Dr. John: Locked Down

Album review
Dr. John: Locked Down

Dr. John

Locked Down

Label: Nonesuch
Media: CD
Genre: Rock/pop

Forget Jimi versus God, forget the Beatles versus the Stones—in the late Sixties the stiffest competition involved the most bizarre musician on the planet. Arthur Brown and Captain Beefheart were definitely upper tier, but first prize may well belong to Dr. John the Night Tripper, a modern-day Gris-Gris man who wore facepaint and feathered headdresses and whose concerts resembled a voodoo ceremony. Locked Down is said to evoke the spirit of the earliest Dr. John albums, but more often it reminds me of recent efforts by the Black Keys (whose Dan Auerbach produced and played on the record), with tighter song structures and a more hook-oriented approach than are found on Gris-Gris, Babylon, or Remedies. That said, the music succeeds on its own grounds, especially because as a lyricist Mac Rebennac has shifted his focus to the big picture, a move inspiring world- gone-mad wordplay that calls to mind such classics as “Ball of Confusion” and “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and vocally meshes well with the music. Fortunately, too, as the album progresses it becomes more adventurous, with the African rhythms of “Ice Age” and “You Lie” taking all artists involved to uncharted territory. Even there, though, the vocals seem submerged in the thick, murky sound

More Info

  • primary artist, Dr. John
  • CD

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