You ate up all my cabbage, you acted like a savage…

Right, yeh, so. Last week I said I was gonna say a bunch more about Dr John and this new album he’s got  a’comin next week didn’t I? Then I thought about it some, and all types of confusement came on in, where do you start with a guy who’s been around since the 50’s?. Here’s the thing though friends, The Brooklyn Academy of Music are laying on a whole bunch of special shows featurin’ the good doctor to help him launch this here new record. This weekend he’s playing a three night tribute to that other gravel-voiced New Orleans legend Louis Armstrong. I’m pleased to see he’s bringin’ along Kermit Ruffins to play, if he was ever thinkin’ to make a Satchmo tribute along the lines of ‘Mercernary’ or ‘Duke Elegant’ he’d do well to record that with Kermit’s big band, if’n the big band are still any kinda goin’ concern, that’d be something. Rickie Lee Jones gonna be there too so you know their grammy winnin’ version of ‘Makin’ Whoopee’ is likely to be on the cards as well. Today though the old record club will be spoilin’ y’all with three versions of tunes by both Louis and the Dr. Oh yeah, and tyin’ in with what I was grumblin’ about all this ‘his best work since the 70’s’ hype and hoodoo well all three of the Dr’s versions come from his 1992 masterpiece ‘Goin’ Back To New Orleans’. I swear friends, a career summation and a bolt from the blue, if you only wants to own one Dr John album I say it should be this one and not ‘Gris-Gris’. I ain’t kiddin’ around neither and you can get it for peanuts – go buy a copy now. See, for the most part of the 1980’s the Dr was out to lunch so to speak, having allowed certain recreational diversions to overtake his professionalism you might say. Consideratin’ the way that decade turned out for a lot of other artists of his vintage I reckon we should all be grateful not to have a string of bad records weighed down with ugly production and the poor Dr takin’ up the god damn key-tar. Every cloud friends, every cloud. He come on back in ’89 with ‘In A Sentimental Mood’ from which ‘Makin Whoopee’ came, a set of string laden standards, it’s a good record but pretty damn safe, and clean soundin’ too. Still, it seems to have got ol’ Mac back on tha mule (instead o’ the horse y’unnerstand) and he came up with this marvel. ‘Goin’ Back To New Orleans’ takes the basic template of the ‘Gumbo’ album (revisitin’ the New Orleans music that made him) and goes full on widescreen and technicolor with it, for a guy who’s records are generally a little bit hit and miss there’s not a single wrong step on it anywhere. If this new record’s even close to this good I’ll be real happy ’bout it. Still, the roll was short lived, his next album ‘Television’ was a funk one but without The Meters and featuring a co-written duet with Antony ‘Red Hot Chili Pecker’ Keidis called ‘Shut D Fonk Up’, I ain’t foolin’. What can I say about that? Nuthin’ much you can add don’t just rub it on in, so check out Louis’s version of Basin St which definitely has more voodoo mystery than the Dr’s straighter R&B version…

Louis Armstrong – You Rascal You                                            

Dr. John – I’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Rascal You

Louis Armstrong – Now Do You Call That A Buddy?      

Dr. John – Do You Call That A Buddy?

Louis Armstrong – Basin Street Blues                                       

Dr. John – Basin Street Blues 

if that weren’t enough for you here’s Louis back in 1941, with Velma Middleton swingin’ it…

~ by Mumblin' Earl on March 30, 2012.

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