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W;PAUL WELLER, SUPERGRASS, PORTISHEAD, JOOLS HOLLANDDISC 11. ZONATA2. KIYA GRIS GRIS3. VOICES IN MY HEAD - FEAT.GAZ COOMBES,MIKE QUINN4. HELLO GOD - FEAT. JASON PIERCE5. JOHN GRIS - FEAT. JASON PEIRCE6. PARTY HELLFIRE - FEAT.P.WELLER, C.ANDERSON7. I DONand#039;T WANT TO KNOW - FEAT.PAUL WELLER, JOOLS HOL8. ANUTHA ZONE9. I LIKE KIYOKA10. THE OLIVE TREE11. SOULFOUL WARRIOR12. THE STROKE13. SWEET HOME NEW ORLEANS - FEAT.MARTIN DUFF, CLIVE D
For those of us who long for the days when Dr John smeared himself with face paint, wore impossibly large headdresses and sang about gris-gris, gumbo ya-ya, and croker courtbullion, Anutha Zone is indeed a heartening development. For too long Dr John has paid the bills as a genteel purveyor of tasteful blues and Tin Pan Alley standards, and while it's helped him sustain a career and win Grammies, it's probably used up about an eighth of his true potential as an artist and musician. In the late 1960s, Dr John was a visionary musical alchemist, working with psychedelic imagery and funky rhythms to nab the rock crowd, then plying them with spooky swampland mythology and raw Southern R&B. On Anutha Zone, Dr John digs deep into that murky musical well once again, with stunning results. "John Gris", "Party Hellfire" and "Soulful Warrior" brilliantly fuse slow-burn grooves, sly musicianship and Dr John's elegantly gruff vocals, conjuring images of dark revelry down French Quarter back alleyways. --Marc Weingarten
Top Customer Reviews
"I like Ki Yoka" has world music influences with it's African backing vocals and percussion, "Sweet home New Orleans" is probably the most heart felt & loving tribute to Dr John's home town as you'll ever hear,"Party hellfire" is worth a careful lisen to the humourus vocals delivered in that trademrk rasping voice,"Ki Ya Gris Gris" and "John Gris" are heavily voodoo/gospel tinged and just to show that he does have a gentle side "I don't wanna know" is delivered with tenderness and warmth that goes against the grain of the album but is welcome nevertheless.
What sets this apart from a lot of Dr John's other albums is that there is a consistent African/Voodoo/Religious/World music feel about the whole thing which i can't recall being conceived by anybody prior to this album.
Here he collaborates with many UK musicians including Paul Weller and Supergrass, but don't let this put you off.. the work is still all that you would expect of Dr John. Another masterpiece.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Like "Gris Gris", "Anutha Zone" partakes of the spiritual and magical in places -- but unlike "Gris Gris", "Anutha Zone" benefits from all of the higher-quality production techniques of thirty years later. You can even hear a little of "Walk on Gilded Splinters" in "John Gris", with the female backup chorus (mostly the London Gospel Community Choir).
And while I'm on the subject of backups, let me just mention how ably the good Doctor is supported by his band. Butt-twitchin rhythm provided by the likes of percussionist Sammy Figueroa and a variety of kit drummers, and powerfully sensitive guitar playing by Paul Weller, Bobby Broom and Matt Deighton.
And as for the Doctor himself? He's at the top of his form, lyrically and musically (on some of the songs, his wife Cat Yellen shares the lyric credit). My favorite line in the entire album, from the title track:
"And the lesson you can never forget / is the lesson you ain't gotten yet."
From somber and pensive to greeeezy richness to unabashed party-fonk, that gumbo-spice voice sure is to my taste, and it's never tasted better.
As for individual tracks, my favorite is I Don't Want to Know, which is really a beautiful and uplifting combination of lyric and music. Soulful Warrior is also a strong musical statement. Sweet Home New Orleans deviates from the rest of the pack in both sound and theme and, while good, doesn't fit the rest of the album. Everything in between is very good to great, with the possible exception of the The Stroke and the chorus in Hello God, which I found somewhat grating, and the end Voices in my Head, which to me remains a sonic mush nothwithstanding the obvious theme.
I urge you to give this a few listens before making up your mind on it - in that way it kind of reminds me of Exile on Main Street - both are dense and murky, but when the lightbulb finally comes on, it shines pretty brightly.
Probably a 4 1/2 star effort, but I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.