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Tribal by Dr. John
Released: Aug 2010
Label: 429 Records
Months short of his 70th birthday, the Night Tripper has brewed up some gumbo weirder, thicker and more rhythmic than any since his 20s. Only the seven-minute title centerpiece recalls the eerie backwoods voodoo-dub ritual of 1968's Gris-Gris. But the funk stays deep, varying into Southern soul, boogie rock, quiet storm and saxed-out Latin jazz. Several songs address the state of the nation, especially the growing wealth gap, with an eco-mysticism that nods to Sun Ra, Captain Beefheart, maybe Gil Scott-Heron. It helps that Dr. John sounded like a wise old man even when he was young.
CHUCK EDDY