Category Archives: Dr. John

Dr. John’s New Orleans blues Gumbo

dr Johns gumbo black bull blues

Dr. John’s New Orleans blues Gumbo

The music of Amerian icon Dr. John has always been filed with the New Orleans rhythm and blues flavor. I listened to the debut
album of the Nighttripper Gris Gris which has a psychedelic, hoodoo and swamp approach. Gris Gris contains hits like ‘Mama Roux’.  But the true New Orleans music of Dr. John’s can be found on his fifth and in my opinion his best album Dr. John’s Gumbo. Search through the playlist of this album, and you will conclude that there are only classic New Orleans songs on it. The piano, the rhythm, the bass and the vocals Dr. John’s Gumbo is a delicious musical meal for blues lovers.

Stackolee Folk and blues traditional

Stackolee is a traditional folk song which has been recorded by a legion of blues and folk singers. Stackolee is a song about the murder of  Billy Lyons by local pimp “Stag” Lee Shelton in St. Louis  Missouri at Christmas, 1895 (Mother Jones). Dr. John version contains a basis blues bass line that continuously  grooves through your head. But above all, every piano player should know how to play this song. The honky Tonking piano of Stackolee is a standard, a great example of honky tonk piano. This song shows how Dr. John proves to be the embodiment of New Orleans’ musical legacy.

Mess Around piano boogie

Piano boogie woogie lovers wil alsol like Mess Around. This song kicks in with a monster piano line and that groove goes on till the last note. Mess Around was  written by Atlantic Records president and founder Ahmet Ertegün under the pseudonym of A. Nugetre, Ray Charles scored a hit with Mess Around, Dr. John’s version however equals Charles’ version and is filled with the New Orleans boogie.

Iko Iko, Big Chief and Let The Good Times Roll…

Dr. John black bull bluesThe Beat of Iko Iko keeps dancing through my head. It is the backbone of the song, and around that beat  John created a compositionof horns, piano and vocals that keeps growing bigger. Let The Good Times Roll was written by New Orleans rhythm and blues artist Earl King. King isn’t the only New Orleans legends that has been tributed on Dr. John’s Gumbo. Professor Longhair, The Dixie Cups and Huey Smith are all represented on ‘Gumbo’ . Professor Longhair’s Big Chief is one of my favorite piano songs. The piano boogie-line in Big Chief is something I wish to play one day. Dr. John used a hammond organ to play the famous line. Like Iko Iko, Big Chief  is also a song that really grows during the song.

Dr. John made fame as a session musician and as solo artist. Througout his career he won six Grammy’s and has been inducted in the Blues Hall of fame.  I recommend everybody to listen to this New Orleans musical treasure Dr. John’s Gumbo.

Read the original Album review from Rollingstone (1972) here…

Video/Audio Credits:I do not own the copyrights to these recordings. These videos are for historical and educational purposes. NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED

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