söndag 30 april 2017

DR. JOHN, THE NIGHT TRIPPER/GRIS-GRIS 33-234 (-68) US MONO

Now regarded as a classic album, hailed by critics and situated on "best albums ever" lists, but at the time merely an oddity with some cult following. In 1965 Dr. John (born Malcolm John Rebenack 1940), just out of a New Orleans prison sentenced for selling drugs, moved to Los Angeles, where he soon became a popular session musician - among other things backing Sony & Cher, Canned Heath and participating in Frank Zappa's "Freak Out" recordings. With the notion of doing a woodoo album, rooted in his experiences from the religion while growing up, he had problems getting studio booking as it didn't fit the ideas and atmosphere in L.A. at the time. When he finally got it and made the recordings with his southern crew, Atlantic boss Ahmet Ertegun thought it was crap and didn't want to release it at first. And when they did it failed to sell and didn't chart at all. Hard to describe by modern genre attributes, but why not "zydeco psych", or maybe "woodoo prog". Black magic made softer and more catchy without losing its roots. Even if it didn't go well with the large public at first it must be seen as forerunner to much of the darker rock that took off a couple of years later. Maybe not directly copied, but certainly an inspiration. Favorite tracks - "Danse Calinda Ba Doom" and "Crocker Courtbullion" - both with pristine elements as from African or Haitian sources. This mono sounds great and I've seen it been called both true and fold without any definitive proofs for either. As it happens I've just found a 1st press US stereo and looking forward to compare and decide the matter once and for all, but haven't got time right now so I'll make that a separate post later. Originally also released in Canada, Germany, Australia and UK, yet to my knowledge this was the only time these mono tapes were used. Japan 1991 CD on ATCO (AMCY-229). Premiere US had label as shown here and glossy cover with ATCO ad inner. (YZÄ*) (ÖXCÅ*)

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