Dr John gets a dose of transcon­ti­nen­tal boo­gie

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - News -

THE VOODOO took root in Brook­lyn for Easter. New Or­leans sage and free spirit Dr John, aka Mac Reben­nack, is hold­ing down a res­i­dency over three week­ends at the Brook­lyn Academy of Mu­sic (BAM).

It be­gan with Reben­nack doff­ing his cap to Louis Armstrong and will end with him and a bunch of other Nu Awl­ins champs on­stage this week­end. But it’s the three shows in the mid­dle of the run, with Reben­nack play­ing his new al­bum, Locked Down, which caught our at­ten­tion.

Pro­duced by Black Keys gui­tarist Dan Auer­bach Dr John the Night Trip­per in the late 1960s af­ter a brain­storm­ing ses­sion with pals in Los An­ge­les.

Since the re­lease of the out­stand­ing Gris-gris de­but al­bum in 1968, Dr John has be­come the em­bod­i­ment of a very in­di­vid­ual freak scene, which takes in New Or­leans’ enig­mas, psy­che­delic rock rhythms and a the­atri­cal stage Wine­house to Lee Fields. In part too, it’s down to the ma­te­rial, a bunch of songs in which Reben­nack takes the mask off and re­flects on the big­ger is­sues around faith and fam­ily.

The real rea­son for the booga­loo, though, comes down to the man in the mid­dle of the stage be­hind the Farfisa and Ham­mond B3. Sure, there’s the odd nod to that patented Dr John stage shtick and, yes, there’s also a few glances at the more pop­u­lar cor­ners of the back-cat­a­logue with solo pi­ano nods to Tip­itina and Such a Night. But this is about the power and pre­ci­sion of a very strong al­bum and Reben­nack is ex­tremely hip to that fact.

He also knows that he is at the helm of a very hot band, who are keenly tuned to ev­ery spike and swing in the mu­sic, from Ice Age to My Chil­dren, My An­gels.

When they turn their at­ten­tion to the clas­sics, such as Iwalked on Gilded Splin­ters and Black John the Con­queror, a whole new set of ex­pec­ta­tions take flight.

If Auer­bach has been the fa­cil­i­ta­tor who has shown Reben­nack a new way to skin a cat, you know that the man him­self just won’t leave it at that. Ex­pect the good doc­tor to rel­ish this new lease of life for some time to come.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland

© PressReader. All rights reserved.