Dr. John | Locked Down

Nonesuch (2012)
By ZETH LUNDY  |  April 3, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

The Night Tripper, circa 2012: big fat funky drums, Nuggets-psych organs, ladies in the background going "Yeah-eahh!," woozy/honking brass. "Don't matter if you Muslim, Christian, or Jew/Buddhist, Mason, Hindi, or Voodoo," Dr. John sings on "Kingdom of Izzness" — "My nuclear vision is everybody's bidness." Goddamn right it is. First and foremost, Dr. John's umpteenth album in umpteen years is big-time poised and eminently groovy — one of his best, no doubt, and arguably one of the best-sounding records so far this year. Now, at 71, the Artist Formerly Known as Mac Rebennack sounds as hip as he did when he hit the pop charts in 1972 with "Iko Iko." Locked Down was produced and co-written by the Black Keys' Dan Auerbach, and though there is little Keys-ness to be found (the wordless refrain of "Getaway," perhaps), the young musicians assembled at Auerbach's Nashville studio help put the proverbial voodoo tiger in the Doc's tank. Though he's no stranger to politically charged stuff (see his post-Katrina output), here Dr. John goes on the common-sense defensive. "Ain't no age of innocence, ladies and gents," he announces on "Ice Age," leading the charge with a skeptical yet sinewy backbeat. He's still got it.
Related: Various Artists | Casual Victim Pile: Austin 2010, Bearstronaut | Broken Handclaps, Avi Buffalo | Avi Buffalo, More more >
  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Arts, CD reviews,  More more >
| More

Most Popular
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   BROWN BIRD | FITS OF REASON  |  March 18, 2013
    Brown Bird, a boundary-pushing Americana duo from Rhode Island, make music that touches upon that can't-put-my-finger-on-it amalgamation of past and future sounds.
  •   NICK CAVE & THE BAD SEEDS | PUSH THE SKY AWAY  |  February 20, 2013
    Much like the similarly low-key The Boatman's Call , Cave's highly anticipated 15th album with the Bad Seeds manages the puzzling feat of making a great band seem inconsequential, if not entirely absent.
  •   SCOTT WALKER | BISH BOSCH  |  November 27, 2012
    Scott Walker's late-period about-face is one of the strangest in the annals of pop music.
    Bill Withers has always been the down-to-earth, odd-man-out of the '70s soul brothers: he's the one who came bearing a lunch box on the cover of his relaxed 1971 debut, Just as I Am .
  •   R.E.M. | DOCUMENT [25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION]  |  September 19, 2012
    Fans of R.E.M. enjoy arguing over which album was the band's true shark-jump, but 1987's Document was inarguably the end of a groundbreaking era.

 See all articles by: ZETH LUNDY