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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!


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Showing posts with label Dr John. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dr John. Show all posts

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Dr John has passed - Our prayers are with his family and friends

 DR John, the flamboyant New Orleans singer-pianist whose hoodoo-drenched music made him the summarizing figure of the grand Crescent City R&B/rock ‘n’ roll tradition, died Thursday of a heart attack at age 77.

“Towards the break of day June 6, iconic music legend Malcolm John Rebennack, Jr., known as Dr. John, passed away of a heart attack,” a statement on his social media pages said. “The family thanks all whom shared his unique musical journey & requests privacy at this time. Memorial arrangements will be announced in due course.”
Rebennack had already tallied more than a decade of experience as a session musician in his hometown and Los Angeles when he rose to solo fame in the late ‘60s after concocting his voodoo-influenced, patois-laced persona of “the Night Tripper.”
In their history of postwar New Orleans music “Up From the Cradle of Jazz,” Jason Berry, Jonathan Foose and Tad Jones wrote richly of the artist they called “a true original
The writers described him exclamatorily: “Dr. John! – sunglasses and radiant colors, feathers and plumes, bones and beads around his neck, the crusty blues voice rich in dialect cadences, and then the man himself in motion: scattering glitter to the crowds, pumping the keyboard, a human carnival to behold.”
After flashing his fantastical character on a quartet of early albums that garnered him an enthusiastic underground following, Dr. John settled in to become New Orleans’ great latter-day exponent of bayou funk and jazz, playing in a style that reconciled the diverse streams of the city’s music.
His early ‘70s work was distinguished by a collection of historic New Orleans favorites, “Gumbo,” and a pair of albums with famed New Orleans producer-arranger-songwriter Allen Toussaint and funk quartet the Meters – the first of which, “In the Right Place,” spawned a top-10 hit.
He memorably branched into traditional pop with his 1989 album “Sentimental Journey”; the album spawned the first of his six Grammy Awards, for “Makin’ Whoopee,” a duet with Ricki Lee Jones.
Dr. John would delve deeper into jazz terrain later in his peripatetic career with Bluesiana Triangle, a collaboration with saxophonist David “Fathead” Newman and drummer Art Blakey, and homages to Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. But the earthy R&B of his hometown served as his main stylistic and emotional propellant.
In 2008, his Grammy-winning collection “City That Care Forgot” dwelled movingly on the havoc wreaked on his city by 2005’s Hurricane Katrina.
As an in-demand sideman, he recorded with Levon Helm, Gregg Allman, Van Morrison, Harry Connick, Jr., Ringo Starr and B.B. King, among others.  He released “Triumvirate,” a “super session” date with guitarists Mike Bloomfield and John Hammond, Jr., in 1973.
His turns on the big screen ranged from a memorable performance in Martin Scorsese’s documentary about the Band’s farewell performance “The Last Waltz” (1978) to an appearance as a member of the fictional “Louisiana Gator Boys” in “Blues Brothers 2000” (1998). He guested regularly on the New Orleans-set HBO dramatic series “Treme” in 2010-13.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2011.
He was born Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, Jr., in New Orleans on Nov. 21, 1940, and raised in the city’s Third Ward. He grew up in a musical environment, and began playing the family piano early. He acquired a guitar as an adolescent, and it became his principal instrument during his early professional career.
Fats Domino’s guitarist Walter “Papoose” Nelson became an inspiration and mentor. In his early teens, and his father introduced him to Cosimo Matassa, whose studio J&M Music spawned major R&B hits by Domino and other local R&B stars.
By the time he dropped out of Jesuit High School in the 11th grade, he had already acquired a taste for heroin and the chops to work as a session guitarist at J&M, where he played his first date behind singer Paul Gayten.
During this period, he got to know some of the city’s most influential keyboardists, including Professor Longhair and the eccentric virtuoso James Booker (who taught him to play organ and later joined Dr. John’s touring band).
He recorded steadily, appearing on local hits by Jerry Byrne (“Lights Out”) and Roland Stone (“Down the Road,” aka “Junko Partner”) and as a leader (including the 1959 instrumental “Storm Warning”). He also worked as an A&R man and sideman for Johnny Vincent’s Ace Records.
On Christmas Eve 1961 on a tour stop in Jacksonville, Fla., Rebennack and pianist Ronnie Barron got involved in a scuffle with a motel owner, and the guitarist was shot in his fretting hand, nearly severing the ring finger on his fretting hand. During a slow recovery, he moved first to bass, and later to keyboards.
The studio scene in New Orleans was beginning to dry up in the early ‘60s when Rebennack was busted for heroin possession, drawing a two-year sentence in federal prison in Texas.
On his release from jail in 1965, he headed to Los Angeles, where a group of New Orleans expatriates that included producer-arranger Harold Battiste had set up shop as studio musicians. He worked with, among others, Canned Heat, the Mothers of Invention and Sonny & Cher.
In L.A., Rebennack moved to fulfill a lingering musical concept grounded in New Orleans history that he had originally developed for the reluctant Ronnie Barron.
In his 1994 autobiography “Under a Hoodoo Moon,” he wrote, “In the 1840s and 1850s, one New Orleans root doctor was preeminent in the city for the awe in which he was held by the poor and the fear and notoriety he inspired among the rich. Known variously as John Montaigne, Bayou John, and most often Dr. John, he was a figure larger than life.”
Using studio time left over from a Sonny & Cher session, Rebennack and Battiste cut an album of hazy, incantatory songs steeped in Crescent City voodoo imagery. Issued by Atlantic Records’ Atco subsidiary as “Gris-Gris,” the collection failed to chart, but it inaugurated several years of extroverted live shows that established Dr. John as a unique under-the-radar performer.
Three more similarly styled albums – “Babylon” (1969), “Remedies” (1970) and “The Sun Moon and Herbs” (1971) – deepened the Dr. John image; the latter album, recorded in London, included guest appearances by Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger.
However, he turned away from his original swampy style for an album he described in the notes as “More Gumbo, Less Gris Gris.” Co-produced by Battiste and Jerry Wexler, “Gumbo” (1972) was devoted to covers of New Orleans roots music by Longhair, Huey “Piano” Smith, Sugarboy Crawford and others; its good-time Mardi Gras atmosphere lifted it to No. 112 on the charts.
His first set with Toussaint and the Meters became his biggest commercial success: “In the Right Place” (No. 24, 1973) included the No. 9 single “Right Place Wrong Time.” While the follow-up LP “Desitively Bonnaroo” (1974) failed to duplicate its predecessor’s popularity, its title inspired the name of the popular Bonaroo Festival.
A schism with Atlantic – possibly prompted by Wexler’s daughter Anita’s introduction to heroin by Dr. John – led to a period of label-jumping by the musician.
In 1989, he landed at Warner Bros. Records with “In a Sentimental Mood,” a well-received set of standards elegantly produced by Tommy LiPuma that included the Grammy-winning duet with Jones. That year, he finally kicked his more than three-decade addiction to heroin. Another Grammy winner, the self-descriptive “Goin’ Back to New Orleans,” followed in 1992.
He abided as an “eminence gris-gris” for the remainder of his career. He settled in for a long stay at Blue Note Records in the new millennium; his five-album sojourn for the imprint was inaugurated the Ellington tribute “Duke Elegant” in 2000. (His homage to trumpeter Armstrong, “Ske-Dat-De-Dat,” was released by Concord in 2014.
The intensely felt “City That Care Forgot” was succeeded by the atypical “Locked Down” for Nonesuch Records in 2012; the album, produced by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys and eschewing pianistics for a tough hard rock-based sound, also collected a Grammy as best blues album.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Severn Records artists: The Original Blues Brothers Band - The Last Shade of Blue Before Black - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, The Last Shade Of Blue Before Black, by The Original Blues Brothers Band and it's great! Opening with Jimmy Reed's Baby What You Want Me To Do, Bobby "Sweet Soul" Harden with Tommy "Pipes" McDonnell on harp and vocals and Rob "The Honeydripper" Paparozzi on harp and vocals take center stage with super harmony and John Tropea plays terrific guitar soloing backed by Tom Malone on trumpet, Baron Raymonde on alto sax, Eric "The Red" Udel on bass, Lee "Funkytime" Finkelstein on drums, Leon "The Lion" Pendarvis on organ, Rusty "Cloudmeister" Cloud on clav, Wurlitzer and piano. High stepping, Cherry Street, features McDonnell on lead vocals, Birch Johnson on trombone and Raymonde really rips on alto sax. Eddie Floyd is up on lead vocals on slinky, On Saturday A Night, and guest Tom Malone on bari sax  and with tight, warm horn backing. Harden takes the lead on funky, Itch and Scratch. This is a mover with hot horn work pushing all the way and snappy drum work over the funky bass line by Udel. Joe Louis Walker had the lead on Willie Dixon's Don't Go No Further. This track has a great groove with Rob Paparozzi on chromatic harp and featuring a cool harp solo by Tommy McDonnell. This track is saturated with soulful horns punctuated by Steve Howard's trumpet solo and a  classic guitar solo by Matt "Guitar' Murphy. A hot version of James Brown's Sex Machine is lead by Paul Shaffer on lead vocal and piano with David Spinozza on guitar and Tom Malone on trumpet. New Orleans flavored, Your Feet's Too Big has Paparozzi on lead vocal and harp. The horn work throughout is super with standout solos on this track by Cloud on piano and Lou Marini on clarinet. Excellent! Dr. John is front and center on Qualified with his distinctive vocal and piano styling. With Birch Johnson on trombone, Baron Raymonde on alto sax, Lou Marini on bari and tenor sax solos, this is one of my favorites on the release. Title track, The Last Shade Of Blue Before Black has a real nice Johnny Guitar Watson bluesy R&B feel featuring Lou Marini on lead vocal. This is a super closer with Tropea featured with some ultra tasty guitar and a sultry tenor sax solo by Marini. Excellent! 

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Big Blues Bender Announces Fabulous Lineup for Sept!

The Bender is Sept 7.8.9.10, 2017

Big Blues Bender Announces Fabulous Lineup for Sept!

LAS VEGAS, NV. – The Big Blues Bender, one of the most talked about Blues events in the country, has announced an impressive 2017 lineup. The Big Blues Bender offers what could be their best artist lineup to date, offering a wide variety of first-class music and entertainment including, Mavis Staples, Dr. John, Tab Benoit, Walter Trout, and many more. This four-night all-inclusive music experience delivers eighteen hours of live music, daily, on three indoor stages and a fabulous pool stage all under one roof, featuring the most talented and sought after Blues artists touring today.




The 4th annual Big Blues Bender will take place Sept. 7.8.9.10, 2017 at the legendary Plaza Hotel & Casino at the top of the world famous “Fremont Street Experience” in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas. The Big Blues Bender has quickly become a festival favorite among Blues fans and artists alike – a bucket-list event for all, selling out far in advance last year. “The Big Blues Bender is more than just a Blues festival, it’s an experience,” said AJ Gross, the event’s founder, and President. “Four days and nights of music and accommodations, with Everything, An Elevator Ride Away!”
Wanna see the full lineup? Here ya go –> Bender Lineup Ready to Attend? Big Blues Bender is sold as "Packages" that include your accommodations as well as your event pass or as a four-day event pass that's good for all events and activities but does not include your hotel accommodations. Pick the option that's best for you! Have you booked yet?  Book  Now:
BigBluesBender.com September 7.8.9.10, check out is Monday, Sept 11th at 11 am.




The 2017 Big Blues Bender Lineup!


It's all about the music... It's ALWAYS about the music! We're proud to have this fine roster of amazing artists joining us for the 4th Big Blues Bender! Click on their names below for more details.
 






















2017 Bender Packages

Look over your options and find the best place to lay your head at the Bender!

Four Day Music Only Wristband
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
Not Applicable
$499 per person
Rollin’ Stone Run of House
Randomly Assigned
Randomly Assigned
Randomly Assigned
Single Occupancy
$1049 per person

Boogie Chillen Run of House
Randomly Assigned
Randomly Assigned
Randomly Assigned
Double Occupancy
$674 per person
Boom Boom Room
North Tower
Choose King or 2 Queens
Non-smoking ONLY
Double Occupancy
$724 per person

Hoochie Coochie
South Tower
Choose King or 2 Queens
Choose smoking or non
Double Occupancy
$774 per person
Baller On A Budget Junior Suite
North Tower
1 King Bed
Non-smoking ONLY
Double Occupancy
$1599 per person

Big Daddy Baller 5th Floor Pool Level
South Tower
Choose King or 2 Queens
Non-smoking ONLY
Double Occupancy
$1649 per person
Big Daddy Baller Mini Suite

South Tower
1 King Bed
Choose smoking or non
Double Occupancy
$1699 per person

Big Daddy Baller 1 Bedroom Suite
South Tower
1 King Bed
Choose smoking or non
Double Occupancy
$1899 per person
Big Daddy Baller Pool Patio Room
South Tower
2 Queens ONLY
Non-smoking only
Double Occupancy
$2099 per person

Big Daddy Baller Penthouse Suite

South Tower
1 King Bed
Smoking allowed
Double Occupancy
$2099 per person
Big Daddy Baller 2 Bedroom Suite (4 people)
South Tower
1 King & 2 Queens
Smoking allowed
Quad Occupancy
$1749 per person

Big Daddy Baller Derby Suite (4 people)
South Tower
1 King & 2 Kings
Smoking allowed
Quad Occupancy
$1999 per person

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