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Dirty Dozen Brass Band: Medicated Magic

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A cherished New Orleans institution, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band has been making its brand of good-time music for 25 years, and the band celebrated this milestone by recording an album that pays tribute to the music of its hometown. Medicated Magic includes compositions by many of the Crescent City’s leading musical luminaries, such as Dr. John, Allen Toussaint and the Meters, performed in the Dirty Dozen’s trademark high-spirited style.

The album opener, “Ain’t Nothin’ But a Party,” sets the tone. Jovial and rousing, complete with singing and clapping, the song lets the listener know right away that on this album a good time will be had by all. Medicated Magic features several well-known guest artists, including John Bell of the jam band Widespread Panic, who provides gravelly vocals on the Dr. John classic “Walk on Gilded Splinters.” Dr. John himself turns up on two tracks, including the band’s infectiously grooving cover of Toussaint’s “Everything I Do Gon’ Be Funky.” Slide guitarist Robert Randolph helps the band give Aaron Neville’s hit “Tell It Like It Is” a bluesy twist, and trumpeter Olu Dara appears on a swinging version of Dr. John’s “Junko Partner.” The original composition “We Got Robbed” might have been inspired by a grim experience in which the band’s trailer and equipment were stolen, but you’d never know it from the tune’s party vibe, which includes siren sounds courtesy of turntable master DJ Logic.

Medicated Magic is unquestionably one of the most festive albums of the year.