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Dr. John: The Best of the Parlophone Years

Jim Santella By

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Including selections from Duke Elegant, Creole Moon, N'Awlinz: Dis Dat or D'Udda, and Anutha Zone, as well as two bonus tracks, The Best of the Parlophone Years presents Dr. John doin' what he does best. With that voice, there's no mistake who's settin' down the blues for ya. There are only a handful of voices in history which have been so widely recognized and so easy to tell from the rest. Writers have suggested that Howard Cosell, Muhammad Ali, Lou Rawls, Barry White, Johnny Cash, and Louis Armstrong stand apart for their one-in-a-million vocal characteristics. Add Dr. John to that list. His gravel throat and his voodoo storytellin' reach out, surround you, and take you on one adventure after another.

"Careless Love" comes from the same recording session as N'Awlinz: Dis Dat or D'Udda, but it was not previously issued. On this traditional selection, synchronized horns, crisp drum backbeats, and a romping electric bass surround the singer as he slowly pours out golden threads of honey that enchant intuitively. The other bonus track is "Look Out," an original that was previously available on the Japanese version of Anutha Zone. With this anthem, Dr. John carries blues-rock to its maximum strength with an intense study that starts your feet tappin' and the rest of your body movin' around. "Look Out," you can't help it.

B.B. King and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown join Dr. John on "Hen Layin' Rooster," a rollicking, double-entendre blues that puts a smile on your face. Randy Newman joins the leader on "I Ate Up the Apple Tree," a fun-loving shuffle that features an excellent array of horns and choir. The spirit is there, and Dr. John makes sure that everything falls into place with a natural essence.

"Sweet Home New Orleans" provides the exotic character that we associate with The City that Care Forgot. Dr. John makes his audience quite comfortable with a rollicking piano and a stomp that won't quit. For ambience, he's the one to turn to, and Blue Note's compilation brings it home like no other.


Track Listing: Zonata; I Like Ki Yoka; It Don't Mean a Thing (If it Ain't Got That Swing); Voices in My Head; Marie Laveau; Party Hellfire; Now That You Got Me; Hen Layin' Rooster; I Ate Up the Apple Tree; I'm Gonna Go Fishin'; Hello God; Food for Thot; I Don't Wanna Know; Lay My Burden Down; Sweet Home New Orleans; Careless Love; Look Out.

Personnel: Dr. John- piano, vocals; B.B. King- vocal; Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown- viola; Mick Quinn- bass; Jason Pierce- guitar; Randy Newman- vocal; Damon Minchella- bass; Jools Holland- organ; Mavis Staples- vocal; Paul Weller- guitar; Robin Jones- percussion; Fred Wesley- trombone; Gaz Coombes- guitar; The Dirty Dozen Brass Band; others.

Title: The Best of the Parlophone Years | Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Blue Note Records


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