Dr. John – Locked Down Dr. John – Locked Down

Generally, I wouldn’t consider myself a Dr. John “fan.” He is an artist that has dozens of records, and I’ve heard a mere four or so. He does, however, hold a special distinction for me: the first time hearing his music shook me in ways that are hard to describe. When a friend played his first record Gris Gris for me, I had never really heard anything similar, nor have I since. It was inspiring, moving, creepy. That moment and that album have stayed with me since. It wasn’t until years later that I started to delve into his catalog. Unfortunately, I was to learn that his next three records were moving further and further from that voodoo drenched sound that captivated me in the first place. Admittedly, I gave up after that.

Upon realizing that Dan Auerbach from the Black Keys had produced and played on Locked Down, Dr. John’s newest release, it seemed like the apt moment to give him another shot. Like Gris Gris, this album delivered a very welcome surprise. It is shockingly fresh, energetic, even experimental. This is quite a feat for 71 year old who has been making records since 1968. When Jack White produced Wanda Jackson’s latest record, the result sounded like his record with her merely singing over it. Locked Down feels quite the opposite. If anything, it makes you reflect on Dr. John’s influence on the Black Keys. The fortunate side-effect of this level of collaboration results in a record that showcases the very best of both artists’ abilities.

“Kingdom of Izzness” is a prime example of this. As an avid listener of the Black Keys, my initial reaction is that it not only sounds like on of their own, but sounds like Auerbach is doing the lead vocals. When the realization sets in that this actually sounds like classic Dr. John, his influence on the Black Keys becomes very clear.

There is one major distinction in this record though, which is possibly a result of Auerbach on production responsibilities. The few Dr. John records I have come to love can really only be enjoyed in certain environments, namely dark rooms with a lot of candles, while only in a certain mood. In a stark contrast to this, I am finding myself wanting to listen to Locked Down at any and all times of the day. It is so vibrant and full of life, instantly brightening my mood. That is a quality I never imagined I would find in a Dr. John record, but am so excited to have discovered.

01 – Locked Down
02 – Revolution
03 – Big Shot
04 – Ice Age
05 – Getaway
06 – Kingdom of Izzness
07 – You Lie
08 – Eleggua
09 – My Children, My Angels
10 – God’s Sure Good

Dr. John - Locked Down, reviewed by Daniel G on 2012-07-19T09:54:30-07:00 rating 4.5 out of 5

Comments are closed.