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Under a Hoodoo Moon: The Life of the Night Tripper Paperback – March 15, 1995


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (March 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312131976
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312131975
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #442,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As much a tribute to Rebennack's native New Orleans and its vibrant music scene as it is an autobiography, this candid book provides an inside look at the drug-using, hell-raising lifestyle adopted by many rock musicians. Writing in a loose, slangy style with freelancer Rummel, Rebennack, whose albums as Dr. John ( Gris Gris ; Gumbo ) helped popularize the distinctively Cajun-influenced music that is now a hallmark of the New Orleans sound, presents a compelling picture of his hometown as a place of enormous musical energy and excitement. We read of all-night jam sessions, quirky local characters and Voodoo rituals (the sobriquet Dr. John is borrowed from an early Voodoo master). Influenced by such New Orleans greats as James Booker and Professor Longhair, Rebennack hit the road with his first band when he was 16 and, because of narcotics, soon found himself in trouble with the law. He is oddly blase about drugs and tries so hard to maintain his cool-cat rock 'n' roll persona that he comes across more as a caricature than as a real person. The portrait of Crescent City's music scene, by contrast, has depth. Photos not seen by PW. Author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Rebennack, a.k.a. Dr. John the Night Tripper, was born in New Orleans in 1940. In his early teens he played hooky from Catholic school in order to pitch songs to Little Richard and Art Neville. By the age of 16, he had recorded an album of original songs and developed a heroin habit. Over the next six years, he honed his craft playing for strippers, pimps, junkies, and even a pickpocketing monkey. When the infamous Jim Garrison cleaned up the city in 1962, Mac took a two-year sabbatical at a federal prison in Fort Worth. Upon his release, he headed for California, where his prodigious session work led to his solo career as Dr. John, one of the Sixties' most outrageous and creative performers. Today, four Grammy Awards later and his drug problems behind him, he's still rocking. This no-holds-barred autobiography by the hippest, "fonkiest" cat to come down the musical turnpike is essential for music libraries.
- Dan Bogey, Clearfield Cty. P.L. Federation, Curwensville, Pa.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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See all 19 customer reviews
His unique experiences and his sense of humor make it fascinating to read from beginning to end.
D. Cashton
I have read this book twice, not only because I like Dr.John's music, but also because I love the city of New Orleans and its cultural heritage.
Javier Fernandez
His love of music got his soul in trouble with drugs and his fans were the ones who benefitted from his pain and suffering.
MamaRoux Jax

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Javier Fernandez on November 4, 2009
Format: Paperback
I have read this book twice, not only because I like Dr.John's music, but also because I love the city of New Orleans and its cultural heritage. This book is more than just a musical biography; it's a chronicle of the Crescent City's music scene since the 50's and a huge source of musical information. Of course, Dr. John's biography and musical career is the main subject of the book and it will live up to your expectations. His recollections of his early career, Cosimo Matassa, Professor Longhair, Huey Piano Smith, Fats Domino, James Booker, and many more quoted in the book are priceless. His more recent musical experiences with big names such as Frank Zappa, The Rolling Stones, John Lennon, Van Morrison or Eric Clapton are remarkable too. On the contrary to many other musical biographies, there are not any gossips in this one, just music facts. Dr. John reviews some of his own recordings and includes some of the lyrics. There is also a chapter dedicated to the voodoo religion.

Co-written with author Jack Rummel, the book even works as a travel guidebook to the city. In one of my visits to the Big Easy after reading the book, I found places and sightseeings mentioned in it that I wouldn't find in any other guidebook. Highly recommended.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 23, 2000
Format: Paperback
Want to be a professional musician? Think twice. Dr. John confirms the musician's world as full of addicts, thieves, prostitutes, and swindlers, where almost no one can be trusted. I give the book five stars because it was interesting enough that I finished it, but it's a bittersweet tale of a man who loves music stumbling in a junkie's nightmare. I appreciate his honesty, his sense of humor, his optimism, and his love for music. As an amateur musician who used to contemplate a musical career, I'm glad I opted for a day job and a house in the suburbs. But the story is fascinating. Now I definitely want to check out some of his music.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By D. Cashton on April 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
For anyone who has heard the music of Mac Rebennack a.k.a. Dr. John, this book is essential reading. His unique experiences and his sense of humor make it fascinating to read from beginning to end.
The good doctor's experiences in the music business make a great tale. From his early attachment to some of the New Orleans music greats, through his own experiences in clubs and recording studios, this makes for a terrific insight into what being a musician is all about.
I would highly recommend this book.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By MamaRoux Jax on February 20, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book will give you a lot of insight to the wild web woven around and by Mac Rebennack. You'll learn more, and maybe to much, about his life, which will open your eyes to the lyrics he's written over the years and in what mental and physical condition he was in during those times. I've been a fan of Dr. John for as long as I can remember, but this book just amazed me! As much as I though I knew, I was wrong. His love of music got his soul in trouble with drugs and his fans were the ones who benefitted from his pain and suffering. He's grown, learned and bloomed into a clear, clean, insightful man. This book made me cry to think of all he went through to get to where he is today. I am lucky enough to own an autographed first edition. It is one of my most prized posessions. If you love New Orleans, Fonk, Blues, and Swampadelic music you MUST read this book!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Thomas J. Bradley on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
Dr. John preformed on "Mondaygras" (the day before Fat Tuesday) in a New Orleans warehouse in 1987. On that night he introduced himself to me and several hundred New Orleans revelers. Those in attendance experienced the hoodoo moon and the life of the night tripper. For all others who missed that magical evening, the book, Under A Hoodoo Moon: The Life of the Night Tripper, Dr. John (Mac Rebennack) will make you feel as if you were standing at my side as I permitted the entire life of Dr. John to dance in my blood for that moment in time. The book merely affirms my experience.

I was in college. My dear friend Ruth managed to score some primo tickets. Having lived in New Orleans I knew it would be a special evening. It really did not matter who played. Around midnight and away from the haze of Bourbon Street, New Orleans naturally hums to a rebellious tune. The venue was hot. Crazed girls began to remove their cloths. Eventhough it was an open bar and the liquor was free, bottles of booze mysteriously appeared and were passed from person-to-person bonding us as one in drunkenness. Beads and doubloons rained from clouds of marijuana when the hedonistic frenzy was briefly interrupted by a very large man strolling toward the stage.

It was Dr. John. He needed no introduction. His tangled hair, glassy eyes, weathered skin, and shaman walking stick told their own story. He had sleazed with the dirtiest whores, drank the cheapest liquor, smoked the strongest weed, ate the finest gumbo, and still took joy in thumbing his nose at every law set before his destination. We were his family for that moment.

It is easy to recognize that Dr. John is a good and proud man with an ethos that shakes a soul. Just listen to his cyanne and cured voice.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A. Fogey on October 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I had heard a series of interviews with Mac (on [...]) made during the research for the book. The book is amazingly true to the interviews. The guy can talk. If I hadn't heard the interviews I might have been turned off by the idiosyncrasies of spelling and language, like fonk instead of funk.

To me, it provided a very absorbing inside look at the post-war New Orleans music scene. Man, that was tough: cut-throat competition for work, ubiquitous drugs, and significant violence. It was interesting to read about how so many people kept such remarkable focus on improving as musicians in the business. The discussions of the LA recording scene were interesting too.
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