland, Paul Weller, and Bobby Broom as they give the piano master a hand with some down home voodoo blues.
Dr. John may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but I like him and I like The Best of the Parlophone Years.
By Joan Hunt.
01. Zonata 0:46
02. I Like Ki Yoka 3:43
03. It Don’t Mean A Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing) 5:32
04. Voices In My Head 4:36
05. Marie Laveau 6:51
06. Party Hellfire 4:43
07. Now That You Got Me 3:31
08. Hen Layin’ Rooster 3:36
09. I Ate Up The Apple Tree 3:35
10. I’m Gonna Go Fishin 5:05
11. Hello God 4:39
12. Food For Thot 4:59
13. I Don’t Wanna Know 3:25
14. Lay My Burden Down 4:33
15. Sweet Home New Orleans 5:50
16. Careless Love 4:18
17. Look Out 3:40

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Michael BLOOMFIELD, John HAMMOND & Dr.JOHN – Trumvirate 1973

Posted in BLUES, Dr. JOHN, John HAMMOND, Michael BLOOMFIELD on December 11, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Michael BLOOMFIELD, John HAMMOND & Dr.JOHN – Trumvirate 1973
COL 473696 2


It is a laid-back display of the genius of three very different bluesmen who have made a superb album in which not one of them tries to steal the show and in which all contribute their particular skill to form a magnificent whole.
True, you won’t find a firework display of Bloomfield guitar playing, but you will hear Bloomfield’s guitar in its place, as you will Dr. John’s piano and swampy rhythms, and John Hammond’s smoky voice and blues delivery. It’s a weird and wonderful three-way crossroads where Lousiana meets Chicago meets East Coast.
The material is excellent and track selection is sensitive, with each artist getting at least one showcase item: e.g. Dr. John (Sho Bout to Drive Me Wild); Bloomfield (Rock Me Baby), John Hammond just about everywhere since he does the vocals…
Add to this the fact that it is a superior production, beautifully recorded in LA and San Francisco
By David Essel.
These guys may or may not have gotten together in a cynical attempt to create a roots music supergroup, but their sole album is in fact a lot better than its lack of commercial success might suggest. Each member has a signature specialty–Hammond’s in country blues, Bloomfield’s at the more modern Chicago variety, with Dr. John the epitome of New Orleans second-line R&B piano–and the material is split accordingly.

Hammond, however, is the designated frontman and he’s up to the task, although Dr. John’s evocatively gruff vocals are missed. Among the highpoints are a sensitive reading of the blues classic “It Hurts Me Too,” with terrific horn charts and strong soloing by Bloomfield, and a spooky version of John Lee Hooker’s “Groundhog Blues,” which has the distinction of being the one song here where all three styles are convincingly meshed.
From cduniverse.
The year was 1973, an era when super groups were the vogue a la Blind Faith. The idea was to take a piano player whose style was New Orleans Cajun- Dr. John, a guitar icon with roots in Chicago Blues – Mike Bloomfield and a vocalist who reverently performed delta blues classics – John Hammond. It could have worked and made a huge impact on the music of the day and brought more people to the way of the blues – it didn’t. Instead it was a blip in all of these great musicians careers – few people took note of it then or now.
While none of the artists on the album seem to be spotlighted to show the degree of talent that they possessed, it is an interesting cd with some good numbers on it. Such numbers as Cha dooky-doo and I yi yi seem silly and dated – others as Sho Bout to Drive me Wild, It Hurts Me Too and Rock Me Baby are noteworthy and a good listen.

All in all, the cd is worth the price, especially for fans of Dr. John, Mike Bloomfield or John Hammond. For those not familiar with their work or blues in general another cd would be a better choice.
By booknblueslady.
Well this may be a misleading “triumvirate”, as one may assume this is another of those Supersessions where Mike Bloomfield flashy guitar playing had a leading role, often in long Jams that would bring out the best of him; that’s not the case here! Neither should one expect typically front mixed Dr.John piano nor Hammond’s acoustic and harp defining sound! Sure there are traits of each one of them here, but buried in a group effort where no one seems to want to step on the other’s toes; a successful formula on paper, that had not the expected practical results;
This is a collection of short Blues based tracks, Boogie Woogie; R&Blues, Chicago or Delta blues standards, correctly arranged and played but lacking the excitement to raise them above the average; heavy on John Hammond lead vocals, horns arrangements and Female backing vocals, there’s little space for improvisation;

Bloomfield sole solo parts happen on the lively Chicago Blues “Rock me Baby”, where they alternate with the verses ; otherwise, his is just an embellishment role, with bottlenecks on the slow blues “Last Night” or on the Delta “Ground Hog”, some blistering lead fills , on the Funky “Sho’Bout to Drive me Wild”, riffs and rhythm slashes on the James Brown reminiscent one chord groove of “Baby let me Kiss you”, or clean sounding on top of mellow horns, on the lazy modulated blues chances of “It Hurts me too”;
Nice bouts of rolling piano can be heard on “Cha-Dooky-Doo” or “Last Night”, and Dr.John switches to a barrel-house vibe on “2 Yi Yi”, while Hammond’s harp twists around the vocal (pairing with the guitar), on “Last Night” or on the Muddy Waters reminiscent groove of “Just to be with You”!
All in all, a decent work no one will be ashamed of owning, and a document of a one time gathering, but also a record one can easily live without!
By Comus Duke.
Dr. John- Organ, Banjo, Guitar, Percussion, Vocals, Keyboards, Piano
John F. Hammond- Guitar, Harmonica, Vocals
Blue Mitchell- Trumpet, Horn
Michael Bloomfield- Guitar, Keyboards, Vocals
Robbie Montgomery- Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Jessica Smith- Vocals, Vocals (Background)
Jessie Smith- Vocals (Background)
Thomas Jefferson Kaye- Guitar, Vocals, Producer, Vocals (Background)
Jim Gordon- Baritone Sax
George Bohannon- Trombone
James Beck Gordon- Baritone Sax
Jerry Jumonville- Alto Saprano and Tenor Sax
Benny Parks- Percussion
John Boudreaux- Percussion
Lorraine Rebennack- Bass, Vocals (Background)
Chris Ethridge- Bass
Fred Staehle- Drums
01. Cha-Dooky-Doo 3:40
02. Last Night 2:52
03. I Yi Yi 3:40
04. Just To Be With You 4:08
05. Baby Let Me Kiss You 3:00
06. Sho Bout To Drive Me Wild 3:29
07. It Hurts Me Too 3:45
08. Rock Me Baby 3:37
09. Ground Hog Blues 3:29
10. Pretty Thing 4:38

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Dr. JOHN and The Lower 911 – City That Care Forgot 2008

Posted in BLUES, Dr. JOHN on December 7, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dr. JOHN and The Lower 911 – City That Care Forgot 2008


“Life is a near death experience
Hell is right here on this great big Earth
It could be a little taste of heaven
If we only knew our worth
All we got to do is want it bad enough
To push ourself through
We always underestimate ourselves
We do every day we can always do better
In each and every way
If we don’t believe in ourselves
Nobody’s gonna do it
If we don’t push ourselves
We’ll never make it through it…”
The City That Care Forgot follows Dr. John’s (aka Mac Rebennack’s) brilliant 2006 Mercernary set based on Johnny Mercer tunes. Given that this recording, like 2005’s emergency benefit EP Sippiana Hericane, is rather political in nature, one can assume it’s an entirely different animal than Mercernary…but is it? Since the good Doc has his fantastic Lower 911 band in tow (they played on both of the previous outings), we can count on some deeply funky, New Orleans second-line R&B, blues, and jazz grooves, despite the socially conscious nature of the lyrics. The set was recorded in Maurice, LA, and produced by Mac and Herman Roscoe Ernest. There is a load of “name” guests here, which is a mixed blessing in at least one case. Eric Clapton makes his second sideman appearance this year — the first was on Steve Winwood’s brilliant Nine Lives — playing excellent spooky blues guitar on three tracks here: the title (with Ani DiFranco on backing vocals and guitar), the strutting R&B whomp of “Time for a Change,” (an exhortation to vote), and the deep, driven funk of “Stripped Away.” (Perhaps he should quit making his own records and take up the sideman gig permanently, because these appearances are stellar.) In addition, Terence Blanchard makes a pair of appearances on the voodoo stroll of “We Gettin’ There,” and the popping backline, jazzy funk of “Land Grab.” So far, so good: but why is Willie Nelson here? His duet vocal on “Promises, Promises” — not the Burt Bacharach tune — drags this uptempo, swaggering Mardi Gras rhythm track into the suburbs. It’s lifeless. Terrance Simien makes a fine appearance on the album closer “Save Our Wetlands,” and the badass horns of James “12” Andrews and Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews make “My People Need a Second Line” an authentic example. It should also be noted that the great Bobby Charles co-wrote five tunes with Mac, and authored “Promises, Promises” all by his lonesome. The man is killing it as a writer — if only he’d record more!

The vibe on this record dances all over the map. It’s very consistent with that one exception. The music gets all dark, moody, and hoodoo in places, à la the sinister tracks on 1998’s Anutha Zone, or his Atlantic recording period. In the cuts “Dream Warrior” and the title track, the anger expressed may result in a real life hex. Elsewhere, the Doc and Lower 911 offer more upbeat musical reflections that walk the razor’s fine line between rage and hope, as on “You Might Be Surprised” (with its gorgeous strings and honky tonk piano), the mucky horn and clavinet funk that drives “Say Whut?,” and the jazzy R&B of the opener “Keep on Goin’.” “Save Our Wetlands” and “My People Need a Second Line” carry hope, and there’s a strident “never surrender” message in what is some of the most joyous music imaginable. The character of New Orleans cultural — and particularly musical — heritage is everywhere present on this disc, and its personnel reflects it: the legendary Wardell Quezergue arranges horns on a couple of cuts. And the horn section is comprised of Crescent City residents Alonzo Bowens, Jason Mingeldorff, and Charlie Miller. Add to this the killer backing vocals of Tyrone Aiken, and percussion by Kenneth “Afro” Williams and Herman V. Ernest III, and it’s a homespun party. Despite the serious nature of the lyrics on City That Care Forgot, the music is pure Dr. John doing everything he does best and, as evidenced by his last four or five outings, he’s more consistent in the early 2000s than at any time in his long career.
By Thom Jurek, All Music Guide.
Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Ani Difranco and Terence Blanchard join Dr. John and the Lower 911 in this musical paean to Dr. John’s beloved New Orleans. This powerful new recording features stirring and thought-provoking songs about the post-Katrina crises in the ravaged jewel of the American South, including “City That Care Forgot,” “Time for a Change,” “Promises, Promises,” “We Gettin’ There” and many more.
Few protest albums have the percolating groove appeal of Dr. John’s City That Care Forgot. If not for lyrics like “the road to the White House, paved with lies” the song “Promises, Promises” would be a typically chipper New Orleans second-line strut. And “You Might Be Surprised” sounds like the kind of horn-and-strings-colored blues that has always been part of the piano giant’s repertoire — until its darker hues come through in the lines “life is a near death experience/Hell is right here on this great big Earth.” Hurricane Katrina’s devastation of Dr. John’s beloved hometown and the following years of neglect sparked these 13 angry songs. The government, insurance companies and developers, and still-lingering institutional racism take a whooping with help from Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Terence Blanchard, Ani DiFranco, and Terrance Simien in cameo appearances. The zenith is a suite — “Dream Warrior,” “Black Gold,” “We Getting There” — whose brooding imagery, funky keyboards, Latin percussion, and dramatic horns recall the great Blaxploitation movie music of the ’70s. On the flip side “My People Need a Second Line” speaks to the resilience of New Orleans culture, holding threads of hope bright as the trilling of Dr. John’s piano.
By Ted Drozdowski.
Nominee – 51st GRAMMY® Awards
Best Contemporary Blues Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)
City That Care Forgot
Dr. John And The Lower 911

from 429 Records: Dr. John’s Beloved New Orleans is the subject of this powerful new recording. The ravaged jewel of the American south receives a musical tribute from longtime resident Dr. J and a stellar cast of international guest artists including Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Ani Difranco and Terence Blanchard. Features the song “Time for a Change.”
Dr. John- Organ, Piano, Vocals, Horn Arrangements;
Herman V. Ernest III- Percussion, Drums, Background Vocals;
John Fohl- guitar, Background Vocals;
David Barard- Bass, Background Vocals;
Kenneth “Afro” Williams- Percussion;
Alonzo Bowens- Tenor Sax, Horn Arrangements;
Jason Mingledorff- Baritone Sax, Horn Arrangements;
Eric Clapton- Guitar (2, 8, 12);
Terence Blanchard- Trumpet (7, 11);
Ani DiFranco- Vocals (12);
Willie Nelson- Vocals (3);
Terrance Simien- Vocals (13);
James “12” Andrews- Trumpet (10);
James “Trombone Shorty” Andrews- Trombone (10);
Wardell Quezergue- Horn Arrangements, String Arrangements;
Tyrone Aiken- Background Vocals;
Shannon McNally- Background Vocals.
01. Keep On Goin’ (featuring Eric Clapton) 4:44
02. Time For A Change (featuring Willie Nelson) 2:53
03. Promises, Promises 3:42
04. You Might Be Surprised 3:58
05. Dream Warrior 4:57
06. Black Gold 3:12
07. We Gettin’ There (featuring Terence Blanchard) 5:12
08. Stripped Away (featuring Eric Clapton) 3:34
09. Say Whut? 4:34
10. My People Need A Second Line (featuring James Andrews & Trombone Shorty) 5:18
11. Land Grab (featuring Terence Blanchard) 3:56
12. City That Care Forgot (featuring Eric Clapton and Ani DiFranco) 5:34
13. Save Our Wetlands (featuring Terrance Simien) 4:06

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Dr. JOHN – Manley Field House at Syracuse University 1972

Posted in BLUES, Dr. JOHN on December 4, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dr. JOHN – Manley Field House at Syracuse University 1972
Syracuse, NY April 7, 1972
WAER-FM Broadcast


Dr. John- Piano, Guitar and Vocals
Kenny Klimak- Guitar
Jimmy Calhoun- Bass
Freddie Staehle- Drums
Jaimoe- Drums
Robbie Montgomery- Vocals
Jessie Smith- Vocals
01. Croker Courtbullion
02. Gris Gris Gumbo Yaya
03. Craney Crow
04. Familiar Reality – Opening
05. Glowin’
06. Try Rock and Roll
07. Let The Good Times Roll
08. I Walk On Guilded Splinters
09. Iko Iko (joined in progress)
10. Band Introductions
11. Little Liza Jane
12. Mardi Gras Day
13. Wang Dang Doodle
14. Mardi Gras Day Reprise

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Dr.JOHN – Mercernary 2006

Posted in BLUES, Dr. JOHN on November 26, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Dr.JOHN – Mercernary 2006


Though Dr. John is by no means the first musician from the rock era to take a stab at the classic American songbook, the results have rarely been as satisfying as this. While all of the material was written by, inspired by, or associated with Johnny Mercer, this is very much a Dr. John album, with Mac Rebennack and his ace New Orleans rhythm section giving selections from “You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby” to “Moon River” a funky, Crescent City spin. With the good doctor applying piano syncopation to an instrumental expansion of “I’m an Old Cow Hand” and giving his sly, playful rasp to a jaunty “Dream” and a bluesy “Come Rain or Come Shine,” this tribute not only attests to the range, craftsmanship, and enduring appeal of Mercer’s all-American music, it reflects the New Orleans master’s interpretive depth.
By Don McLeese.
Dr John has done is again. He has taken the funk or “fonk ” as he calls it of New ‘Awlins and mixed it up with Johnny Mercer’s songs, that old southern boy,” that Dr John can relate to. As he says, “That’s why I think of Johnny Mercer as a mercenary,”he was a hustler; he knew how to survive out there. He always wanted to write Broadway shows, but because he wasn’t from New York, they wouldn’t let him get in the clique. So the next best thing he could make a hustle out of doing was to go to Hollywood and write songs for movies; he had some success doing that.
Dr John fills this CD with joyfull grit. It does not in any way sound like the old regulation VFW tunes that we may have come to expect with Johnny Mercer. Each song, has been made for Mac Rebennack, Dr John’s birth name. The project came to fruition from a suggestion of his daughter Tina, who pointed out that “Personality,” would be a perfect fit for her dad’s down-home style. In fact, Tina suggested, why not do a whole album of songs written or popularized this giant of American popular music? Dr John agreed and set his band up. That old magic came to life with each and every recording. They were so in tune that each song was done in one or two takes.
Dr John had a handful of songs in mind from the start, including “Blues in the Night,” “Lazy Bones,” “That Old Black Magic,” “Save the Bones for Henry Jones” and “Tangerine,” and each one bears no resemblance to any of the old tunes. Even “Moon River” is Dr Johns. You can savor the tune, but your feet are tapping-tapping to Moon River? Yes, suh,BK. “Dream” and “Old Cowhand” are played like you have never heard them before. Mercernary honors not only Johnny Mercer, but New Orleans. Every note played by Dr. John and his fellow musicians is the sound of living New Orleans.
“What is the secret to musical longevity?” the legendary New Orleans artist had a ready answer. “Living,” he replied. Through more than half a century of music making, Mac Rebennack Jr. has been doing just that as he’s rolled with the highs and lows that come with being a working musician, and these days he finds himself in an extended stretch of being in the right place at the right time. Now 65, this American icon, whom fellow legend Jerry Wexler once described as “the blackest white man I know, is at his peak.”
And we are the lucky recipients of this artist. Highly Recommended.
By Pris Rob.
For as much as Dr. John is associated with New Orleans R&B, he’s logged plenty of miles roaming through the Great American Songbook. On MERCERNARY, he manages to bring the two worlds together. On this tribute to the great songwriter Johnny Mercer, the old Night Tripper takes Mercer-penned standards like “Blues in the Night” and “That Old Black Magic” and comes dangerously close to redefining them. By adding his patented serpentine Big Easy groove to these well worn tunes, he comes up with a new sound that blows a breath of fresh air into the Mercer catalog–a feat few other interpreters could manage.
Dr. John- (Vocals, Piano);
John Fohl- (Guitars);
Eric Truab, Herbert Hardisty- (Tenor Sax);
Alonzo Bowen- (Baritone Sax);
Charlie Miller- (Trumpet);
David Barard- (Bass Guitar);
Herman Ernest III- (Drums, Percussion);
Kenyatta Simon- (Percussion).
01. Blues in the Night (Mercer) 4:38
02. You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby (Mercer) 3:41
03. Personality (Burke, VanHeusen) 3:36
04. Hit the Road to Dreamland (Mercer)     4:11
05. I’m an Old Cow Hand (Mercer) 4:18
06. Dream (Mercer) 2:33
07. Lazy Bones     (Carmichael, Mercer) 3:47
08. That Old Black Magic (Mercer) 3:24
09. Come Rain or Come Shine (Mercer) 5:28
10. Moon River (Mancini, Merver) 2:37
11. Tangerine (MerCer, Schertzinger) 4:37
12. I Ain’t No Johnny (Mercer, Rebennack) 3:15
13. Save the Bones for Henry Jones (Barker, Jones, Lee) 3:40

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