Opening the iTunes Store.If iTunes doesn’t open, click the iTunes icon in your Dock or on your Windows desktop.Progress Indicator
Opening the iBooks Store.If iBooks doesn't open, click the iBooks app in your Dock.Progress Indicator

iTunes is the world's easiest way to organize and add to your digital media collection.

We are unable to find iTunes on your computer. To preview and buy music from Gris-Gris by Dr. John, download iTunes now.

Do you already have iTunes? Click I Have iTunes to open it now.

I Have iTunes Free Download
iTunes for Mac + PC


Open iTunes to preview, buy and download music.

Album Review

Dr. John's Gris-Gris is among the most enduring recordings of the psychedelic era; it sounds as mysterious and spooky in the 21st century as it did in 1968. It is the album where Mac Rebennack established a stage identity that has served him well. A respected studio ace in his native New Orleans, Rebennack was scuffling in L.A. Gris-Gris was his concept, an album that wove various threads of New Orleans music together behind the character of "Dr. John," a real voodoo root doctor from the 19th century. Harold Batiste, another ex-pat New Orleanian and respected arranger in Hollywood, scored him some free studio time left over from a Sonny & Cher session. They assembled a crack band of NOLA exiles and session players including saxophonist Plas Johnson, singers Jessie Hill and Shirley Goodman, and guitarist/mandolinist Richard "Didimus" Washington. Almost everyone played percussion. Gris-Gris sounds like a post-midnight ceremony recorded in the bayou swamp instead of L.A.'s Gold Star Studio where Phil Spector cut hits. The atmosphere is thick, smoky, serpentine, foreboding. Rebennack inhabits his character fully, delivering Creole French and slang English effortlessly in the grain of his half-spoken, half-sung voice. He is high priest and trickster, capable of blessing, cursing, and conning. On the opening incantation "Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya," Dr. John introduces himself as the "night tripper" and boasts of his medicinal abilities accompanied by wafting reverbed mandolins, hand drums, a bubbling bassline, blues harmonica, skeletal electric guitar, and a swaying backing chorus that blurs the line between gospel and soul. On "Danse Kalinda Boom," a calliope-sounding organ, Middle Eastern flute, Spanish-tinged guitars, bells, claves, congas, and drums fuel a wordless chorus in four-part chant harmony as a drum orgy evokes ceremonial rites. The sound of NOLA R&B comes to the fore in the killer soul groove of the breezy "Mama Roux." "Croker Courtboullion" is an exercise in vanguard jazz. Spectral voices, electric guitars, animal cries, flute, and moody saxophone solos and percussion drift in and out of the spacy mix. The set's masterpiece is saved for last, the nearly nearly eight-minute trance vamp in "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" (covered by everyone from Humble Pie, Cher, and Johnny Jenkins to Paul Weller and Papa Mali). Dr. John is brazen about the power of his spells in a slippery, evil-sounding boast. Congas, tom-toms, snaky guitar, and harmonica underscore his juju, while a backing chorus affirms his power like mambo priestesses in unison. A ghostly baritone saxophone wafts through the turnarounds. Droning blues, steamy funk, and loopy R&B are inseparably entwined in its groove. Remarkably, though rightfully considered a psychedelic masterpiece, there is little rock music on Gris-Gris. Its real achievement — besides being a classic collection of startlingly deep tunes — is that it brought New Orleans' cultural iconographies and musical traits to the attention of an emergent rock audience.

Customer Reviews

Music to scare your grandma

Widely regarded by the older generation as spooky tunes, Dr. John's Gris-Gris album came out at a time of the great music explosion in the late 60's. For music heads on this side of the pond, endorsement from the prancing frontman of the Stones encouraged a listen. When I played this to latter day listeners they were bowled over, but a bit disappointed when they picked up other Dr John offerings of a more traditional, New Orleans, flavour. I remember seeing the Dance Theatre of Harlem performing a piece inspired by the Voodoo legend of Baron Samedi. In this piece, the Lord of the Cemetary, danced brilliantly by Donald Williams, seduces a grieving mother. I was struck by the same strange mixture of mortality and sexuality which infuses the Gris-Gris album. For music to scare your girlfriend look no further than the Edgar Broughton Band's 'The Psychopath' but Dr John was definitely a grandma, or mates mums, psychofrenic shocker. The songs on this album are almost uncoverable, but Paul Weller and Humble Pie did decent renditions of "I walk on Guilded Splinters". Dr John's use of the female chorus to amplify, contrast and expand the melody is second to none in my book.


a formative piece of work. Of its time, but of all time. Shamanistic, sensual, and wonderfully weird. An anthem to our escape from One Version Reality, that is the true legacy of the drug-fuelled Sixties. Dr John shows his gift as a wordsmith too.

Jesus, Mary & Joseph!

Incredible. I'm a massive Paul Weller fan but listening to the original Walk On Guilded Splinters, he murdered it. Gris-Gris Mumbo Ya & Mama Roux top tracks also. Amazing vibe to the whole album. Put it on, press play, get into a groove.


Born: 21 November 1940 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although he didn't become widely known until the 1970s, Dr. John had been active in the music industry since the late '50s, when the teenager was still known as Mac Rebennack. A formidable boogie and blues pianist with a lovable growl of a voice, his most enduring achievements fused with New Orleans R&B, rock, and Mardi Gras craziness to come up with his own brand of "voodoo" music. He's also quite accomplished and enjoyable when sticking to purely traditional forms of blues and R&B. On record, he...
Full bio