DR JOHN: Before his death in 2019, the master of the voodoo groove fulfilled his lifelong dream of recording a country and western album. Kevin E G Perry gets the lowdown on disagreements with the artist’s estate from producer Shane Theriot, and finds out why the funk and blues icon turned to Hank Williams and Johnny Cash in his final hour

When Dr John first emerged in the late Sixties, it was as if a voodoo priest had risen up from the Louisiana swamps and immediately landed a record deal. It was an image the New Orleans-born singer-songwriter played up to, dressing like a medicine man in an elaborate feather headdress and performing with skulls and candles strewn around his piano. His real name was Mac Rebennack, and he was a 26-year-old session pianist for Sonny and Cher when he recorded his mind-bending 1968 debut album Gris-Gris, a bubbling gumbo of lysergic grooves, ritualistic percussion and growled incantations.

Rebennack embraced his shamanic character over the course of his half-century solo career, which took him to a host of unexpected places. He appeared alongside The Band during their farewell concert film The Last Waltz in 1976 and crooned the theme to Disney’s bayou-set The Princess and the Frog in 2009. Rich and intoxicating, his .....


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