Dr. John – Locked Down (2012)
The collaboration between the New Orleans legend and the Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach is inspired, with the younger garage-bluesman placing the 71-year-old’s blues and fire in a perfectly retro-modern frame. No differently to the Black Keys, 21st-century production techniques make sounds as old as the hills seem box-fresh. But no one makes music like this: the Night Tripper rampages inimitably through swamp blues, voodoo funk and Afrobeat, with his trademark piano. Vocals veer from soulful cries of “Can I get a witness?” to narratives about crack houses, but this is more than just a retro retool. The slow response to Hurricane Katrina is assaulted with fury on Revolution, which surveys a landscape of homeless children, raped women and “religious delusions”, and concludes that “rebellion, revolution, is the final solution”. It all powers along on tunes from his top drawer, from the instantly funky title track to the irresistible grooves of Ice Age and redemptive soul of God’s Sure Good. Terrific stuff.