Dr. John revived his "Night Tripper" persona at the 2006 Bonnaroo Festival. In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, his sense of urgency about Louisiana and the Gulf region allowed his spiritual persona free rein in concerts and interviews for the first time since the '70s. He wore the garb on-stage and brought his entire history as a musician to bear in his performances.
On Tribal, Dr. John and the Lower 911 still make mystique-dripping grooves sound easy, plonking on the piano and singing in his distinctive rumble. At times, the doctor and his new band sound oddly akin to Steely Dan in a mellow mood, with lyrics only a tad less literary than that group’s. B+ Download These:Truthfully titled Feel Good Music at amazon.comFunkily superstitious Jinky Jinx at amazon.com See all of this week’s reviews .
New Orleans’ very own Dr. John has a familiar sound. The swampy jazz, funk and soul of the Bayou has flowed forth from him since the 1960s, at times following different directions, but always staying true to its roots. The piano swoons, the bass swings, and his gravely vocals lay truth on the line.
LOS LOBOS “Tin Can Trust” (Shout! Factory) Los Lobos continue their double life on “Tin Can Trust.” Onstage (as at Bowery Ballroom, where they are to perform Tuesday) Los Lobos are a good-natured, multicultural jam band with roots in the blues, early rock ’n’ roll, Mexican norteño music and California folk-rock. Yet in the studio those same roots serve the band’s increasing introspection: a sense of weariness without resignation, tenacity toward no sure goal, and perennially unfulfilled longing. It’s steeped in the blues but distinct from it: less angry or humorous, more pensive and unresolved.