Mac Rebennack, know throughout the world as Dr. John died yesterday at the age of 77. From his early days studying under Professor Longhair, through his studio session work playing on some of the biggest hits of the 60’s, through his Gris Gris early solo albums, through his deep funk, there really is no part of modern American music that Dr. John wasn’t a part of. As the favorite son of New Orleans, Dr. John was the the greatest interpreter of the classic New Orleans songbook. Lets look at some of his greatest songs.
5: I Walk On Guilded Splinters
Dr. John’s first album was Gris-Gris and was a swampy psychedelic voodoo trip. While he would play with a much straighter style on later albums. I Walk On Guilded Splinters caught the attention of some very influential people.
Right Place Wrong Time was Dr. John’s breakthrough solo album. Gone was Night Tripper persona and in was a straight ahead funk gumbo that combined the best sounds of his native New Orleans in a new funk rock dimension.
3: Iko Iko
After a few psychedelic voodoo albums that caught plenty of attention but were hardly hits, Dr. John created a straight ahead New Orleans record. Bigger things were still ahead for his music career, but the legend of Dr. John as the greatest interpreter of New Orleans music starts here.
2: Goin’ Back To New Orleans
The 1980’s were a bleak time for roots rock and blues musicians and Dr. John was not immune. While he continued to find plenty of work backing other artists and appearing on soundtrack albums, those mid 70’s hits had completely dried up. In 1992 Dr. John released Goin’ Back To New Orleans, featuring a line up of classic songs and A list musicians. A new phase of his career had begun.
1: Right Place Wrong Time
Dr John’s signature song. A perfect gumbo of 70’s funk and New Orleans flavor. If his career had ended with this song, he would have been considered a great musician. But we know he was so much more, RIP Mac