DEDICATED TO FANS OF FUNKY NEW ORLEANS MUSIC (& OTHER GOOD STUFF) IN AND AROUND NYC.
Friday, March 23, 2012
NPR: Dr. John: A 'Big Shot,' Reinvigorated
James Demaria Productions
Song: "Big Shot"
Artist: Dr. John
CD: Locked Down
March 23, 2012
Horns run quickly up and down a semi-chromatic
scale, sounding faded and ghostly, as if they're blowing in a juke joint
back in the 1920s. Then the volume rises, the pace slows a bit — like a
not-too-fast, not-too-slow, shoulder-shimmying sashay down a New
Orleans street late at night. A familiar voice begins to sing, loud and
strong; it's the unmistakable growl of Dr. John. The song is "Big Shot," from the new Locked Down, in which Dan Auerbach, singer and guitarist for the blues-rock band The Black Keys, aims to give the good Doctor a modern spin. Auerbach and Dr. John count among the song's many co-writers.
John always sounds exactly like Dr. John: a singer with heart and
swagger in his gravelly drawl and magic powers in his piano-thumping
fingers. In the 1970s, when he burst into national fame, he was totally
outrageous — dressing like a befeathered voodoo king and calling himself
the "Nite Tripper." Today, he's a bit of an elder statesman, singing
old classics and penning mournful paeans to Katrina-battered New
Auerbach makes 71-year-old Mac
Rebennack sound fresh and intimate by connecting him to his vital
musical past. The horns pump up the song, just the way they'd enliven a
funeral march in the Big Easy. The backing McCrary Sisters are
gospel-flavored and swathed in reverb, while Dr. John himself sounds as
if he's having a heap of fun with the self-promoting lyric. He slurs
words with New Orleans insouciance, toys with the beat, injects just the
right amount of ego and attitude, and proves that now, as always, he's
the ruler of American roots music.