Dr. John

The Definitive Pop Collection

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More often than not, when a label issues a budget price "definitive pop collection" by an artist, it's simply not; instead, it's usually compiled of dead dog tracks the artist would like to forget having recorded in the first place. Not so with Rhino's Definitive Pop series. Each volume has great sound, a stellar collection of cuts, good notes, and the right track accreditation: catalog number, single, and/or LP title. There are 30 cuts on this double-disc Dr. John set that retails for a buck more than an individual CD. From the early stuff like "Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya," and "Mama Roux," (yes, yes, yes, "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" is most definitely here), to the later Warner material, like his version of "Makin' Whoopee," and the beautiful "Goin Back to New Orleans," there isn't a dead dog cut on the entire glorious mess. Hearing the "Huey Smith Medley" again, or "Such a Night," or even "What Goes Around (Comes Around)" is delightful, and in some cases, a genuinely moving experience. At the very least it adds up to a rompin,' sometimes spooky, good time. This collection is, basically, faultless.

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