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Dr. John

Although he didn't become widely known until the 1970s, Dr. John had been active in the music industry since the late '50s, when the teenager was still known as Mac Rebennack. A formidable boogie and blues pianist with a lovable growl of a voice, his most enduring achievements have fused New Orleans R&B, rock, and Mardi Gras craziness to come up with his own brand of "voodoo" music. He's also quite accomplished and enjoyable when sticking to purely traditional forms of blues and R&B. On record, he veers between the two approaches, making for an inconsistent and frequently frustrating legacy that often makes the listener feel as if "the Night Tripper" (as he's nicknamed himself) has been underachieving.

In the late '50s, Rebennack gained prominence in the New Orleans R&B scene as a session keyboardist and guitarist, contributing to records by Professor Longhair, Frankie Ford, and Joe Tex. He also recorded some overlooked singles of his own, and by the '60s had expanded into production and arranging. After a gun accident damaged his hand in the early '60s, he gave up the guitar to concentrate on keyboards exclusively. Skirting trouble with the law and drugs, he left the increasingly unwelcome environs of New Orleans in the mid-'60s for Los Angeles, where he found session work with the help of fellow New Orleans expatriate Harold Battiste. Rebennack renamed himself Dr. John, The Night Tripper when he recorded his first album, Gris-Gris. According to legend, this was hurriedly cut with leftover studio time from a Sonny & Cher session, but it never sounded hastily conceived. In fact, its mix of New Orleans R&B with voodoo sounds and a tinge of psychedelia was downright enthralling, and may have resulted in his greatest album.

He began building an underground following with both his music and his eccentric stage presence, which found him conducting ceremonial-type events in full Mardi Gras costume. Dr. John was nothing if not eclectic, and his next few albums were granted mixed critical receptions because of their unevenness and occasional excess. They certainly had their share of admirable moments, though, and Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger helped out on The Sun, Moon & Herbs in 1971. The following year's Gumbo, produced by Jerry Wexler, proved Dr. John was a master of traditional New Orleans R&B styles, in the mold of one of his heroes, Professor Longhair. In 1973, he got his sole big hit, "In the Right Place," which was produced by Allen Toussaint, with backing by the Meters. In the same year, he also recorded with Mike Bloomfield and John Hammond, Jr. for the Triumvirate album.

The rest of the decade, unfortunately, was pretty much a waste musically. Dr. John could always count on returning to traditional styles for a good critical reception, and he did so constantly in the '80s. There were solo piano albums, sessions with Chris Barber and Jimmy Witherspoon, and In a Sentimental Mood (1989), a record of pop standards. These didn't sell all that well, though. A more important problem was that he's capable of much more than recastings of old styles and material. In fact, by this time he was usually bringing in the bacon not through his own music, but via vocals for numerous commercial jingles. It continued pretty much in the same vein throughout the '90s: New Orleans super sessions for the Bluesiana albums, another outing with Chris Barber, an album of New Orleans standards, and another album of pop standards.

In 1994, Television did at least offer some original material. At this point he began to rely more upon cover versions for the bulk of his recorded work, though his interpretive skills will always ensure that these are more interesting than most such efforts. His autobiography, Under a Hoodoo Moon, was published by St. Martin's Press in 1994, and in 1998 he resurfaced with Anutha Zone, which featured collaborations with latter-day performers including Spiritualized, Paul Weller, Supergrass, and Ocean Colour Scene. Duke Elegant followed in early 2000. Additional albums for Blue Note followed in 2001 (Creole Moon) and 2004 (N'Awlinz: Dis Dat or d'Udda). Sippiana Hericane, a four-song EP celebrating his beloved hometown of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, arrived in November of 2005. Mercernary, an album of covers of songs made famous by Johnny Mercer, appeared on Blue Note in 2006. City That Care Forgot followed in 2008. The Night Tripper persona was revived for 2010's Tribal, which featured guest spots from Derek Trucks, Allen Toussaint, Donald Harrison, and the late Bobby Charles. Dr. John also contributed to French electronic artist Féloche's international hit single "Gris Gris John" the same year. He teamed with the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, to producer and record Locked Down. It was issued in the spring of 2012. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography

Comments

Love this movie an all the songs
bkguillory4
I like this song cause I live in Louisana and not far from New Orleans
I love this song it is happy and awesome it inspires you
fhydvbhfvbjh g f g
BRING ON THE VOODOO DR.!!!!!!!!! ! ! !
maas237
I can dance to this song really good but with my best friends. Love this song!!!!!
rgeders
Great song
Omg I love u dr.john :) <3
The princess and the frog........ . . . N e w Orleans..... . !
i love this song
love this movie
tapcitymama, just don't swear, this is a Disney station!!!
Down in New Orleeens!
Whoever criticizes Dr. John can KISS IT, as far as I'm concerned!!! I'll love ALL his music til I officially "give up da funk"!!! Now run tell DAT!!! Critics just naturally p*** me off. Yup.....
Y do u say that
No there won't
Say i-phone 5 times, post this on two other song and there will be an i-phone under your pillow the next morning.
My dad does the digital editing for the cover of this movie
This song is fun and really jazzy :) great to dance to
abair63
I have it memorized
LONGHAIRŚ ADOPTED SON.......
ml.ramirez02
Love THIS SONG!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
It's a cool move and a song!!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! < 3 <3 <3
Jimmy Nalls
John?
Doubt he will ever be genuinely imitated. Only one Dr. Who can dispense his kind of musical medicine
my mommy gave me this account
irodri28
I LOOOOOOVE THIS SONG!!
The coolest white man alive.
I'm a big fan of the Dr. & when your not feeling well just take a dose or 2 of his music and u will be back in the groove of life.
I love this song & the movie
I didn't need a station to take me down the rabbit hole. Dr. John is a legend. Just (maybe) kinda sad that such a relative few people will be able to answer the question: Who Was Mac Rebennack?
cibamantis
Big Shot is one of the greatest boogies I have heard in a long time.
I got here from Monophonics and Kings go Forth. I wish more folks would let us know how they ended up with this artist, you know which stations took you down the rabbit hole, kind of like 9 degrees of Kevin Bacon or whatever. Anyway, Keep Rockin Dr. John!
This is a boy?! :0
Luv this song
I thought the artist description was the lyrics
I went to New Orleans expecting a lot of singing. I was wrong... but still a great, lively city.
Dr. John is appearing in Aurora IL on June 14th at the 'Blues onthe Fox' festival.
i love it it is loke i can smell that GUMBO!!!!!!!
Good job Doc carrying Huey Smith's torch
krissiemc
But it's catchy:)
krissiemc
Cool it's amazing I have like all of the Disney movies I think lol
chuk_se
This song is catchy.
I loooooooove it!;)
:D
I love this song! :d
Havana I like this song and love the movie
��
art4ind
Just saw him in Bethlehem PA with Sara Morrow on Trombone! Great!
Dr. John is where I go when i need some meds!!
Love this song. Listen to it when I'm bored!!! Really cheers up all ages!!! Follow me if you agree!!
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