I have long been a fan of Dr. John, especially his early albums under that moniker, where he created a funky blues/voodoo mixture that just spoke to the soul. His output has been of variable quality over the years, so it was with a bit of excitement that I read that he was aiming to return to that sound with his latest release. I was even more excited to hear that Dan Auerbach, whose work the Black Keys I love, would also be heavily involved.
And the album does not disappoint. It really manages to deliver that dense funky sound one associates with early Dr. John, with that languid drawl hovering just above the music drawing us into some classic songs.
As well as a superb production, Dr. John is on fine song writing form. As with Sippiana Hericane he manages to take inspiration from things that impassion him, with either love or hate, and this spurs him on to produce some of his best songs in years. He describes the world from the perspective of someone who has lived in it for 70 years, and has seen all that life has to see. There is bewilderment at the modern world, and a mourning for some things that have been lost, and an anger that there is still so much inhumanity in the world. It is perhaps his most mature and well rounded work lyrically. Added to which vocally he is on top form, his voice never sounding better. It totally belies his age.
This album is a joy to listen to, and is really worth 5 stars. It is easily the Nite Tripper's best since Anutha Zone. In the same way as Cash, Solomon Burke and Tom Jones enjoyed late career artistic revival with a sympathetic producer it seems as though Dr. John has achieved the same here, and I sincerely hope there is more to come from this pairing of artist and producer.