Tuesday, October 17, 2006

122. Dr. John, The Nighttripper - Gris-Gris (1968)

Track Listing

1. Gris Gris Gumbo Ya Ya
2. Danse Kalinda Ba Doom
3. Mama Roux
4. Danse Fambeaux
5. Croker Courtbullion
6. Jump Sturdy
7. Walk On Gilded Splinters


This is indeed a very cool album, and probably the coolest thing Dr. John ever made. You have certainly heard him play a lot of piano music and you know him as a New Orleans icon, but nowhere is he more in touch with New Orleans dark side than in this album.

This is an album for sweaty Voodoo filled summer nights, he uses the rhythms of New Orleans like no one else, the same Afro-Caribbean Rhythms common to Haiti, Brazil, New Orleans and many other places which had a big slave population in the Americas. But Dr. John brings it another level. It is almost like Tom Waits in feel, and he sings languidly over these great rhythms.

Strangely for Dr. John the Piano isn't even a big thing in this album, it is all about rhythmic craziness, and Voodoo chanting in the background and this cool Cajun accent on top of it. From the whole feel and mood of this album it is not hard to see why he is "Dr. John, known as the Nighttripper". You can't stop but invoke the ecstasy of a nightly weird religious/funk ceremony. Mama Roux for example is a cool Funk song which was just preceded by a song which consisted solely of chanting and drumming. Definitely worth giving a listen to, so buy it at Amazon UK or US.

Track Highlights

1. I Walk On Gilded Splinters
2. Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya
3. Mama Roux
4. Jump Sturdy

Final Grade

10/10 (don't worry, next two albums are going to be lower)


For all you geeks out there (notice his slip of the tongue):

From Wikipedia:

Dr. John's song "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" was covered in the 1970s and made epic by Humble Pie on their album Performance Rockin' the Fillmore. The same song was also covered in the nineties by Paul Weller and Oasis' Noel Gallagher on Weller's acclaimed album Stanley Road, and again in 2004 by Califone on their acclaimed album Heron King Blues. "Gilded Splinters" is also a concert staple for both Widespread Panic and the Allman Brothers Band.

Music legend Van Morrison mentions Dr. John on the 1995 album Days Like This in the song "Russian Roulette". Musician and television personality Jools Holland is a fan who regularly features Dr. John on Later with Jools Holland, his weekly musical showcase. Muppet creator Jim Henson was also a fan; his character of Dr. Teeth (from Dr. Teeth and The Electric Mayhem) was heavily based on Dr. John.

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