7 Songs, 33 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Gris Gris, Dr John’s (neé Mac Rebennack) breathtaking debut full-length, begins with an astonishingly succinct, yet endlessly compelling act of self-identification: “My name is… Dr. John, The Night Tripper, I got my satchel of gris gris in my hand.” With this devilishly incantatory line Dr. John erases Mac Rebennack, the stolid New Orleans studio musician, and conjures an entirely new character to take his place. Part streetwise hipster, part Creole rustic, and part starry-eyed seeker, the Dr. John character drew on many of the influences, from psychedelics, to fuzztone pedals, to dread haunted field hollers, that were fueling much of the most adventurous popular music of the era. But by straining these influences through his own warped vision of New Orleans’ musical history Dr. John created an album that was both timely and timeless. Though the low-slung groove of “Mama Roux” sounded like good old-fashioned gut bucket funk, it was yoked to a hysterical banshee-like refrain that took it far beyond the bounds of mere funk. From the lopsided jig of “Danse Kalinda” to the eerie incantations and ghostly mandolins of “I Walk on Golden Splinters” Gris Gris finds Dr. John boldly initiating his long career of uncompromising iconoclasm and visionary madness.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Gris Gris, Dr John’s (neé Mac Rebennack) breathtaking debut full-length, begins with an astonishingly succinct, yet endlessly compelling act of self-identification: “My name is… Dr. John, The Night Tripper, I got my satchel of gris gris in my hand.” With this devilishly incantatory line Dr. John erases Mac Rebennack, the stolid New Orleans studio musician, and conjures an entirely new character to take his place. Part streetwise hipster, part Creole rustic, and part starry-eyed seeker, the Dr. John character drew on many of the influences, from psychedelics, to fuzztone pedals, to dread haunted field hollers, that were fueling much of the most adventurous popular music of the era. But by straining these influences through his own warped vision of New Orleans’ musical history Dr. John created an album that was both timely and timeless. Though the low-slung groove of “Mama Roux” sounded like good old-fashioned gut bucket funk, it was yoked to a hysterical banshee-like refrain that took it far beyond the bounds of mere funk. From the lopsided jig of “Danse Kalinda” to the eerie incantations and ghostly mandolins of “I Walk on Golden Splinters” Gris Gris finds Dr. John boldly initiating his long career of uncompromising iconoclasm and visionary madness.

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Ratings and Reviews

4.4 out of 5
54 Ratings
54 Ratings
Billy52 ,

Nothing else like this, then or since

This sounded like it came from an alternate universe when I first heard it in the 70s. But it was great then and great now. Splinters, Gumbo and Mama Roux are the best.

Sean L. ,

Mad, Murky Blues

Simply put, this album is fantastic. It's dark and amazing. It lifts you out of wherever you are and places you straight in the middle of a murky, mystical bayou. Dr. John really gets his mojo working. They don't call him the night tripper for nothing!

balo balito ,

dr. john lays his voodoo down

this is where it all begins with the great dr. john (the night tripper)- album #1.
swampy, ffunkky, vooo dooo
truly one of the greatest opening manifestos done
nuff said

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