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City Lights

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iTunes Review

Although it slipped through the cracks in his catalog and has been out of print for years, 1978’s City Lights is one of Mac Rebennack’s most sophistted efforts. The project blends Dr. John’s feel for funk with an ensemble of top-tier jazz players, overseen by producer Tommy LiPuma (Miles Davis, George Benson, Al Jarreau). A classy rhythm section comprised of drummer Steve Gadd and bassist Will Lee (future member of David Letterman’s band) gives the music an understated percolation, while master instrumentalists Hugh McCracken and David Sanborn deepen the folds. City Lights succeeds in conjuring a hidden, late-night urban landscape. Even though there are strong traces of the Doctor’s native New Orleans, this feels more like the kind of music that comes from years of global traveling, of walking through unfamiliar streets in search of hot coffee on lonely nights. The music is almost introverted in its restraint, but once you lean in it’s easy to appreciate the fine detailing and depth of feeling. The feeling of the period is best captured by “Rain,” one of Dr. John’s most poignant ballads.

Customer Reviews

I call it his NEW YAWK album… Sophisto-Funk & Great!!!

Here is a groove laden, strutting album of originals by DR. JOHN… He took of the Gris Gris chain and put on spats and hailed a cab downtown for this one. AND he got the best of NYC session dudes to strut with him. This is GADD and LEE’s show too… and they bop it and pop it to death. So glad to have this back in rotation to groove with my baby to.


Born: November 21, 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

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