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AAA Music | 28 January 2022

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Dr. John – Tribal

| On 01, Jul 2010

Tribal shows this great American artist at the pinnacle of his creative powers, making what might be the most complete statement of his musical and personal identity in his 50-year career.

The new release comes at a time when Dr John is being seen on US TV screens in the new HBO drama series “Treme” (from the makers of “The Wire”) and returns to the UK for a very high profile tour which includes Glastonbury, The Hop Farm and Cornbury Festivals.

Replete with swamp rock, funk, Creole voodoo, and Mardi Gras Indian chants, ‘Tribal’ resurrects the magical persona of “The Night Tripper” in his full regalia.  At the same time, Dr. John displays the rippling piano licks, Cajun-fried humor and sharp political observation that have helped make him a national spokesman for post-Katrina New Orleans – and an indelible presence on “Treme.”

The album is recorded with The Lower 911, a musicianly quartet, and they’re augmented by a small cast of bolt-ons, plus the writing of Allen Toussaint and Mr Charles.

Feel good music is a perfect opening track, it goes from exquisite swell of piano to languidly drawled vocal, exactly what it is going to sound like.

The album goes on showing Dr. John’s impeccable piano style, melted into a warm voice, as in Lissen at our prayer, enriched with lyrical strings.

Jinky Jinx dues something to reggae,  while Change of heart is a the ballad you can hear sat on your stool drinking your glass of whisky

Big Gap is a blues supported by gospel choirs so as Only In Amerika is a classic jazz, but both are angry political broadsides from post-Katrina Louisiana. Music Game soars with help from local sax king Donald Harrison. Omnipresent is John’s rippling piano, a style that reaches deep into Crescent City history.

Whut’s wit dat is my fav track with its blues choirs as they was made in 50’s, trumpets and a stunning piano backdrop.

Tribal is self-explaining, it starts like a tribal song, but turns quickly into a melancholic blues, while Manoovas is more influenced by Jimi’s style, especially the guitar sound, it’s rocker than other songs and I like it!

The album ended with A place in the sun, superbly supported by sax, I have a weakness for it, I think that if you want to write a languid or sexy song, you must to put saxophone in, so it is the best way to close an album that gives freshness to the glory of blues, bringing contributes from different genres, mixed with mastery by a great artist.

Author: Roberta