Dr. John

The Best of Dr. John: The Night Tripper

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Unlike the dozens (literally) of rip-off compilations of very early material that was never meant for release, this Music Club set, The Best of Dr. John: The Night Tripper, is a very solid representation of the musician's early years as a solo artist. It is culled from his Atlantic and Atco sides off his first seven records, issued between 1968-1974: Gris-Gris, Babylon, Remedies, The Sun, Moon & Herbs, Dr. John's Gumbo, Right Place, Wrong Time, and Desitively Bonnaroo. It includes many obvious choices: "I Walk On Gilded Splinters," "Right Place, Wrong Time," "Mama Roux," "Such a Night," and "What Goes Around Comes Around," but also his sometimes radical (for the time, anyway) reinterpretations of NOLA anthems, from Professor Longhair's "Tipitina" and James Crawford's "Iko Iko" to Bob Shad's "Junko Partner" and Earl Gaines' "Big Chief." About the only thing that's really missing here is "Angola Anthem," from Remedies, though its exclusion appears to be because of the tune's extreme length. For a budget label, Music Club has excellent sound quality (compare to the Rhino double-disc), making this a very solid introduction to Dr. John's official early catalog.

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