Gris-Gris by Dr. John is an invocation of the spirit of Bayou Funk and Louisiana Blues mixed with playful psychedelic rock. What’s most exhilarating is being able to distinctly hear the cultures patched together to produce the incomparable New Orleans sound. The mandolin from Sicilian immigrants, Brass instrumentation from the French, and most important for Dr. John, voodoo and West African drums from descendants of slaves. The record opens up with “Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya” and overflows with melodic voodoo chants and Dr. John’s signature raspy voice introducing himself with an abundance of soul. Most of the album is dark and mysterious, though it does offer an upbeat reprieve with “Mama Roux”. It’s more rock than it is blues, and drummer Dr. Boudreaux plays a swinging beat that is seductive and funky. The showstopper of the record is “I Walk on Guilded Splinters”, and its meditative quality is conjured by conguero Mo Pedido whose conga playing is full of life.
– Tana Yonas
Recommended – “Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya” and “I Walk on Guilded Splinters”
Tags: Bayou Funk / Jazz / Louisiana Blues