John the Night Tripper - a psychedelic Pied Piper whose crackling voice and eye-opening lyrics made him one of rock's eccentric visionaries. This unflinching autobiography by Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John, with Rummel Malcolm X, gives a firsthand account of New Orleans street life and musical history in the last few decades. Rebennack began frequenting New Orleans music clubs at an early age. In the '50s he dropped out of high school and devoted himself to playing the piano and guitar. While developing his music he also developed a taste for heroin and other drugs.
To supplement their income, musicians also engaged in some of these vocations. Rebennack admits to participating in many shady dealings: He disposed of fetuses for an abortionist, held stick- ups, and conspired to, but evidently did not, murder. After a stint in prison on narcotics charges, he cast himself as Dr. John, based on the 19th-century conjurer by that name, and played distinctly New Orleans music in a wild stage show that featured snake handling and black magic.
John's music became popular with the '60s counterculture. A life this varied and chaotic is hard to translate into a linear story. Though Rebennack's prose sometimes rambles, he gives the reader a perspective that most tourists to Bourbon street never see. All rights reserved. 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.
Under a hoodoo moon
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. He typically performed a lively, theatrical stage show inspired by medicine shows , Mardi Gras costumes, and voodoo ceremonies.
Rebennack recorded 30 studio albums and 9 live albums, as well as contributing to thousands of other musicians' recordings. In he achieved a top hit single with " Right Place, Wrong Time ". In May , Rebennack received an honorary doctorate of fine arts from Tulane University. Rebennack was born in New Orleans on November 20, He did not take music lessons before his teens and endured only a short stint in choir before getting kicked out. Throughout his adolescence his father's connections enabled him access to the recording rooms of rock artists, including Little Richard and Guitar Slim.
Later he began to perform in New Orleans clubs, mainly on guitar, and played on stage with various local artists. When he was about 13 years old, Rebennack met Professor Longhair. Impressed by the professor's flamboyant attire and striking musical style,  Rebennack soon began performing with him, and began his life as a professional musician.
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He joined the musicians' union at the end of , with the help of Danny Kessler, and then considered himself to be a professional musician. While a struggling student at Jesuit High School, he was already playing in night clubs, something the Jesuit fathers disapproved of. He formed his first band, The Dominoes, while at the school. Rebennack was expelled from the high school in  and from then on focused entirely on music.
By the age of 17 he had co-written his first rock and roll song "Lights Out", which was a regional hit for white singer Jerry Byrne on the Specialty label in He oversaw the rhythm section while Miller wrote the horn arrangements and headed up the horns. This continued until Miller moved to New York to study music formally. Rebennack's career as a guitarist was stunted around ,  when the ring finger on his left guitar fretting hand was injured by a gunshot during an incident at a Jacksonville, Florida gig.
Rebennack became involved in illegal activities in New Orleans, using and selling narcotics and running a brothel. He was arrested on drug charges and sentenced to two years in the Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Worth. When his sentence ended in , however, a campaign was underway to clean up New Orleans by closing its clubs, which meant that he and his fellow musicians found work hard to get.
Under a Hoodoo Moon: The Life of the Night Tripper by Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack
So he left for Los Angeles. Once settled in Los Angeles  he became a "first call" session musician in the Los Angeles studio scene in the s and s and was part of the so-called "Wrecking Crew" stable of studio musicians. John persona for his old friend Ronnie Barron , based on the life of Dr. John, a Senegalese prince, conjure man, herb doctor and spiritual healer who came to New Orleans from Haiti. This free man of color lived on Bayou Road and claimed to have 15 wives and over 50 children.
He kept an assortment of snakes and lizards, along with embalmed scorpions and animal and human skulls, and sold gris-gris , voodoo amulets which supposedly protect the wearer from harm. Rebennack decided to produce a record and a stage show based on this concept, with Dr. John serving as an emblem of New Orleans heritage. Although initially the plan was for Barron to front the act assuming the identity of "Dr.
John", while Rebennack worked behind the scenes as Dr. Barron dropped out of the project, and Rebennack took over the role and identity of Dr. John's debut album, released in January , representing his own form of "voodoo medicine". Beginning in the late s, Rebennack gained fame as a solo artist after adopting the persona of "Dr. John, The Night Tripper".
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John's act combined New Orleans-style rhythm and blues with psychedelic rock and elaborate stage shows that bordered on voodoo religious ceremonies, including elaborate costumes and headdress. In , when Howard Smith asked him where the name "Dr. Cats used to call me things like "Bishop" or "Governor" or somethin' but they started callin' me "Doctor" for a while, so I just hung it on myself for keeps. John records, the artist billing was "Dr.
John, The Night Tripper", while the songwriting credits billed him as "Dr. John Creaux". During early to mid, Dr.
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Also in , Dr. John contributed to the Music from Free Creek "supersession" project, playing on three tracks with Eric Clapton. Washington and Crooks also contributed to the project. By the time The Sun, Moon, and Herbs was released, he had gained a notable cult following, which included artists such as Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger , who both took part in the sessions for that album. His next album, Dr. John's Gumbo , with drummer Fred Staehle serving as the band's backbone, proved to be a landmark recording and is one of his most popular to this day. Along with Gris-Gris , Dr.
John is perhaps best known for his recordings in the period In his autobiography, Under a Hoodoo Moon , Dr.
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John writes, "In , I recorded Gumbo , an album that was both a tribute to and my interpretation of the music I had grown up with in New Orleans in the late s and s. I tried to keep a lot of little changes that were characteristic of New Orleans, while working my own funknology on piano and guitar.
In , Dr. John's Gumbo was ranked number on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the greatest albums of all time. With Gumbo , Dr. John expanded his career beyond the psychedelic voodoo music and theatrics which had driven his career since he took on the Dr. John persona, although it always remained an integral part of his music and identity. It was not until 's Anutha Zone that he again concentrated on this aspect of his music wholly for a full album. In early Thomas Jefferson Kaye produced an album featuring a collaboration with Dr. In the same way that Gris-Gris introduced the world to the voodoo-influenced side of his music, and in the manner that Dr.
John as one of the main ambassadors of New Orleans funk. In describing the album, Dr. Still in heavy rotation on most classic rock stations, "Right Place Wrong Time" remains his most recognized song. Artists such as Bob Dylan , Bette Midler , and Doug Sahm contributed single lines to the lyrics, which lists several instances of ironic bad luck and failure. John attempted to capitalize on In the Right Place ' s successful formula, again collaborating with Allen Toussaint and The Meters, for his next album, Desitively Bonnaroo — from part of which a Tennessee festival took as its name — released in Although similar in feel to In the Right Place , it failed to catch hold in the mainstream as its predecessor had done.
In the mids Dr. According to Pomus' daughter, Dr. John and her father were very close friends as well as writing partners. In , he collaborated with the legendary Professor Longhair on Fess's another nickname for Henry Byrd last recording Crawfish Fiesta , as a guitarist. The album was awarded the first W.
Handy Blues Album of the Year in , and was released shortly after Longhair's death in January Pages are intact and are not marred by notes or highlighting, but may contain a neat previous owner name. The spine remains undamaged. Dust jacket quality is not guaranteed.
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Buy with confidence, excellent customer service! New York: St Martins Press. First Edition; First Printing. Light bumping at bottom of front panel and spine crown. Near Fine in a Near Fine dust jacket. We're sorry - this copy is no longer available. More tools Find sellers with multiple copies Add to want list. Didn't find what you're looking for? Add to want list. Are you a frequent reader or book collector?