Album no. 122/1001
THEY CALL ME….DR JOHN. KNOWN AS THE NIGHT TRIPPER. That’s our introduction to old mate Malcolm John ‘Mac’ Rebennack, better known as Dr John. He’s a character. From down south, in case you couldn’t tell from his voice.
Dr John was originally a guitarist, but he switched to piano when his left ring finger was injured by a gunshot (!!!!) while he was defending a bandmate at a gig in Jackson. As well as getting shot, he sold narcotics, ran a brothel and spent two years in a federal prison. WHAT A GUY. He was initially a session musician and hung about with Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention. Why am I not surprised. Dr John is still alive and doing gigs. What a legend.
Have you listened to this album before?
NK: The only Dr John I’ve properly listened to is ‘Such A Night’ off The Last Waltz. Also there used to be an Adelaide bar called Zu Zu Mamou which was named after a Dr John song, and they used to play him a lot. I don’t really remember that though.
CL: I really didn’t want to listen to this because the guy on the front cover looks like he might try to steal my soul. I’m very frightened by what’s to come.
NK: THIS IS DIFFERENT FROM THE LAST WALTZ.
CL: I feel like I had good reason to feel frightened. This is weird. It’s like some sort of voodoo black magic music. HE LITERALLY SOUNDS LIKE THE SPIRIT OF JAZZ FROM THE BOOSH. I don’t like the chanting in ‘Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya’ – it scares me. I don’t like the weird sort of xylophone in ‘Danse Kalinda Da Boom’, ‘Mama Roux’ sounds like something that would play at a swinger’s house party
NK: This is GREAT. You’re right about the chanting in ‘Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya’, it’s really scary. But you forgot to mention how good it is. That’s possibly my favorite song. How good is his voice!? ‘They call me….DR JOHN….known as the night tripper’. ‘Mama Roux’ is also EXCELLENT, but I pretty much liked all of them.
CL: The only song I could maybe handle was ‘Danse Fambeaux’.
NK: THAT’S GREAT TOO.
When would be the best time to listen to this?
NK: When you want to get SPOOKY. A bit of voodoo magic.
CL: When you want to have a bloody seance in New Orleans, that’s when.
NK: If you’re going to have some friends round, light some candles, sacrifice a chicken and do an ouija board, this is a great soundtrack.
Why has this album been included on the list?
NK: It’s really different for sure, a bit of spooky southern freak rock. He has a really interesting voice as well. I couldn’t tell you exactly what he influenced, but there must have been something.
CL: Well, it certainly doesn’t sound like anything else I’ve ever heard, so that’s one thing to say for it.
Will you be listening again?
NK: You bet. I have already played this four or five time. I REALLY LIKE IT.
CL: I don’t think so. Too creepy.
Listen to Gris-Gris on Spotify or buy it in iTunes.