Dr. John – Gris-Gris

ARTIST: Dr. John 220px-DrjohnNighttripper
TITLE: Gris-Gris
YEAR RELEASED: 1968
CHART ACTION: None
SINGLES: I Walk on Guilded Splinters, Mama Roux
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya also has been on late night alternative radio
LINEUP: Dr. John, Harold Battiste, and a lot of LA-based New Orleans ex-pats
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Dr. John, The Night Tripper, creates a New Orleans psychedelic voodoo record masterpiece.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Mac Rebennack was an LA piano player with the Wrecking Crew that originally was from New Orleans. He carried his love for New Orleans and all of its mystical, magical, musical wonder and he developed a stage show incorporating New Orleans music, voodoo, and psychedelic soul. Thus, the character of Dr. John the Night Tripper, was born. Shortened to Dr. John, that became his stage name.

Each song is a separate piece of New Orleans music, from experimental jazzy incantations, traditional Caribbean and Cajun dances, almost straight forward R&B, to absolute voodoo masterpieces. Everything has a vibe, a groove and a little bit of voodoo. Dr. John, the Night Tripper is your guide through this wonderland, singing in a mix of English, French, and Cajun, whatever suits the mood. It’s a bit ‘acidic’ at times, especially on “Croker Courtbullion”, which is either a good trip or bad trip depending.

The absolute stellar track is “I Walk on Guilded Splinters”. Credited to Dr. John’s other pen name “Dr. John Creaux”. This mystical, magical trip has been recorded by many artists over the years, but this is the definitive version.

Gris-gris are amulets protecting the wearer from voodoo, but this album is voodoo itself.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Originally, Rebennack wanted his friend Ronnie Barron to be Dr. John the Night Tripper. Barron declined – didn’t think it would be good for his career.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

GRADE: A: A few people may be put off by some of the more “interesting” cuts, but my goodness everyone’s gotta walk on guilded splinters!

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