Written by Jim Bille
Feb 05, 2009 at 08:00 PM
ImageThe Night Tripper himself made an appearance at HOB last week for a pre- Mardi gras celebration. Mac Rebennack aka Dr. John brought his home cookin, soul shuffle, swingin’ style to town to entertain a substantial sized crowd eager to start the Fat Tuesday party early. If you were at the House of Blues Thursday then you were in the right place to hear ‘The Right Place’ and more from everyone’s favorite musical doctor.

Along with his band the Lower 9/11th, Dr John gave up a great show that featured a little bit of every thing from his vast repertoire. ‘I’ve Been Hoodooed’, ‘Goin Back to New Orleans’ and ‘I’m Gonna Go Fishin’ were just a few of the musical prescriptions filled for the crowd as Rebennack and company really tore it up Louisiana style.

Dr. John’s barrelhouse piano roll boogie sound has direct links to other great New Orleans keyboard bangers such as Professor Longhair and Antoine” Fats” Domino. Since his arrival on the national music scene back in 1968 with the release of his debut album Gris Gris, Dr. J has managed to carve a one of a kind musical niche for himself. Songs about gumbo, voodoo and Bourbon Street are quite often the main ingredients that make up his musical reux.

Dr. John has always sung about all the good times New Orleans has to offer. Songs featured throughout the night from his most recent release ‘The City that Care Forgot’ reminded us about the bad times that have fallen on his beloved city, with songs about devastation, misappropriation and or a lack of support the citizens received after the Katrina tragedy of 2005. He has been very outspoken about the mishandling of relief for New Orleans and with this album Dr. John has penned his thoughts to music… a wonderful tribute to a wonderful town.

If you missed this show you can catch Dr. John at Discovery Green downtown later this year. I’ll be there for sure…

The second party started with a high energy set from the Neville Brothers, which of course featured the trademark sound of Brother Aaron’s ethereal voice. Along with Aaron, Charles, Art and Cyril, the Neville Brothers have been considered the premier New Orleans party band for many years now and Houston found out why Thursday.

The band opened their set with ‘Congo Square’ a jump tune that relies heavily on Charles Neville’s incredible saxophone efforts. That was all that was needed to start a rhythmic undulation through the crowd that would last the rest of the night. I haven’t seen the brothers in quite a few years and have to say I might have forgotten a little bit about how intense a Neville Brothers show can be.

These guy’s are the definition of New Orleans R&B, funk and blues. Everyone who is aware of the Neville Brothers automatically thinks of Aaron Neville’s incredible vocals ….but as a whole, the harmonies from the four brothers Thursday were amazing.

Some signature Neville Brother’s song’s featured included ‘Brother Jake’ and ‘Yellow Moon’`. Sam Cooke’s ‘A Change is Gonna Come’ was Aaron Neville’s highlight for the night. With this song Aaron ran though a voice exercise that defied vocal chord gravity.

This was a fantastic double billing with some of the very best musical ambassadors ever to come out of the Crescent City.