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4.6 out of 5 stars35
4.6 out of 5 stars
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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.
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on 23 August 2015
A masteful abum, probably one of his best (I also love some of his earliest from 70/80ies + "Back to New Orleans", that represents the jazz and traditional side of Dr John). Here he creates a unique mix of contemporary rhythm and sounds and bluesy melodies, sometimes even recalling Choirs and Chants from the N.O. music, that is a contamination of different musics itself.
It can as well be listened to as a brilliant contemporary album, and it works great even if you do not nothing about him.
Tracks are all sublime, lyrics and moods are smart and ironic, with some burlesque and grotesque flavour that runs through the whole album.
A must have, dense, stimulating and rich
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on 15 October 2012
Having a number of Dr John's albums, when I spotted this new one on his website, a play of the sample track - Revolution - was a must. I was immediately hooked. A fine, balanced sound. I have only heard this quality of music previously from the good Doctor when he worked with the late Wardell Quezergue. If you don't know Dr John's music, this would be a very good place to start. Then move on to "N'Awlinz - Dis Dat Or D'Udda" for a great range of different styles.
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on 4 April 2012
Between 1968 and 1972, New Orleans-cum-L.A. session musician Mac Rebennack transformed himself into Dr. John, The Nite Tripper.
He recorded a series of albums for Atlantic, most importantly "Gris-Gris", but also "Babylon", "Remedies", and "The Sun, Moon, & Herbs"; they seamlessly wove a heady, swampy brew of voodoo ritual, funk, and R&B, psychedelic rock, and Creole roots music.
The Black Keys' guitarist Dan Auerbach admitted upon meeting Rebennack that he wanted to produce a Dr. John album and to revisit the Nite Tripper's musical terrain on record.
The pair worked in Auerbach's Nashville studio with a group of younger players to explore the rawer, spookier elements in Dr. John's music.
"Locked Down" is not an attempt to re-create "Gris-Gris", which remains his classic; it -- and the other three records -- resembled nothing that existed before.
Auerbach and Dr. John wanted to make a modern recording that drew on the spontaneous, more organic feel of those records; they succeeded in spades.
"Locked Down" isn't quite swampy, but it is humid, even steamy. Its grooves are tight but raw and immediate. Its lyrics and music are charged with spiritual energy, carnal desire, and righteous indignation. It melds primal rock, careening R&B, and electric blues in an irresistible, downright nasty brew.
The fingerpopping horn chart that announces "Revolution", is underscored by a fat baritone sax, an urgent, shake-your-ass bassline, and pulsing guitars.
Drum breaks are constant in accompanying Rebennack's screed against corruption, "religious" hatred, and violence, which degrade humanity.
His Wurlitzer solo is brief yet searing.
"Ice Age"'s guitar, drum, and percussion vamp are deadly infectious. Rebennack's voice growls about collusion between the CIA and KKK and the end of an era, as the McCrary Sisters complement the vocals with an R&B chorus line in affirmation.
His organ drones and wheezes to complete the picture, yet turns the last line into possibility: "If you ain't iced/you got the breath of life within".
The electric piano on "Getaway" sets up a funktastic, bluesed-out swing. The guitars and Nick Movshon's hyper bassline drive it urgently with clusters of surf-like chords, reverb, and effects, completed by a roiling, over-the rails Auerbach solo.
"Eleggua" is pure spaced-out Nite Tripper, a cosmic funky butt strut; its chanted mystical prayers come from the world of flesh and spirit; it's populated by slippery, watery guitars, wailing B-3, broken snare beats, and even a flute.
That feel is underscored in the nocturnal shift and shimmer of "My Children, My Angels", driven by Rebennack's Rhodes, guitars, and a skittering snare.
It's greasy yet somehow in synch with this love letter from a repentant father to his kids.
Rebennack and Auerbach send it off, appropriately enough, with rock & roll gospel in "God's Sure Good" and a joyous chorus from the McCrary's behind-the-lyric's gratitude, highlighted by a swelling B-3 and backbone-slipping grit.
No matter which era or what record you prefer, as an album, "Locked Down" stands with Rebennack's best. T. Jurek

Gris-Gris
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on 24 December 2012
I am not hugely familiar with Dr John. I do own a "Best Of" album with some of his better known stuff and also "Gris Gris". I really like this record. It has typically laconic Dr John delivery against a hard driving, spikes, bluesy rock band. The songs are strong and the musicianship superb.
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on 3 April 2012
Just as with 1998's "Anutha Zone" Dr John's fortunes receive a welcome boost from a timely association with some thrusting young talent, this time under the tutelage of The Black Keys' Dan Auerbach whose stamp on the proceedings is unmistakeable right from the opening bars.

A quick glance at the cover art with the good doctor in full Nite Tripper get-up leaves little doubt about where this one's headed. Swampy, funky, brash and joyously pyschedelic it's a return to what the doc does best and he's clearly enjoying himself, now in his seventies but still sounding as good as ever.

Rock, jazz, gospel, trad, r&b...all stirred into a rich gumbo that simmers very nicely most of the time and comes to the boil just when needed.

There's much to enjoy, "Ice Age", "Eleggua" and the title track chief among the highlights. The unexpectedly tender "My Children, My Angels" reveals an artist approaching his twilight years after some notoriously hard living but thoroughly content with his lot and having made his peace with the journey that has brought him here.
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on 21 April 2013
The sound is more mainstream than his Capital recordings but still a good album. Fans will want it anyway, those who have not come across the earlier recordings will I feel enjoy this album but those who have only encountered his 70's recordings may be disappointed
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on 10 January 2013
un sonido extraordinariamente pantanoso, canciones muy diferentes unas de otr.as si Dr John es un grande, con esta ayudita del black key Dan la cosa se ha puesto de pm
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on 4 July 2013
This is Dr.John close to his best, with an excellent band. A lot less meandering than he can be, these tracks have the stamp of New Orleans authority.
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on 6 December 2012
One of the best this year and one of best from Dr John's arsenal. Certainly recommended to old and new music explorers.
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