"Desitively Bonnaroo" (reissue) – Dr. John – review by
Label M 495739
Once again we encounter legendary producer (and now label-head) Joel Dorn.
Since I was less than complimentary towards his compilation "Heavy Flute"
last fall, I’m not sure whether to commend his honesty or decry his
irresponsibility when his liner notes here mention that he’s never listened
to this Dr. John album which he’s licensed for reissue. Ironic that he also
includes an anecdote about Rahsaan Roland Kirk chiding him in the ’60s for
not knowing the artists on his label — it seems Dorn hasn’t learned his
Dorn’s instincts are good, though. "Destitively Bonnaroo" was the follow-up
to Dr. John’s 1973 effort, "In The Right Place", which featured his only
radio hit, Right Place, Wrong Time. The style of this album is much
the same – twelve short, unpretentious cuts with Dr. John singing like a
cross between Van Morrison and Tom Waits over phenomenally relaxed grooves
from the Meters, female backing vocal chants, and horn arrangements by
fellow New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint.
Not much need for discussion here — this may not be the best New Orleans
funk album, or even in the top 10 (Dr. John’s earlier "Gumbo", a de facto
greatest hits of the genre, is better qualified for that list), but it’s a
fine example of the style. And since Right Place, Wrong Time
inadvertently coined a classic rock album title ("Brain Salad Surgery"),
it’s fitting that Dr. John mentions "the dark side of the moon" a couple
times on one cut here.