Beginning in the late 1960s, Rebennack gained fame as a solo artist after adopting the persona of “Dr. John, The Night Tripper”. Dr. John’s act combined New Orleans-style rhythm and blues with psychedelic rock and elaborate stage shows that bordered on voodoo religious ceremonies, including elaborate costumes and headdress (reflecting and presumably inspired by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’s stage act). The name “Dr. John” came from a legendary Louisiana voodoo practitioner of the early 19th century. On the earliest Dr. John records, the artist billing was “Dr. John, The Night Tripper”, while the songwriting credits billed him as “Dr. John Creaux”. Within a few years the “Night Tripper” subtitle was dropped, and Rebennack resumed using his real name for writing and producing/arranging credits.
Gris-Gris, his 1968 debut album combining voodoo rhythms and chants with the New Orleans music tradition, was ranked 143rd on Rolling Stone’s “The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time” list. Three more albums, 1969′s Babylon, 1970′s Remedies, and 1971′s The Sun, Moon, And Herbs were released in the same vein of Gris-Gris, but none of them have enjoyed the popularity of his first album.
During early-to-mid-1969, Dr. John toured extensively, backed by supporting musicians Richard “Didymus” Washington (congas), Richard Crooks (drums), David Leonard Johnson (bass), Gary Carino (guitar), and singers Eleanor Barooshian, Jeanette Jacobs from The Cake, and Sherry Graddie. A second lineup formed later in the year for an extensive tour of the East Coast with Crooks and Johnson joined by Doug Hastings (guitar) and Don MacAllister (mandolin). Also in 1969, Dr. John contributed to the Music from Free Creek “supersession” project, playing on three tracks with Eric Clapton. Washington and Crooks also contributed to the project.
By the time The Sun, Moon, and Herbs was released, he had gained a notable cult following, including artists such as Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger, who both took part in the sessions for that album. This album would serve as a transition from his Night Tripper voodoo, psychedelic persona to one more closely associated with traditional New Orleans R&B and funk. His next album, Dr. John’s Gumbo, proved to be a landmark recording which is one of his most popular to this day; with drummer Fred Staehle serving as the band’s backbone. ~ Wikipedia
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Tracks played on Psychedelicized…
- Tracks from 1968 Gris-Gris album
- Danse Kalinda Ba Doom
- Mam Roux
- I Walk On Guided Splinters