Dr. John w/ Black Keys’ Auerbach in Brooklyn Acad Music

Blind Boys of Alabama, conguero & Dr. John at BAM

Locked Down is The Black Keys guitarist-songwriter Dan Auerbach’s collaboration with Mac “Dr. John” Rebennack — the two premiere it April 5 – 7 at Brooklyn Academy of Music, second program of three the good Dr. presents there over three consecutive weekends. I bet it’ll be a better-produced show than his “Tribute to Louis Armstrong,” the all-star hodgepodge I’ve reported on in my new City Arts column. Which was fun, but. . .

On first listen: Locked Down is bluesy, hooky and kinda rad, more wry and martial than funky and celebratory. A retro-soul mix: Plenty of gtr-tremolo, cheesy organ, stiff-rockin’ rhythms, girls goin’ ooh and ahh while Mac croons, “Religious delusions . . . stone confusions . . .rebellion revolution . .  Is this the final solution?” over riffing bari sax. He rues our current hard times in “Ice Age,” warns “the world’s loss is everybody’s business,” portrays an egomaniac in “Big Shot” then gets credibly humble in “God’s Sure Good.” Not about to replace “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” in my playlist, but a strong followup, 45 years later, to that swamp mystic classic.

Next week Dr. John hosts New Orleans homies Irma Thomas, Ivan Neville, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, alto saxist Donald Harrison and trumpeter Nicholas (“‘BAM’ not ‘jazz,’“) Payton. Predicting that will be another loose, over-stuffed, fun-enough event.


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  1. says

    Just a quick question out of curiosity – in your Dr John/Satchmo review, you state: I heard the Doctor’s psychedelic swamp rock band in 1967 and fell under its spell. I have the impression You saw him back then, but possibly you were being literal when you say “heard,” as I and my friends back then heard the LP. “Enquiring minds” and all that.

    • says

      I saw Dr. John the Gris-Gris Man and his band at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago on a bill with Linda Rondstadt and the Stone Ponies and a third act which has slipped my mind. As I recall, the band featured a Native American guitarist who sat at the edge of the stage and two “chick singers” providing backup (on “Gilder Splinters”: “Dear operator. . . dear operator” echoing . . .I still to this day wonder what that means). Dr. John had a satchel of gris-gris, some sort of sparkly dust, which he tossed out on the crowd. Quite a memorable show; one of the first rock concerts I attended.

  2. Joseph Getter says

    Howard, it looks like comments are closed on your earlier post about the wayang at the Asia Society. So forgive me for writing here. Just wanted to say thanks again for you post, and to acknowledge that the CMP recording of Pak Cokro — for which you wrote liner notes — is (in my and many others’ opinions) an all-time classic, one of the very best recordings of Javanese gamelan. Cheers.

    • says

      Joseph, thanks for the note. I’d love to hear Pak Cokro, I don’t have it, and don’t have a copy of my liner notes any more, either. (ps. I don’t understand why the comments on the earlier post are closed, I’ll look into that, they shouldn’t be).