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Dr. John: The Best of the Parlophone Years

Any Mac Rebennack aficionado worth his Sazerac is well familiar with the gravel-filled majesty of the four albums the endlessly prolific swamp magician recorded for Parlophone between 1998 and 2004. For the uninitiated, this spicy 17-track gumbo provides a solid, if slightly stilted, overview, with a lengthy dip into the London-recorded Anutha Zone plus adequate representation from Creole Moon and last year’s N’Awlinz: Dis, Dat or D’Udda (including a kickass “I Ate Up the Apple Tree” that pairs him with fellow musical sorcerer Randy Newman).

The only disappointment is the inclusion of a scant two tracks-“It Don’t Mean a Thing” and “I’m Gonna Go Fishin'”-from his uniquely satisfying 1999 Ellington tribute, Duke Elegant. Best, then, to augment this collection with the entire Ellington disc (still, fortunately, in print), complete with inimitable treatments of “Perdido,” “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” “Satin Doll,” “Caravan” and a half dozen others straight from the bottom of Rebennack’s gutbucket.

Originally Published