Similar artists

Albums

$14.49

Rock - Released March 30, 2012 | Nonesuch

Booklet Distinctions Sélection Les Inrocks - Le top 6 JAZZ NEWS
Between 1968 and 1972, New Orleans-cum-L.A. session musician Mac Rebennack transformed himself into Dr. John, The Nite Tripper. He recorded a series of albums for Atlantic, most importantly Gris-Gris, but also Babylon, Remedies, and The Sun, Moon, & Herbs; they seamlessly wove a heady, swampy brew of voodoo ritual, funk, and R&B, psychedelic rock, and Creole roots music. The Black Keys' guitarist Dan Auerbach admitted upon meeting Rebennack that he wanted to produce a Dr. John album and to revisit the Nite Tripper's musical terrain on record. The pair worked in Auerbach's Nashville studio with a group of younger players to explore the rawer, spookier elements in Dr. John's music. Locked Down is not an attempt to re-create Gris-Gris, which remains his classic; it -- and the other three records -- resembled nothing that existed before. Auerbach and Dr. John wanted to make a modern recording that drew on the spontaneous, more organic feel of those records; they succeeded in spades. Locked Down isn't quite swampy, but it is humid, even steamy. Its grooves are tight but raw and immediate. Its lyrics and music are charged with spiritual energy, carnal desire, and righteous indignation. It melds primal rock, careening R&B, and electric blues in an irresistible, downright nasty brew. The fingerpopping horn chart that announces "Revolution," is underscored by a fat baritone sax, an urgent, shake-your-ass bassline, and pulsing guitars. Drum breaks are constant in accompanying Rebennack's screed against corruption, "religious" hatred, and violence, which degrade humanity. His Wurlitzer solo is brief yet searing. "Ice Age"'s guitar, drum, and percussion vamp are deadly infectious. Rebennack's voice growls about collusion between the CIA and KKK and the end of an era, as the McCrary Sisters complement the vocals with an R&B chorus line in affirmation. His organ drones and wheezes to complete the picture, yet turns the last line into possibility: "If you ain't iced/you got the breath of life within."The electric piano on "Getaway" sets up a funktastic, bluesed-out swing. The guitars and Nick Movshon's hyper bassline drive it urgently with clusters of surf-like chords, reverb, and effects, completed by a roiling, over-the rails Auerbach solo. "Eleggua" is pure spaced-out Nite Tripper, a cosmic funky butt strut; its chanted mystical prayers come from the world of flesh and spirit; it's populated by slippery, watery guitars, wailing B-3, broken snare beats, and even a flute. That feel is underscored in the nocturnal shift and shimmer of "My Children, My Angels," driven by Rebennack's Rhodes, guitars, and a skittering snare. It's greasy yet somehow in synch with this love letter from a repentant father to his kids. Rebennack and Auerbach send it off, appropriately enough, with rock & roll gospel in "God's Sure Good" and a joyous chorus from the McCrary's behind-the-lyric's gratitude, highlighted by a swelling B-3 and backbone-slipping grit. No matter which era or what record you prefer, as an album, Locked Down stands with Rebennack's best. ~ Thom Jurek
$44.99

Soul - Released September 15, 2017 | Rhino Atlantic

Distinctions 4F de Télérama
$10.49

Rock - Released December 20, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

Distinctions The Qobuz Ideal Discography
$14.99
$12.99

R&B - Released December 20, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Hi-Res
$14.99
$12.99

R&B - Released September 9, 2014 | Rhino Atlantic

Hi-Res
Dr. John finally struck paydirt here and was certainly In the Right Place. With the hit single "Right Place Wrong Time" bounding up the charts, this fine collection saw many unaware listeners being initiated into New Orleans-style rock. Also including Allen Toussaint's "Life," and a funky little number entitled "Traveling Mood," which shows off the good doctor's fine piano styling, and with able help from the Meters as backup group, In the Right Place is still a fine collection to own. ~ James Chrispell
$12.99

Pop - Released February 8, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

$78.99
$68.49

R&B - Released May 19, 2014 | Rhino Atlantic

Hi-Res
$12.99

R&B - Released February 28, 2003 | Parlophone UK

Between his various standards albums of the '90s and the heavily collaborational Anutha Zone from 1998, by the end of the millennium it'd been nearly a decade since Dr. John's last record of straight-ahead New Orleans R&B. Creole Moon rectifies that situation nicely -- it's "a personal interpretation of New Orleans" (as he says in the liner notes), and these 14 vignettes of New Orleans life are soaked in Crescent City soul. Creole Moon is also a return to the sound of his classic mid-'70s records (Dr. John's Gumbo, In the Right Place), right from the spidery electric piano and testifying back-up vocals on the opener "You Swore." Most of his band, the Lower 9-11 Musician Vocaleers, have been playing with him for close to 20 years, and provide solid accompaniment. Dr. John also invites some friends along, including David "Fathead" Newman, slide guitarist Sonny Landreth, fiddler Michael Doucet, and a tight horn section led by Fred Wesley. And there's few better than Wesley to knock out a tough James Brown groove, as he and the band do on "Food for Thot" while Dr. John vamps over the top. Most of the other songs are little more than those loose grooves, and the booklet's constant references to African-derived rhythms (or an included Creole dictionary, aka "Gumbo-izms") may be too much for most listeners, but Creole Moon shows Dr. John doing what he's done best for nearly 30 years. ~ John Bush
$12.99

Rock - Released March 15, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

$15.49

Blues - Released June 12, 1992 | Warner Jazz

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. ~ William Ruhlmann
$12.99

R&B - Released January 19, 2000 | Parlophone UK

Duke Elegant certainly wasn't the only tribute to Duke Ellington put out in honor of the 100th anniversary of the legendary bandleader, nor was it even the first time Dr. John had tackled his material. But it would be hard to find a better homage than this one. Dr. John proves a surprisingly good match for Ellington's material, placing a tremendously funky foundation under the composer's tunes. The sound is dominated by the good doctor's incomparable New Orleans piano and organ, naturally, and the best tracks are those whose melodies are carried solely by his keyboard work, such as instrumentals "Caravan" and "Things Ain't What They Used to Be." The vocal cuts are fine -- his takes on the Ellington ballad "Solitude" and especially the dreamy, elegant "Mood Indigo" show off Dr. John's uniquely expressive voice as well as any of his early-era recordings -- though he occasionally tends to approach self-caricature, as on "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)." Any weakness, however, is more than made up for by the closing rearrangement of "Flaming Sword," one of three Ellington rarities here. Dr. John transforms the instrumental into a luminous, gorgeously melodic display of Professor Longhair-style piano over an astonishingly sexy New Orleans funk rhythm. Ultimately, Duke Elegant holds up both as an innovative twist on the Ellington songbook and as a solid Dr. John album in its own right. ~ Kenneth Bays
$12.99

R&B - Released August 4, 1998 | Parlophone UK

Dr. John has spent so much time turning out perfectly enjoyable but interchangeable records that it may be easy to forget the spooky voodoo vibes of his earliest, arguably best, records. He may have forgotten it himself, too, but there was a whole generation of British musicians, from Modfather Paul Weller to Spaceman Jason Pierce to the teenaged punks in Supergrass, who remembered the haunted vibe lurking in Gumbo and Gris-Gris. Citing his name in interviews, covering his songs, and enlisting him as a session musician (Mr. Rebennack played on Spiritualized's acclaimed 1997 album, Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating in Space), they created a buzz around Dr. John and were more than willing to play on Anutha Zone, hopefully generating some sales for him in return. As should be expected from any project that is a marketer's dream, the collaborations occasionally seem awkward, but what is surprising is how often it works. Pierce helps Rebennack conjure the psychedelic R&B of his earlier albums, while Weller and Supergrass help keep things cooking; furthermore, members of Primal Scream and Portishead help make "Sweet Home New Orleans" a titanic workout. The Brits aren't as funky as the classic New Orleans musicians, but they are willing to push Dr. John into his best work in years. Anutha Zone isn't a perfect album by any means, but it's Rebennack's most ambitious and rewarding album in many a year. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$12.99

R&B - Released June 11, 2004 | Parlophone UK

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. ~ Thom Jurek
$12.99

Rock - Released October 5, 2004 | Rhino - Elektra

$17.99

R&B - Released March 25, 2005 | Parlophone UK

The four albums Dr. John recorded for Parlophone leading up to this compilation were very distinct projects. The first, 1998's Anutha Zone, functioned as the New Orleans legend's return to trans-Atlantic critical respectability, thanks to a parade of British admirers (Paul Weller, J Spaceman of Spiritualized, and Gaz Coombes of Supergrass among others). One year later, he recorded a deliciously dripping tribute to Duke Ellington titled Duke Elegant, and he followed after the end of the millennium with an old-fashioned New Orleans R&B records (2001's Creole Moon) and a heavily collaborational record (N'Awlinz: Dis Dat or d'udda) including B.B. King, Randy Newman, and Willie Nelson. Best of the Parlophone Years recycles 15 tracks from those sessions and adds a pair of bonus tracks: the unreleased "Careless Love" featuring Willie Tee (circa N'Awlinz: Dis Dat or d'udda) and "Look Out" (added to a Japanese version of Anutha Zone). Grabbing tracks from such a tight time frame produces a very unified compilation, although Dr. John's syrupy growl and laid-back swing aren't flattered by the first half of this compilation, where the tempos rarely vary. ~ John Bush
$14.99
$12.99

R&B - Released March 15, 2005 | Rhino Atlantic

Hi-Res
Dr. John's Gumbo bridged the gap between post-hippie rock and early rock & roll, blues, and R&B, offering a selection of classic New Orleans R&B, including "Tipitina" and "Junko Partner," updated with a gritty, funky beat. There aren't as many psychedelic flourishes as there were on his first two albums, but the ones that are present enhance his sweeping vision of American roots music. And that sly fusion of styles makes Dr. John's Gumbo one of Dr. John's finest albums. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine
$10.49

Rock - Released December 20, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

$11.49

Rock - Released December 20, 2005 | Rhino - Elektra

Remedies is not rock and roll, it is something nearly otherworldly, and almost beyond comprehension. While it includes such standout Dr. John tracks as "Wash Mama Wash" and "Loop Garoo," it also includes "Angola Anthem," which is murky, mysterious and downright evil-sounding. Much of this very long cut is lost without headphones, for the music floats about in a smoky fog while Dr. John and his backup singers chant, moan, and cry out. Progressive radio loved this stuff, and it still sounds great during those late-night flirtations with the dark side of the psyche. Remedies must be heard to be believed. ~ James Chrispell
$12.99

R&B - Released April 25, 2006 | Parlophone UK

Dr. John's been on a roll since he signed with Blue Note. Each title he's released on the label has been solid, full of New Orleans funk, hot R&B, and swinging, finger-poppin' jazz. Since the Hurricane Katrina disaster, dozens of Crescent City players have been active, and trying to bring the message of the music to the masses like never before. Mercernary is a program almost entirely made up of tunes by the legendary Johnny Mercer. There is no explanation for this, other than Mac Rebennack has always admired his lyricism and the striking rhythmic originality of the rhythmic possibilities in his music. Other than a few guests to fill out the proceedings here and there, the band on all tracks is Dr. John with his fine Lower 911. The music here is joyful, gritty, and slippery -- check out the opener "Blues in the Night" that just roars with backline funk, or the spit and polish on "You Must Have Been a Beautiful Baby," both written with Harold Arlen. The switch-up is from the Mercer period, in the blues stroll of Johnny Burke and Jimmy Van Heusen's "Personality." "Hit the Road to Dreamland" is another blues, with gorgeous piano work by Rebennack. Herbert Hardesty's saxophone adds so much smoke and steam to the leisurely walk that the tune threatens at any moment to erupt into a full-on New Orleans jam, but never does. The reading of "I'm an Old Cow Hand" is a complete reworking of the tune, with killer second-line funky drumming courtesy of Herman V. Ernest III, and the middle-register piano magic by Dr. John struts the tune into the street effortlessly. Some may raise eyebrows at the big horns of Charlie Miller, and John Fohl's electric guitar on "Old Black Magic," but to hell with 'em. This old nugget is given new life, breadth, and an entirely new feel here. Likewise "Moon River," given a soul-jazz strut, will make some cry heresy, but they'll be drowned out by the joyous resonance of the performance itself because it has never been heard this way. Dr. John's interpretive singing is as fine as can be on Mercernary, and on this performance in particular. As if to address his critics, the good doctor lays down his own "I Ain't No Johnny Mercer," a nocturnal, B-3 driven groover that is full of hoodoo sass and greasy funk. Mercernary gives Johnny Mercer's age-old pop songs a new soul twist. And if the man is turning in his grave, he's probably shaking his skeleton, baby! One is struck at just how easy the Lower 911 and Dr. John make this material seem. They virtually write a manual on how standards should be interpreted in the 21st century: with reverence for the creativity and sophistication of the originals, but bringing some of the blessed nightclub vulgarity back into the music, taking it out of the sky and the hallowed hall and putting into back into the barroom where the ears and asses of the people can take it in and shake it. ~ Thom Jurek
$11.49

Rock - Released May 17, 2005 | Rhino - Warner Records

On Dr. John's first major-label effort, and first vocal studio album in ten years, he performs a set of pop standards including Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" and Johnny Mercer's "Accentuate the Positive." After starting out with a wild stage act and unusual costumes, Dr. John has evolved into a vocal stylist and piano virtuoso, which makes the idea of doing this sort of material appealing. And he does it well, turning out a leisurely duet with Rickie Lee Jones on "Makin' Whoopee" that won a Grammy (Best Jazz Vocal Performance, Duo or Group), and giving sad feeling to "My Buddy." Maybe he has changed since the Gris Gris days, but even a mellowed Dr. John is a tasty one. ~ William Ruhlmann