Dr John - Hollywood Be Thy Name (1975)

Dr John (real name Mac Rebennack) is an American singer-songwriter and musician, best known as a pianist.

Dr John's eighth album was recorded at Cherokee Studios in L.A. and produced by Bob Ezrin, whilst he was on tour. The studio was transformed into a nightclub for the sessions, and most of the songs were recorded in front of an audience, making it a sort-of-live affair. He was backed by a fantastic ensemble of musicians, including a large brass section, female backing singers, and organist Ronnie Barron (an old friend of his from back when he started in the late 50s). The result was Hollywood Be Thy Name, an excellent patchwork of R&B, soul, rock, boogie-woogie, voodoo, gospel and more (including a surprisingly effective guitar-driven hard rock song, "Reggae Doctor"). It was heavy on cover material, including The Beatles' "Yesterday", Bill Quateman's "Back By The River", Smokey Robinson's "The Way You Do Things You Do" (sung by the backing vocalists), and a rollicking "I Wanna Rock" (written by Roy Montrell, who originally cut it under the title "That Mellow Saxophone"). Another notable highlight was a medley of "It's All Right With Me" (sung by guitarist Alvin Robinson) and "Will The Circle Be Unbroken" (sung by Barron).
The end result was less about Dr John as a solo artist, but rather as the charismatic piano-playing bandleader of an awesome New Orleans musical ensemble. Quite a strange album, and not one of his better-known ones, but maybe one of his best.

Desitively Bonnaroo (1974) <|> City Lights (1978)
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