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Author Topic: Dr John RIP  (Read 742 times)
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« on: June 06, 2019, 03:19:18 PM »

Oh my
Our local station announced that Dr John has passed away.
He’s had some health issues these past few years .
A very sad day here. Another local icon gone.
RIP  Embarrassed
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"No White Flags." - Team Gleason

"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon

 "The best thing you can be 'like' in music is yourself." Dr. John
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« Reply #1 on: June 06, 2019, 03:29:36 PM »

Who is it? Didn't hear such name b4. Preferably w/ links to best songs.
NB check Cats thread.
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« Reply #2 on: June 06, 2019, 03:33:09 PM »

 Roll Eyes
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« Reply #3 on: June 06, 2019, 04:12:55 PM »

Dr John (real name Mac Rebbenack) grew up in New Orleans. As a teenager he sat in on some recording sessions here. He moved to Los Angeles in the 1960s and was at one point I believe in the "Wrecking Crew." In 1968 he released a weird album, Gris Gris (pronounced gree gree). Full of wild New Orleans voodoo references. Might not be everyone's cup of tea but I like it.

He later on became famous on regular radio for the songs Such a Night, and Right Place, Wrong Time. He has a distinctly growly voice.

 He was a great pianist and over the years went back and forth between R&B/funk and some more old timey piano stylings..I

Besides the two mentioned, give a listen to Mama Roux from the Gris Gris album, or his take on the classic Iko Iko from his Gumbo album if you wish to get into some more of his music. Very distinctive.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 04:18:53 PM by NOLA BB Fan » Logged

"No White Flags." - Team Gleason

"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon

 "The best thing you can be 'like' in music is yourself." Dr. John
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« Reply #4 on: June 06, 2019, 04:17:53 PM »

Thanks. Seems like cool musician. Will check Gris Gris.
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Gene Tierney is beautiful. She's talented.

"Broiler Brunch" - check in theaters new fam TV series! Better than since Bradys!
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« Reply #5 on: June 06, 2019, 04:20:33 PM »

Also check out some of his live performances online. Wore some wild costumes and had many colorful performers with him as well over the years.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 05:12:36 PM by NOLA BB Fan » Logged

"No White Flags." - Team Gleason

"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon

 "The best thing you can be 'like' in music is yourself." Dr. John
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« Reply #6 on: June 06, 2019, 07:31:19 PM »

RIP Mac, The Doctor...what a loss. What a great musician and performer.

For RangeRover and others, here's a quick rundown of his story...it's fascinating, apart from the usual obituaries that will come tonight and tomorrow, check out some bios of him for more info.

So what happened was Mac was a young prodigy in New Orleans. He was a popular club performer, and unfortunately some criminal elements got involved with his career early on. At a young age, they would send beautiful women who were in their employ to be his companions. They also got him hooked on heroin...so basically when Mac needed a fix and needed money, he would become basically indentured to these club owners (and that syndicate). Mac would be obligated to play these clubs essentially for a fix, and the club owners made a fortune on him because the crowds would pack the clubs to hear him, and he wasn't getting all the money. It was all going to the drugs. And the club owners/syndicate would have a full supply of both their women and the dope to keep him basically a slave to play music at these joints. Mac got busted selling both entities, and ended up in Federal prison.

This is the version of events I've heard and was told, any corrections are welcome. That part of the story is not as often heard.

Ok, enter another New Orleans musician named Harold Battiste, one of the great behind the scenes musicians in New Orleans and in Los Angeles.

Harold Battiste had established himself in Los Angeles and was working sessions with the Wrecking Crew on some very big records. He knew he had to get Mac out of the bad scene he was stuck in around New Orleans. So Harold helped get Mac out to LA, when he got out of the fed pen, and started to get him session work, alongside the Wrecking Crew, most often on guitar even though he became world famous as a pianist later. So Harold was getting Mac steady work in the LA studios, including Sonny Bono's sessions (keep that in mind...), and this was around 1965.

What Harold and Mac would do is utilize extra time which Sonny had booked but not used to start making their own recordings, with a very heavy New Orleans flavor, yet very dark in sound and subject matter. This is where they started developing the persona of "Dr. John The Night Tripper", complete with voodoo and New Orleans hoodoo overtones and imagery. They would record using that extra studio time from Sonny and eventually were ready with enough material to start pitching Dr. John as an album artist.

And that is where Mac became Dr. John, where he with help from Battiste got out of the mess he was in from New Orleans and cleaned up, and where basically history would be made.

Very few had made the New Orleans black magic and voodoo themes (and persona) a commercial hit, surely not in rock music that rock stations would play. The big names that had broken commercially, like Aaron Neville and the Neville Brothers, all of Allen Toussaint's work, a smash hit like Lee Dorsey's "Working In A Coal Mine" with that *crazy* New Orleans drum groove, The Meters, previous hits in the 50's with Earl Palmer on drums, Fats Domino, etc...it was pure New Orleans but the "Night Tripper" persona brought some of the New Orleans voodoo and superstitions and whatnot into the mainstream. And the music had that foreboding sound which the other commercially successful hits (minus perhaps 'I Put A Spell On You') did not have upfront.

So that's Dr. John...Mac Rebennack...The Night Tripper...

Here he is playing guitar on a session for Sonny Bono and Cher, with Harold Battiste, at Gold Star studio early 1966. A photo taken from my old blog (link here http://classicstudiosessions.blogspot.com/2010/07/classic-session-at-gold-star-1966.html ) and project on this film:



A few samples, this was probably his biggest commercial hit, "Right Place, Wrong Time", used in quite a few movies, shows, and TV commercials...the intro is *nasty*.  Smiley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grzL8THFlUs

This was Dr. John's appearance in The Band's "The Last Waltz", doing "Such A Night"...what is odd is that Allen Toussaint did the horn arrangements for the concert, yet there isn'tmuch of a horn part on this one. But stay tuned to 2:55 in the video to hear Dr. John cut loose on some great piano licks...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCRrXZP8b0I

And from that first Dr. John album, probably the most well known track, "I Walk On Gilded Splinters"...still sounds spooky as hell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lekQoT485aA

As a vocalist and piano player, Dr. John had a unique sound, instantly identifiable.

RIP



« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 07:34:53 PM by guitarfool2002 » Logged

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« Reply #7 on: June 06, 2019, 08:50:58 PM »

Great post, GF. And thanks for the shout out for the great Harold Battiste.
Gonna go listen to Gris-Gris now.
« Last Edit: June 06, 2019, 08:53:18 PM by NOLA BB Fan » Logged

"No White Flags." - Team Gleason

"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon

 "The best thing you can be 'like' in music is yourself." Dr. John
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« Reply #8 on: June 07, 2019, 02:13:29 AM »

R. I. P.
One of New Orleans' most legendary musicians.
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2019, 02:29:19 AM »

Sad news.

My first memory of Mac Rebennack was as Dr. John (Creaux) the Night Tripper. "I Walk On Guilded Splinters" from Gris Gris got played a lot in '68--it seems to have been a double-sided 45:
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kWvdO3l4_P8

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Walk_on_Guilded_Splinters

My last memory of Dr. John was as a guest pianist on Spiritualized's "Cop Shoot Cop" (1997):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gKmrQ-Jjuv8

Rest in peace, sir.
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« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2019, 02:38:20 AM »

I remember in the mid 1990's, VH1 used to have a show I believe called "Duets", and there was an episode with Dr John and Eric Clapton.
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2019, 04:56:34 AM »

I remember in the mid 1990's, VH1 used to have a show I believe called "Duets", and there was an episode with Dr John and Eric Clapton.

This looks like the one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u-Fc6c52gas

Pretty cool!
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2019, 05:01:24 AM »

Quote from: guitarfool2002
For RangeRover and others, here's a quick rundown of his story...it's fascinating
Thanks to help, GF.  Smiley Cool detailed info as I like. 3D I discover new musicians & their respective music thanks to you & the other few. I may visit this thread again to share Gris Gris review when find it & listen at least 3 times.
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Gene Tierney is beautiful. She's talented.

"Broiler Brunch" - check in theaters new fam TV series! Better than since Bradys!
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« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2019, 12:32:16 PM »

Please check out video online:

 "Dr John gets a second line sendoff in the Treme"

Large group of people celebrating his life, brass band playing the classic "I'll Fly Away"
(Btw, Treme is pronounced "Truh MAY." It's the neighborhood just north of the French Quarter)
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"No White Flags." - Team Gleason

"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon

 "The best thing you can be 'like' in music is yourself." Dr. John
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2019, 12:55:55 PM »

Please check out video online:

 "Dr John gets a second line sendoff in the Treme"

Large group of people celebrating his life, brass band playing the classic "I'll Fly Away"
(Btw, Treme is pronounced "Truh MAY." It's the neighborhood just north of the French Quarter)

Oooff, what a send-off! How many trombones did I count? Ten?? Shocked

Best send-off anyone could ever wish for. Thanks very much for that, Lizzie. Smiley
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« Reply #15 on: June 08, 2019, 03:02:02 PM »

Oh yeah. Trombones rule!  Grin
My Mother and her brother played trombone in their respective school bands.
(My Father played the trumpet in High School and baritone in College)
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"No White Flags." - Team Gleason

"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon

 "The best thing you can be 'like' in music is yourself." Dr. John
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« Reply #16 on: June 08, 2019, 03:59:23 PM »

What's "sendoff"?
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Gene Tierney is beautiful. She's talented.

"Broiler Brunch" - check in theaters new fam TV series! Better than since Bradys!
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« Reply #17 on: June 08, 2019, 05:42:55 PM »

In this case, "sendoff" is when people get together to honor the dead person, showing them the love, the joy as well as the tears, as the dead person's spirit goes on to a better place.
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"No White Flags." - Team Gleason

"(Brian) got into this really touching music with songs like 'In My Room', and 'Good Vibrations' was amazing. The melodies are so beautiful, almost perfect. I began to realize he was one of the most gifted writers of our generation." - Paul Simon

 "The best thing you can be 'like' in music is yourself." Dr. John
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« Reply #18 on: June 09, 2019, 01:14:35 PM »

RIP Mac, The Doctor...what a loss. What a great musician and performer.

For RangeRover and others, here's a quick rundown of his story...it's fascinating, apart from the usual obituaries that will come tonight and tomorrow, check out some bios of him for more info.

So what happened was Mac was a young prodigy in New Orleans. He was a popular club performer, and unfortunately some criminal elements got involved with his career early on. At a young age, they would send beautiful women who were in their employ to be his companions. They also got him hooked on heroin...so basically when Mac needed a fix and needed money, he would become basically indentured to these club owners (and that syndicate). Mac would be obligated to play these clubs essentially for a fix, and the club owners made a fortune on him because the crowds would pack the clubs to hear him, and he wasn't getting all the money. It was all going to the drugs. And the club owners/syndicate would have a full supply of both their women and the dope to keep him basically a slave to play music at these joints. Mac got busted selling both entities, and ended up in Federal prison.

This is the version of events I've heard and was told, any corrections are welcome. That part of the story is not as often heard.

Ok, enter another New Orleans musician named Harold Battiste, one of the great behind the scenes musicians in New Orleans and in Los Angeles.

Harold Battiste had established himself in Los Angeles and was working sessions with the Wrecking Crew on some very big records. He knew he had to get Mac out of the bad scene he was stuck in around New Orleans. So Harold helped get Mac out to LA, when he got out of the fed pen, and started to get him session work, alongside the Wrecking Crew, most often on guitar even though he became world famous as a pianist later. So Harold was getting Mac steady work in the LA studios, including Sonny Bono's sessions (keep that in mind...), and this was around 1965.

What Harold and Mac would do is utilize extra time which Sonny had booked but not used to start making their own recordings, with a very heavy New Orleans flavor, yet very dark in sound and subject matter. This is where they started developing the persona of "Dr. John The Night Tripper", complete with voodoo and New Orleans hoodoo overtones and imagery. They would record using that extra studio time from Sonny and eventually were ready with enough material to start pitching Dr. John as an album artist.

And that is where Mac became Dr. John, where he with help from Battiste got out of the mess he was in from New Orleans and cleaned up, and where basically history would be made.

Very few had made the New Orleans black magic and voodoo themes (and persona) a commercial hit, surely not in rock music that rock stations would play. The big names that had broken commercially, like Aaron Neville and the Neville Brothers, all of Allen Toussaint's work, a smash hit like Lee Dorsey's "Working In A Coal Mine" with that *crazy* New Orleans drum groove, The Meters, previous hits in the 50's with Earl Palmer on drums, Fats Domino, etc...it was pure New Orleans but the "Night Tripper" persona brought some of the New Orleans voodoo and superstitions and whatnot into the mainstream. And the music had that foreboding sound which the other commercially successful hits (minus perhaps 'I Put A Spell On You') did not have upfront.

So that's Dr. John...Mac Rebennack...The Night Tripper...

Here he is playing guitar on a session for Sonny Bono and Cher, with Harold Battiste, at Gold Star studio early 1966. A photo taken from my old blog (link here http://classicstudiosessions.blogspot.com/2010/07/classic-session-at-gold-star-1966.html ) and project on this film:



A few samples, this was probably his biggest commercial hit, "Right Place, Wrong Time", used in quite a few movies, shows, and TV commercials...the intro is *nasty*.  Smiley

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grzL8THFlUs

This was Dr. John's appearance in The Band's "The Last Waltz", doing "Such A Night"...what is odd is that Allen Toussaint did the horn arrangements for the concert, yet there isn'tmuch of a horn part on this one. But stay tuned to 2:55 in the video to hear Dr. John cut loose on some great piano licks...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCRrXZP8b0I

And from that first Dr. John album, probably the most well known track, "I Walk On Gilded Splinters"...still sounds spooky as hell.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lekQoT485aA

As a vocalist and piano player, Dr. John had a unique sound, instantly identifiable.

RIP




Thank you for a very informative post. I knew who he was, but I didn't know the backstory. Yeah, that appearance in The Last Waltz is classic. You can see how thrilled The Band guys were to be playing with the Dr.
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