1968-1970: Dr. John, the Night Tripper
Rebennack gained fame as a solo artist, beginning in the late 1960s, with music that combined New Orleans-style rhythm and blues with psychedelic rock and elaborate stage shows that bordered on voodoo religious ceremonies, including elaborate costumes and headdress. For a time he was billed as “Dr. John, the Night Tripper”. The name “Dr. John” came from a legendary Louisiana voodoo practitioner of the early 1800s.
Gris-Gris, his 1968 debut album combining voodoo rhythms and chants with the New Orleans music tradition, was highly-ranked on Rolling Stone’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. Three more albums, 1969’s Babylon, 1970’s Remedies, and 1971’s The Sun, Moon, and Herbs were released in the same vein of Gris-Gris, but none of them have enjoyed the popularity of his first album.
During early-mid 1969, Dr. John toured extensively, backed by supporting musicians Richard Didymus Washington (congas), Richard Crooks (drums), David Leonard Johnson (bass), Gary Carino (guitar) and singers Eleanor Barooshian, Jeanette Jacobs from The Cake and, Sherry Graddie. A second version formed later in the year for an extensive tour of the East Coast with Crooks and Johnson joined by Doug Hastings (guitar) and Don MacAllister (mandolin). David L. Johnson went on to play with Sweathog (band) and co-produced James Booker’s highly acclaimed, Lost Paramount Tapes.
By the time The Sun, Moon, and Herbs was released, he had gained a notable cult following, including artists such as Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, who both took part in the sessions for that album. This album would serve as a transition from his Night Tripper voodoo, psychedelic persona to one more closely associated with traditional New Orleans R&B and funk. His next album, Dr. John’s Gumbo, proved to be a landmark recording which is one of his most popular to this day.
Contrary to popular belief, Dr. John is NOT a medical doctor.
Edited by z-man-barzell on 16 Apr 2009, 00:36
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