All By Hisself: Live at the Lonestar – Dr. John
Skinji Brim 9317
An album such as All By Hisself: Live at the Lonestar reminds those
of us who do not follow the career of Dr. John closely how good and
a musician he is. The 12 songs here offer a stripped-down solo version of
New Orleans-bred boogie woogie and blues.
Although the disc is a compilation from a two-night stand on December 22nd
and 23rd, 1986 at New York’s Lonestar Roadhouse, the reconstructed set
sounds like one
seamless evening. Dr. John (aka Mac Rebennack) starts out by displaying his
prowess on the ivory keys on "Swanee River Boogie," and quickly moves to
backroom dwellers ("Stagger Lee") and midnight lovers ("Qualified") with a
little bits of hard luck stories that can put a smile on your face rather
create a tear in your eye ("Average Kind of Guy"). Of course, his hit,
Place Wrong Time," is represented, but in such a way that it actually
There are a couple spots where one wishes that a band was around to
fill out the sound ("Iko Iko") or, at the very least, that the recording
strictly soundboard only (the lack of call and response on "Don’t You Just
It"). Still, John infuses enough life into these numbers, making such
observations minor quibbles to an overall entertaining time.
The packaging includes a second disc, a bonus 30-minute DVD, that
finds John talking about the history of New Orleans music, offering some of
stories and playing a few songs that illuminate the discussion.
All By Hisself is intended to be the first in a series of live
recordings from more than 20 years of Dr. John’s career. The series itself
titled "The Rebennack Chronicles," after his real surname. Based on this
release, he’s off to a good start, giving listeners a reason to look forward
more output from the 500-plus hours of tapes that need to be listened to and
prepared for future albums.