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Dr. John: Creole Moon

For those whose knowledge of New Orleans culture extends little beyond Mardi Gras and the various Marsalises, Creole Moon is the most colorful crash course you’d ever hope to find. Mac Rebennack-aka Dr. John-has remained the city’s best, and most loyal, troubadour for nearly four decades. In that inimitable voice of his, which always sounds like he’s just downed a tumbler of Sazarac then decided to swallow the glass for good measure, the hoodoo guru has filled some two-dozen albums with a heady blend of jazz, funk and blues. Despite their eclecticism, all the CDs have remained true to his gris-gris roots. Never before, though, has Rebennack delivered such a deeply personal collection or so fully captured the Crescent City’s wacky schizophrenia.

Creole Moon gets deep under the skin of a town that simultaneously embraces voodoo and Catholicism, that is equal parts Southern belle and streetwise streetwalker, that makes a point of celebrating life and death with the same fervor. From the jaded romanticism of “Imitation of Love” to the moralistic mysticism of “Monkey and Baboon” and the boldly life-affirming “Take What I Can Get,” Rebennack dishes out a 14-track etoufee spiced with all of the hot, sour, sweet and spooky essences that define New Orleans. As an added bonus, Creole Moon pays homage to the late, great lyricist Doc Pomus, who collaborated with Rebennack on six of the album’s tracks.

Originally Published