Album Review
by SaschaS

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Dr John: 'The Best Of The Parlophone Years'
Dr John: the master's voodoo-compilation

Dr John may be an institution but he is foremost a music-man who has been around probably longer than anyone else. Starting to hang about bars of New Orleans just past the toddler age, Mac Rebennack grew into an ambassador for the city’s ‘voodoo blues/soul/funk’; he had been a junkie, a drunkard, shot several times and generally lived a colourful life, is succinctly presented with this collection that covers his years with the EMI label.

Dr John released four great albums since signing to Parlophone in 1997 that were, in his inimitable style - all very different, distinctive and masterfully handling so many kinds of music others only read about in encyclopaedias. 'Anutha Zone' (1998) saw him hosting a number of guest collaborators, 'Duke Elegant' (1999) were his interpretation of the Duke Ellington‘s legacy to celebrate the jazzman’s Centenary, 'Creole Moon' (2001) was his take on New Orleans with 'N'Awlinz - Dis, Dat Or D'Udda' (2004) full of fellow stars.

'The Best Of The Parlophone Years' is a veritable gumbo from ‘The Night Tripper’ that compiles the prime tracks from these albums and includes the good Doc's own sleeve-notes commenting on each of the four albums from which the tracks are taken. Dr John's remarkable piano playing and unmistakeable vocals are augmented on this selection by BB King, Paul Weller, Joolz Holland, Randy Newman, Mavis Staples, Gaz Coombes/Mick Quinn (Supergrass), J.Spaceman (a/k/a Jason Pierce of Spiritualized) to name several.

As it is usual practice these days the album also features two bonus tracks: the previously unreleased 'Careless Love' from the 2004 ‘N'Awlinz - 'Dis, Dat Or D'Udda’ sessions and 'Look Out', previously available only as a bonus track on the Japanese version of 'Anutha Zone'.

This ‘Best’ effortlessly and reverently display the man’s magic: Dr John still produces compelling wealth of musicality after all these years.

If I ever need a doctor [and that’s daily, according to my partner] dial this medic, always!


Dr John’s compilation ‘The Best Of The Parlophone Years’ is available now on Parlophone/EMI