Locked Down is arguably the most groundbreaking Dr. John album of his 44-year career, sounding like nothing he’s ever done before. It’s like Dr. John fronting The Black Keys, which is no coincidence as The Black Keys’ Dan Auerbach produced it. Not to discredit the Dr.’s musical genius, but the true magic on this album lies in the mastery production. Auerbach visited Dr. John late in 2010 and told him he’d like to produce “the best record he’s made in a long time.” Boy did he deliver!
The Black Keys frontman handpicked a band of young musicians to join them in his Nashville recording studio. The result is a groovy, funky and bluesy album that is worthy of cult status. The 71-year-old’s vocals sound spectacularly juxtaposed with the talented musicians and soulful female backup singers. The beautiful LP packaging includes a CD of the complete album, pictures from the recording sessions and great stories about the album. The songs are quite captivating and visit a lot of New Orleans voodoo mythology, a Dr. John specialty. There are enough musical layers on Locked Down to please even the most casual Dr. John or Black Keys fan.
This might be the best late-career resurrection collaboration since Johnny Cash and Rick Rubin. The tracks are catchy and current. This is not a nostalgic record, as its liner notes state: “This is no ‘tribute’ to the past, a nostalgia trip sweetened with sugary piety and made safe for the lames and the State Fair nostalgia set.” This is a 21st century Dr. John rock album and it’s fabulous! Standout tracks include the prideful “Big Shot,” the bluesy “My Children, My Angels,” and the Gospel closing track “God’s Sure Good.”
This is certainly career rejuvenation for Dr. John and thanks to Auerbach’s hip appeal he’s now been introduced to a new generation of music listeners who wouldn’t have given him a chance otherwise.
Reviewer: Sarah Geledi
IRC: Bill Pulice
You can read more of Sarah Geledi by visiting her webblog at http://goodrockingtonight.wordpress.com/
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