An excellent sounding reissue of Dr. John’s 1972 albumful of New Orleans R ‘n’ B. Mostly featuring his interpretations of classics and hit singles (“Iko Iko” “Mess Around” “Junko Partner” “Stack-A-Lee” “Tipitina”, and a medley of Huey ‘Piano’ Smith tracks), with one original (“Somebody Changed the Clock”), and a great slow blues track called “Let the Good Times Roll” (but not the same song as was a hit single for Shirley and Lee… even though Shirley does, coincidentally, sing backing vocals on the LP).
Great piano playing from Dr. John, along with his growly vocals. Excellent support from a bunch of his New Orleans friends who all found themselves in Los Angeles (where this was recorded) in late ’71. Great percussion and horns. The mix of r ‘n’ b, jazz, blues and traditional New Orleans styles is irresistible.
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.
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