Pullin’ ‘Tubes: Dr. John Gets Locked Down

Sure there are a healthy amount of people who know Dr. John solely as the guy that sang the theme song to Blossom, or the jingle for Popeye’s, but the good Doctor, who was born, Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, Jr., has been one of the most iconic and distinctive musicians to come out of New Orleans in the last 40+ years. After years playing in regional R&B bands as a teenager, and then as a highly in-demand session musician in Los Angeles, it wasn’t until Mac decided to put out his first solo album in 1968, Gris Gris, that the world was introduced to his alter-ego – Dr. John, The Night Tripper. His newly anointed persona channeled the voodoo traditions of the Crescent City, donning elaborate costumes and headdresses on stage, and playing a thick gumbo of psychedelic New Orleans funk, that combined rhythms and chants, with his unmistakable Cajun-tinged gravelly, gruff vocals.

Last Tuesday, Dr. John released his latest studio album Locked Down, that harkened back to his run of albums from 1968 to 1974, which included the likes of The Sun The Moon & Herbs, Gumbo and Desitively Bonnaroo. Produced by The Black Keys guitarist Dan Auerbach, the record is full of sticky, swampy New Orleans funk, that invokes the spirit of his early voodoo dripping Night Tripper days. Last week Mac, with the assistance of Mr. Auerbach and a top-notch band that included members of Anitbalas and The Dap-Kings, stopped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to perform the album’s lead single Revolution. Let’s check it out…

Dr. John will conclude his residency at the Brooklyn Academy Of Music this weekend, with a set of shows dedicated to the music of his hometown dubbed Funky But It’s Nu Awlins, where he’ll by an all star cast of New Orleans’ musicians that include Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, Nicholas Payton and the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

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