Dr. John, the Night Tripper (1968) Gris-Gris (LP) Atco 33-234

Dr. John, the Night Tripper

GRIS-Gris

1968

Atco 33-234

Produced by Harold Battiste

**** recommended

Debut long player from the Doctor, the Night Tripper, produced and partially written by the legendary New Orleans native Harold Battiste, acid R&B, slow-crawling psychedelic nightmares, creeping from the swamps of Louisiana, cooked up in the Gold Star kitchens of the City of Angels, pots and pan acid batch bubbling voodoo, American as gumbo stew, jumping up on second-line hind legs for the “Jump Sturdy” strut down the street…tribal and influential, essential.


Almost not released by Atlantic and mostly ignored by the public (but likely noticed by the avant-garde element of LA who likely had influenced the Nighttripper), this recording eventually went on to take its rightful place in the annals of American music.


Even if you end up not digging it for days, everybody should at least give it a listen…sit in the dark and let your head spin around Jupiter…take a night trip through American history.

— winch (author of

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Tab Smith (1956) Red Hot and Cool Blue Moods (LP) United Records 003

 

Tab Smith

Red Hot and Cool Blue Moods

United Records 003

1956

*** noteworthy

 

While few remember Tab Smith today, he was flying high with success in the mid 50s, perhaps United Records’ (Chicago) answer to Earl Bostic.


This long player houses most of the instrumental sides Tab recorded for United during the mid 50s and provides a window to a world now mostly forgotten. And that’s unfortunate because artists such as Tab helped bridge the jazz of earlier decades to the music the masses would embrace in the decades that followed.  On the other hand, this isn’t part of the wild R&B of this era that clearly welcomes in rock and roll, and it’s not cutting edge jazz, so perhaps it’s not surprising that Tab’s music has been mostly forgotten.  It’s not proto-this or proto-that, and that’s often all the masses find interest in exploring.  But this is enjoyable music, earthy yet urban, full of tone and focused on feeling rather than showing off.  While this lacks the abandonment of much of the R&B from this era, this has more depth than much of the music of the 50s, without ever getting too serious like the innovative jazz of this decade.  It’s mood music with some meat.

There’s a sadness that runs through even the “red hot” numbers, and it’s sad that black artists such as Tab Smith aren’t remembered more.

— winch

Bill Doggett (1958) 12 Songs of Christmas (LP) King Records 600

Bill Doggett

12 Songs of Christmas

1958

King Records 600

**** Recommended

Solid holiday offering from the man from Philly, the man on the Hammond, all instrumental drenched in organ and guitar.

 

“Silent Night,” “Jingle Bells,” “Christmas Song,” “White Christmas,” “Winter Wonderland,” and “I Saw Mommy…” came from the 1954 10″ All-Time Christmas Favorites (the first R&B Christmas album?), the other six recorded this 1958 set.