Dr. John, “Revolution”
Locked Down, 2012
It’s a little known fact that Dr. John used to play guitar until his finger was blown off trying to defend his bandmate from a pistol-whipping. He then switched to piano and has been swamping it up ever since.
The king of New Orleans has returned with Locked Down, an album produced by The Black Keys Dan Auerbach, and it is overflowing with the freaky, voodoo, jazz funk that Dr. John has been serving up like gumbo for decades.
The first single,Revolution is a melting pot of vintage RnB backing, chunky grooves and honking brass. He leads us into the muddy swamp and leaves us there.
A couple of notes are thumbed out by a 60s sounding guitar, then the horns enter and blast a rumbling riff above the guitar’s tight upstrokes and a busy drum kit.
Dr. Johns nasal, squeezed, growl of a voice rolls along over the top whilst he taps at warm sounding keyboard, later spinning out a Door’s-like organ solo over double time drums and stabbing horns.
Still maintaining the ability to write enigmatic lyrics, Dr. John leaves us with lines like:
“Blind eyes of justice….Lepers in a desperate hour…”
A little odd, I’ll grant you. But when they’re delivered over the stickiest, thickest psychedelic swamp jam you’ll hear this year, who really cares what he’s talking about?