If you’re looking for a little Hallowe’en atmosphere this weekend, you could certainly do worse than Dr. John’s 1968 Gris-Gris. The album opens with a wailing sax before the epic testament, “They call me Dr. John,” that opens one hell of a grooving, meandering trip through blues, jazz and psychedelia. The album follows and arc of weirdness, where the first and last songs are both cool groovers, enclosing catchy weird numbers, while the centre of the album hearkens to the freaky climax of Akron/Family’s “Lake Song/New ceremonial Music for Mothers” off of their incredible Love is Simple (2007). (As a sidenote the Good Doctor could easily be mistaken for a member of Akron/Family in the above photo.) The music is dark, yet fun, freaky yet catchy and it all sounds like it was recorded in the midst of a hoodoo cermony curated by a group of stellar musicians. The album closes with Dr. John’s assertion, “J’suis the Grand Zombie.” What better reason to dig into this classic album on Hallowe’en weekend?
Check out my favourites from the album below.
Dr. John, “Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya” (1968)
Dr. John, “Jump Sturdy” (1968)
Dr. John, “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” (1968)