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Locked Down


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Dr. John - Behind the Scenes during the making of "Tribal"

Biography

The legendary Dr. John is a six-time GRAMMY® Award-winning musician and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee. Known throughout the world as the embodiment of New Orleans’ musical legacy, Dr. John is a true icon in American culture. His colorful musical career began in the 1950s when he wrote and played guitar on some of the greatest records to come out of the Crescent City, ... Read more in Amazon's Dr. John Store

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Locked Down + The Very Best Of Dr. John + Goin' Back To New Orleans
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (April 3, 2012)
  • Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B0074EIQUG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (86 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #8,034 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Locked Down
2. Revolution
3. Big Shot
4. Ice Age
5. Getaway
6. Kingdom of Izzness
7. You Lie
8. Eleggua
9. My Children, My Angels
10. God's Sure Good

Editorial Reviews

New Orleans legend Dr. John's Nonesuch debut, produced by Black Keys guitarist and uber-fan Dan Auerbach, distills half a century of this Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee's picaresque musical history, melding his shamanistic stage persona with the authority of a consummate studio musician, the cosmic conjurer with the street-savvy poet. The ten new songs on Locked Down, written by Dr. John with Auerbach and a handpicked crew of backing musicians, combine incantatory chants ("Ellegua") and often politically charged raps ("Revolution") with candid and soulful reflections ("My Children, My Angels"), swaggering R&B ("Big Shot"), and a healthy dose of hypnotic, simmering funk ("The King Of Izness"). As with much of what this multiple Grammy-award winning singer and composer has recorded over the last five decades, the Big Easy is the musical and spiritual jumping-off point, but these new tracks incorporate a world's worth of influences, from gospel and blues to psychedelic rock and Afro-beat.

Auerbach had reached out to the iconic pianist, composer and singer better known to friends and fans as Mac Rebennack in 2010, offering to produce "the best record you've made in a long time." After performing with Rebennack at the 2011 Bonnaroo Music Festival, Auerbach made good on that promise. The instrumental tracks for Locked Down were recorded at Auerbach's new Easy Eye Sound in Nashville and took shape during nine days of intense free-form sessions with the band Auerbach had originally assembled for Bonnaroo. Rebennack later returned on his own, with pages of lyrics, poems and ideas, to complete these songs. As Auerbach recounts, "Watching him come up with parts was just so awesome. Mac is fearless, Like that Farfisa solo on "Revolution" -- that's a first-take solo. He just goes for it, man. And he killed it." Though Rebennack is sought after by countless jazz, R&B and rock artists for his piano playing, Auerbach kept him away from the instrument while encouraging him to experiment with other keyboards. "I wanted to keep him a bit more edgy. I didn't want him to be outright retro in any way. And keeping him off the piano sort of helped. A lot of the music I played for Mac, when I went and visited him before the sessions, really perked up his ears - the really oddball stuff like the Ethiopian funk where the keyboardist is playing a Farfisa, those kind of good weird keyboard sounds."

With Auerbach's help, Rebennack recently featured on HBO's Treme, playing himself is poised to reclaim his position as master of the melting-pot Louisianan music style he pioneered in the late sixties under the guise of Dr. John, the Night Tripper. Funky, mysterious, downright mystical albums like Gris Gris and Babylon deeply influenced such artists as Eric Clapton and the Rolling Stones, who invited Rebennack to play on their infamous Exile On Main Street sessions, and this work has, arguably, altered the course of rock and roll. Auerbach's mission was "to bring back an awareness of him. I don't think he gets enough of the credit he deserves. After meeting him and talking to him and seeing the kind of stuff he was into, I knew that was still there, that person, that fire. He really was spiritual and cosmic but very much into conspiracy theory, politics. He had all the right things in his mind and I just knew I could get him to speak that language again."

Customer Reviews

Dr. John at his finest.
T. Downing
Every song is a mix of a catchy groove, with appropriate psychedelic coloring, and even traces of almost Trip-hop/Hip Hop beats, all under the great Doctor's growl.
GJC
There are just some really, really intriguing and interesting beats here that you just don't find in most other popular music, even previously be Dr. John.
Scott D. Whigham

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

64 of 66 people found the following review helpful By Rudy Palma on April 3, 2012
Format: Audio CD
A ball of fire continues to reside within Dr. John, casting a poetic divergence between the artist and the title of his new set of tunes. "Locked Down" is a blazing fusion of highly literate, funky, southern-fried Americana, blues, pop, soul and R&B that shows the venerable New Orleans-born musician in full creative force, with each detail invigorating, precise and carefully-honed.

One can only hope that Nonesuch (this marks Dr. John's debut on the label) will know how to market the album correctly. "Locked Down" has the power to please not only lifelong appreciators of his verve and dexterity but has the power to reel in new listeners as well.

The life force that has Dr. John sounding remarkably invigorated at this later stage of his career has much to do with Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, who assembled great players such as drummer Max Weissenfeldt and bassist Nick Movshon. They support him and this solid collection of tunes with passion and professionalism, causing the ingredients to slip into place like puzzle pieces.

The fast-moving set of ten tunes sounds ripe for the 70s LP album market in more ways than one. "Getaway" pulses with longing, grit and a hurts-so-good desperation that is downright infectious. "Kingdom of Izzness" is downright groovy and chilly, as is the dark social commentary of "Ice Age," while the entrancing poetry of the title track is anchored by steady percussion and hearty guitar licks.

There is a lifetime of experience in his voice and playing. When Dr. John sings a line such as "Don't take the easy road - there's no short cut" from the quietly insistent "My Children, My Angels" it comes with a specific and heavy weight attached to it that is instantly resonant.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Sir Sleeps a lot on April 3, 2012
Format: MP3 Music Verified Purchase
This is the most interesting Dr. John record in my opinion since "Gris Gris". Though not a showcase of his piano chops as much as his 70's stuff, the songwriting and production is so good, its just incredible. The african beats make a great accompaniment to Dr. John's voice. I was hoping for something new from this album, and it really delivers. A couple of rock-oriented singles, like "Locked Down" but overall some really complex and awesomely rhythmic sound textures.

I am a huge fan, as a native New Orleanian, and to be able to see the Dr. still laying down fonkyness at his age uplifts us all. Thanks to Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys for helping bring the Dr. back to where he needs to be, the Big Shot at the center of the NOLA universe!

Buy this. You won't regret it.
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21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By GJC on April 4, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Although not as "swampy" as "Gris-Gris" this album captures the thickness, the humidity, the layers of New Orleans. Every song is a mix of a catchy groove, with appropriate psychedelic coloring, and even traces of almost Trip-hop/Hip Hop beats, all under the great Doctor's growl. Truly a musical gumbo that although made in 2012 feels at home in the any late 60s and early 70s playlist. Also the fuzz and slide guitar work ain't bad either.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Tom on April 4, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Those of us who are true fans of Mac Rebennack know of the prodigious talent he brings to every project. Dr. John has been with us for a long time, and when he embraces the Night Tripper, he brings the listener to a deep place.
This is not "Gris-Gris", his great debut album - which is probably a lot deeper than the general public would want to go. It is not "Gumbo", as Dr. John used the original mid-Fifties musicians he played with in the Big Easy way back when to present New Orleans R&B to a new generation. You just can't reproduce that sound today.
But for a modern audience with modern ears, "Locked Down" presents the man hisself. Just as with Muddy Waters' project "Hard Again", we can hear acolytes who could be his grandchildren support the master as he once again shows everyone how it's done.
Get your passport to the electric swamp. The good doctor will heal your ills.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Veto Twain on April 5, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Blown away. Didn't know what to expect with this one. Old fan of the good Dr., and a big fan of The Black Key's cool, jacked, raw, stripped down, and groovy fuzz. A friend said I had to listen, and that it "would shock me, and not disappoint". We've all heard that one before, but wow, if they weren't spot on. Vocals, key's, and a killer guitar, not to mention terrific production. This freakin' rocks. I could not have imagined a comeback like this sounding as fresh and hot. From the first song, Dr. John delivers his best in many years, and for those wondering if it will sound dated, not a chance. Wait 'til the radio starts riding it. In some ways, I ALMOST wish this was his first album, just to see what a response he'd get unaffected by preconceived notions of genre or style.

This one will put him back on the map. Watch for Grammy's, big reviews and a healthy dose of new fans finding out who the good Dr. is.

Amazing. What a surprise. What an album.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nse Ette TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 7, 2012
Format: Audio CD
I must admit, I'm new to the music of Dr. John, and this album only came to my attention as it is produced by Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys, one of my favourite bands. The sound is Afrobeat infused Blues (polyrhythms permeate all the tracks), and all ten songs are good with catchy hooks and superb musicianship, with Dr. John's weathered vocals (he is after all 71) sitting comfortably atop the grooves.

Opening is the title track (with a guitar-shredding solo, and a vibraphone solo near the end), followed by the bouncy "Revolution" (with great organ and baritone sax - my favourite), the tender "Big Shot", the shuffling rhythmic Afrobeat of "Ice Age", the groovy "Getaway" (with some dischordant effects), the funky "Kingdom Of Izzness" (with some soothing female harmonies smoothening out any abrasiveness), the percussion-rich "You Lie", "Eleggua" (very Seventies Funk/Soul), and the gentle enchanting piano-sprinkled ballad :My Children, My Angels".

Closing the collection is "God's Sure Good", a gem with reflective lyrics and a Gospel choir punctuating in bursts. This album is sure good!
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