Really listening to the (sort of) title track for the first time (instead of just being aware of it playing on the radio), it’s clear to me why it’s Dr. John’s biggest hit – the song has much more immediacy to it than anything else of his I’ve ever heard.
Unfortunately, the rest of the album isn’t as immediate. That’s not to say it’s not the same quality necessarily, as this is a New Orleans record and the sound isn’t always about immediacy. But the opening track sets up a sound that the rest of the record doesn’t really live up to. I get that the backing band is rather legendary but I don’t really know anything about them. I don’t blame them for it – I blame either the sequencing or maybe the material overall.
This record is less unique than Dr. John’s debut (the only other record of his I’ve heard) and I think that if the strategy was to make something more commercial, they should have stuck with the vibe of the lead-off track. I guess his debut was a genuine surprise to me and this is less so. And only two songs really stay with me after I stop listening, which is why I sound down on the thing.
But it’s really a decent record, full of excellent playing by the backing band and “New Orleans” enough to not be mistaken for music from another place (though it was apparently recorded in Florida).
- “Right Place, Wrong Time” 2:50
- “Same Old Same Old” 2:39
- “Just the Same” 2:49
- “Qualified” Jessie Hill, Rebennack 4:46
- “Traveling Mood” James Waynes 3:03
- “Peace Brother Peace” 2:47
- “Life” Allen Toussaint 2:29
- “Such a Night” 2:55
- “Shoo Fly Marches On” 3:15
- “I Been Hoodood” 3:12
- “Cold Cold Cold” Alvin Robinson, Jessie Hill, Rebennack 2:37
- Mac Rebennack – vocals, piano on “Qualified”, organ on “Peace Brother Peace” and percussion on “I Been Hoodood”
- Allen Toussaint – piano, electric piano, acoustic guitar, conga drums, tambourine, background vocals, vocal arrangements, arrangement and conducting
- Gary Brown – electric and acoustic saxophones
- Leo Nocentelli – lead guitar
- Art Neville – organ
- George Porter, Jr. – bass
- Joseph Modeliste – drums
- Ralph MacDonald – percussion on “Shoo Fly Marches On”, “Such a Night” and “I Been Hoodood”.
- David Spinozza – guitar solo on “Right Place Wrong Time”.
- The Bonaroo Horn Section – horns.
- Robbie Montgomery and Jessie Smith – backing vocals