163. walk on gilded splinters

“I seem to recall Dr. John getting some late night FM radio play way back when, and not just the obvious hit. And then there was that time he showed up on TV in full Night Tripper guise — headdress, voodoo regalia and deeply strange music to match. But it would be decades before I’d finally hear a full album. 1968’s Gris Gris to be specific, bought cheap at a yard sale, and a delicious gumbo it was – the musical equivalent of rare herbs, old bones, strange elixirs, a little bit of everything. In other words, soul, blues, gospel, honky tonk, even a few voodoo chants. But that’s what it takes, I guess, if you mean to go walking on splinters, gilded or otherwise.”

DrJohn-NightTripperLIVE-1970

(photo: Richard Blair)

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610. Angola Anthem

“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)

DRJohn-1970