“1970’s Remedies found Dr. John in full-on Night Tripper mode, particularly on side long Angola Anthem, which someone once told me was pure evil. To which I now say, nah, but it is about an evil place, Angola Prison, Louisiana (the Alcatraz of the South), the kind of place that hardened criminals would break down at the mere mention of, because doing time at Angola was a journey to the nightmarish past, the days of slavery. I don’t think Dr. John (aka “Mac” Rebennack) ever did time there himself, but a little research reveals he did do some federal time in Texas, so the feeling is he must have heard some stories. So yeah, welcome to those nightmares.” (Philip Random)
“Dr. John (aka Mac Rebennack) serves up some genuinely weird gumbo with one of those songs that sound exactly like what they’re about, not that I’m remotely clear what this is about. Except how could it not be about great primordial swamps, and heat, and weird stews laced with certain medicinal ingredients, which thus take one well beyond normal notions of space, time, meaning, unmeaning. From 1971’s The Sun Moon + Herbs, one of those albums that’s always existed way outside of time, both backward looking and still lightyears beyond any now that’s ever been. I’d call it beautiful but that would just confuse things.” (Philip Random)
It’s 1969 and Malcolm John Rebennack (aka Dr. John) is deep into his Night Tripper phase with Babylon (both song and album) hitting like a strange and delirious warning of great trials and tribulations to come. Babylon being the great city-state of Ancient Mesopotamia that lasted more than two thousand years before finally dissolving into the sands of time. Babylon being the root of the word babble, that state in language acquisition, during which an infant appears to be experimenting with uttering all the weird and wonderful sounds of language, but not yet producing any recognizable words – confusion in a word, but with a purpose.