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Straight No Chaser - A Jazz Show

Welcome to Straight No Chaser, the Award-winning Podcast hosted by Jeffrey Siegel

Mar 14, 2011

New Orleans’ own Dr. John has been recording for more than 50 years. He is steeped in the rhythms and traditions of the city, and has spent his career championing its music. As he told New Orleans rhythm & blues historian Jeff Hannusch, “[New Orleans music] is part of whatever I’m about. The importance of it is beyond anything I do.”


Born Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack, he learned piano and guitar as a child. Schooled by Crescent City legends like Walter “Papoose” Nelson, James Booker and Cosimo Matassa, Rebennack began recording in 1957; between 1956-1963, more than 50 of his songs were recorded in New Orleans. In 1965, Rebennack moved to Los Angeles and worked as a session player. Working with Harold Battiste, he created the Dr. John the Night Tripper character, a tribute to New Orleans’ musical and spiritual traditions that meshed perfectly with psychedelia.


His first album, Gris-Gris, was a masterpiece, evoking voodoo legends over a funky mix. In the first half of the 1970s, he released a series of albums that mixed New Orleans classics with his own original material, all driven by his remarkable piano playing and great bands, most notably his collaboration with Allen Toussaint and the Meters on “Right Place, Wrong Time,” a smash funk hit. He has produced albums for Professor Longhair and Van Morrison, collaborated with Doc Pomus on a group of songs recorded by B.B. King on There Must Be a Better World Somewhere (1981), and released several acclaimed solo piano records. In recent years he has become a spokesman for New Orleans and its musical history, all the while continuing to record creative, challenging music.


Podcast 210 is an hour plus long mixtape of some of the good Doctor’s jazzier numbers, so enjoy:


“I Walk On Guilded Splinters” from Gris-Gris

“St. James Infirmary” from N'awlinz: Dis, Dat Or D'Udda

“Goodnight, Irene” from Goin’ Back to New Orleans

Title track from Creole Moon

“It Don’t Mean a Thing (If It Ain’t Got That Swing)” from Duke Elegant

Title track from Television

“Marie Laveau” from N'awlinz: Dis, Dat Or D'Udda

“Let the Good Times Roll” from Dr. John’s Gumbo

“Blue Skies” from Afterglow

“Ac-cen-tuate the Positive” from In A Sentimental Mood

“Such A Night” from In the Right Place

Title track from Goin’ Back to New Orleans