Right Place, Right Time: Live at Tipitina's Mardi Gras '89
First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2006, Volume 13, #4
Written by Robert Bernstein
Mac Rebennack, otherwise known as Dr. John, has been working in the clubs of New Orleans since the late 1950s, and save for a brief flirtation with fame during the í70s, he largely has drifted under the mainstream radar. He began his career as session keyboardist for Professor Longhair, though he soon made a name for himself, first as a producer and arranger and then as a performer. In the wake of the recent devastation of Katrina, itís fitting that he dug deep into his archives to find a performance at Tipitinaís during Mardi Gras in 1989, which forms the basis for his latest concert set Right Place, Right Time.
Dr. John always has had a strong stage presence as well as a penchant for fusing everything from blues to Caribbean fare to psychedelia ó frequently within the same song. On Right Place, Right Time, he keeps that formula in working order. During the opening number Junco Partner, he sets a groovy backbeat while saxophone and trumpet wail, effectively transporting the listener into the small venue in which he is performing. Later, he brings it down a few notches with a spooky rendition of I Walk on Guilded Splinters before rolling into the blues-y, rollicking refrains of Wang Dang Doodle. The most powerful track on Right Place, Right Time, however, may be Donít let the Sun Catch you Crying. Here, he shows his lighter side as well as his vocal prowess as a balladeer.
Throughout Right Place, Right Time, Dr. John emotively delivers the powerful lyrics of his material, and he engages in extensive interplay with his horn and rhythm section. He knows precisely when to sit back and listen as his melodies get thrown around the stage. The closing selection is his signature song Such a Night, which nicely summarizes what it must have been like to mark the beginning of Lent in that little bar in New Orleans. Dr. John likely is one of the best singer/piano players alive today, and on this evening, he was in full command of his mystical powers. Ĺ
Of Further Interest...
Right Place, Right Time: Live at Tipitina's Mardi Gras '89 is available
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box