Dr. John, Legend of New Orleans

“Towards the end of 1965, after their meteoric rise to the top of the charts with I Got You Babe, Sonny and Cher were invited to perform at a private party in the penthouse apartment of mining tycoon Charles Engelhard Jr. at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. The invitation came after Jackie Kennedy, a guest of the intimate party and on one of her first social outings following the tragic death of her late husband, expressed her wish to see the rising duo perform in the flesh at the event. When royalty make their wishes known, no expenses are spared. Ahmet Ertegun, head of Atlantic Records and feeling quite generous after the number one hit single saved his company from being sold to ABC-Paramount, flew the singers with their entourage and five piece backup band from the west coast. The keyboard player in that band was Mac Rebennack, at the time an unknown entity to Ertegun and most anyone else. Two years later Ertegun would come to learn a whole lot more about the keyboard player, this time under the moniker of Dr. John, who would deliver to him a strange LP oozing southern psychedelic voodoo no ears have yet to hear. This is the story of Dr. John’s Gris-Gris. Since the mid 1950s Mac Rebennack built a steady career of live and studio music gigs in New Orleans. The city was ripe with night clubs and other joints where a wide variety of music styles old and new where intermixed. Rebennack was mainly a guitar player then, honing his skills in numerous gigs and recording dates. He started playing the instrument as a child, figuring out strumming patterns from records. … In 1965 Mac Rebennack moved to LA. There was nothing left for him in New Orleans. After the 1961 election of District Attorney Jim Garrison (years later Kevin Costner portrayed Garrison in Oliver Stone’s film JFK, focusing on the DA’s investigation into Kennedy’s assassination), things were not that fun anymore in the night clubs, brothels and juke joints of the Crescent City. The DA made it his mission in life to end vice in the city, and the collateral damage that ensued eliminated many opportunities for music to be performed. Rebennack was a direct casualty, doing time at the Fort Worth prison after being arrested for possession of Heroin. When he got out he followed the path of other New Orleans musicians and left for the city of angels. …”
Gris-Gris, by Dr. John
W – Gris-Gris, W –  Babylon, W – Remedies, W – The Sun, Moon & Herbs
Discogs – Gris-Gris (Video), Babylon (Video), Remedies (Video), The Sun, Moon & Herbs (Video)
YouTube: Gris-gris 1 / 7, Remedies 1 / 6, The Sun, Moon & Herbs 1 / 7

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
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