Monday, June 25, 2012
They Call Him Dr. John, Known as the Night Tripper
Nowadays you think of Dr. John and you maybe think of a fun-loving fat guy with a beard and beret who sings like he just came down Sesame Street, his great raspy melodic voice a soothing balm to the soul, his piano playing a dazzling, creole courtbullion good times N'awlins style, but once upon a time, Dr. John was known as the Night Tripper, with a satchel of gris-gris in his hand.
And even if you knew nothing of all the hoodoo remedies and herbal potions, his crazy headdresses and Mardi Gras fortune teller tresses moved you like a warm bath ocean. Kicking back in my room in college, the incense making circular wisps along the walls, his "Night Tripper" album would fill my speakers like a secret door in my floor opened up with a magical basement herb shop below, peopled with miniature people dancing in fire and feathers. Now, where are we? Here, of course. This one's for you, Night Tripper! In his way, he and Screamin' Jay Hawkins laid the bedrock for future Americrazy shamen like Tom Waits and George Clinton. Here's a video from that era, or thereabouts, to mind meld with --just watch out for the tiny dancers and black cat hustlers weavin' through your tip toes if you smoke with the medicine man.
"Where you at, Mule?