Sunday, 5 July 2015

“Creole Moon/N’Awlinz: Dis Dat Or D’Udda” by DR. JOHN (2015 Edsel/Rhino 2CD Reissue) - A Review by MARK BARRY...




"...Dear Old Southland..."

This is the 2nd 2CD set reissue by Edsel of the UK in 2015 covering DR. John's later output – namely the "Creole Moon" album from October 2001 and the June 2004 set "N'Awlinz: Dis Dat Or D'Udda" - both CDs being tributes by the Gris Gris Man to his spiritual home and beloved city of NEW ORLEANS.

UK released February 2015 - Edsel EDSK 7077 (Barcode 740155707736) has 2CDs in a card slipcase with a new 32-page colour booklet – Disc 1 being the 14-track "Creole Moon" album (68:31 minutes) while Disc 2 gives us the 18-tracks of "N'Awlinz: Dis Dat Or D'Udda" album (68:25 minutes). The other 2CD reissue in this series is "Anutha Zone" from 1998 and "Duke Elegant" from 2000 on Edsel EDSK 7076 (again reissued February 2015).

Like the "Anutha Zone/Duke Elegant" double - there is no remastering here (absolutely no need) - but there is a beautifully laid out 32-page booklet which features liner notes by PAUL MYERS and a new 2014 interview with the great man himself. Inbetween we get full musician credits, track-by-track breakdowns by Dr. John (on the Creole Moon album) and a huge range of impressive Guest Musicians – all clearly enjoying themselves.

The backing band for 2001's "Creole Moon" is what he called THE LOWER 9-11 – the group he had on "Duke Elegant" and in fact much of "Anutha Zone". They are Bobby Broom on Guitars, David Barard on Bass, Merman Ernest III on Drums with Ronnie Cuber on Saxophone.

DAVID "Fathead" NEWMAN plays Guest Saxophone on "Creole Moon", "You Swore" and "One 2 A.M. Too Many", virtuoso Slide Guitar player SONNY LANDRETH contributes to "Georgianna", "Monkey And Baboon" and "Take What I Can Get" while the legendary horn players FRED WESLEY of THE JB'S (James Brown's Backing Band) along with ERIC TRAUB arrange and play on "Food For Thot", "Litenin'", "One 2 A.M. Too Many" and "Money And Baboon".

The second New Orleans tribute set "N'Awlinz..." features a dizzying array of guests - duet vocals by MAVIS STAPLES on "When The Saints Go Marching In" and "Lay My Burden Down", CYRIL NEVILLE of THE NEVILLE BROTHERS sings on "Marie Laveau" and "Chicken La Pas", WILLIE TEE plays Keyboards on "Dis, Dat Or D'Udda", "Chicken La Pas" and "Shango Tango", the lifelong Fats Domino sideman DAVE BARTHOLOMEW plays Trumpet on "The Monkey" with Spoken Word by EDDIE BO. Further infusions come from RANDY NEWMAN who sings duet vocals on "I Ate Up The Apple Tree". Country and Blues legends WILLIE NELSON and SNOOKS EAGLIN sing and play guitars on "You Ain't Such A Much" – Blues Men B.B. KING and CLARENCE 'Gatemouth' BROWN sing and play Viola on "Hen Layin' Rooster" while B.B. KING and WILLIE NELSON double up as vocal buddies with the good Doctor on "Time Marches On".

The audio on these CD albums is exceptional – the slink and cool of "Marie Laveau" slithers out of your speakers in its New Orleans way for 6:50 minutes with The Creolettes providing soft-sung backing vocals – not too brash – not too forced – it's just perfectly judged. Beauty comes at you in the shape of the instrumental "Dear Old Southland" where Dr. John plays piano accompanied only by the lone trumpet of Nicholas Payton – it's a simple song that feels monumental and moving at one and the same time.

Both of these Edsel twofers have reminded me of why I loved this guy so much in the Sixties and Seventies – that mooch – that sly rhythm – that unique set of pipes and turn of phrase. Gorgeous sound, quality music and beautifully presented - recommended gumbo indeed...

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