.
http://assets-s3.rollingstone.com/assets/images/album_review/cf40b2acca5a7ab3a0aac68ddae5f158e8a1fe56.jpg Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack...

Dr. John

Dr. John Plays Mac Rebennack...

Rolling Stone: star rating
Community: star rating
5 3 0
April 29, 1982

Mac Rebennack and James Booker have a lot in common: both were born in New Orleans within a year of each other; found work there as precocious rhythm & blues piano aces in the mid-Fifties; developed reputations as crack studio sidemen and streetwise eccentrics in the early Sixties; and have been carrying on the grand New Orleans piano tradition ever since. Though each was inspired by Professor Longhair and, later, by Huey "Piano" Smith, these two LPs pay homage, in varying degrees, to another influence — Ray Charles.

Charles' influence is more muted on the Rebennack disc, a studio date that's all solo piano except for one typically croaking vocal. But it's there in Mac's delicately gospel-sounding right-hand "trickerations" (as he calls them) and in the churchy jazz he dispenses on such numbers as "Mac's Boogie."

Booker's recital was recorded live and features an unusually generous helping of the pianist's rococo, Ray Charles-style vocals. The Huey Smith riff that Mac plays around with on "Pinetop" is also the basis of "Tell Me How Do You Feel," Booker's sparkling New Orleans gem. Anyone who knows Booker's history of musical triumphs and personal tragedies will find the selection of material (i.e., "Black Night," "Come Rain or Come Shine" and the transcendent "Let Them Talk") both moving and utterly apropos. And until you've heard New Orleans' Piano Prince and the original Junco Partner tackle "On the Sunny Side of the Street" and extract emotional resonances from the hoary Sinatra hit "Something Stupid," well, you can jocka-mo-fe-na-nay.

prev
Album Review Main Next

ADD A COMMENT

Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...

COMMENTS

Sort by:
    Read More
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.

    X

    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Nightshift”

    The Commodores | 1984

    The year after soul legends Marvin Gaye and Jackie Wilson died, songwriter Dennis Lambert asked members of the Commodores to give him a tape of ideas. "And the one from Walter Orange has this wonderful bass line," said co-writer Franne Golde. "Plus the lyric, 'Marvin, he was a friend of mine' ... Within 10 minutes, we had decided it should be something like a modern R&B version of 'Rock 'n' Roll Heaven,' and I just said, 'Nightshift.'" This tribute to the recently deceased musicians was the band's only hit without Lionel Richie, who had left for a solo career.

    More Song Stories entries »
    www.expandtheroom.com