Monday, August 23, 2004

Dr. John – Remedies (Wounded Bird, 1970)

This is a nice mish-mash of Dr. John’s favorite themes mixed up with some psychedelic rock and a heavy New Orleans influence. “On a Mardi Gras Day” leads the band on a march through the city streets with the Doctor banging our some boogie-woogie piano and the horns and the background vocals keeping the syncopated time. “Wash, Mama Wash” has almost a nursery rhyme feel, but he can’t resist turning it into something of a ribald ditty by the end. The most interesting part of the record is the side long 17 minute “Angola Anthem” which is about the prisoners plight in the Angola Prison in Louisiana – the man had done a little time in the course of his career and also Louisiana blues culture was rife with prison songs, stories and lore, so this is a natural. What makes it special is the music and the arrangement, which is heavy on percussion and work-gang like chanted vocals – it’s a really heavy vibe, but works very well and holds up throughout the entire epic song.

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