The late Mac Rebennack, a.k.a. Dr. John, frequently drew on the classic sounds of New Orleans as he conjured his own musical voodoo. Appropriately enough, his final studio album was a tribute to one of the most significant figures to ever emerge from the Crescent City. 2014's Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch celebrated the legendary Louis Armstrong as only Dr. John and his friends could do. Now, it's returning from The Last Music Company in a new vinyl pressing on June 5, one day before the first anniversary of Dr. John's passing.
Dr. John claimed that Satchmo came to him in a dream, inspiring him to record the album. "I tried to make the songs fit me the best I could," he told the Los Angeles Times. "I hope I was always true to the music. I have no idea what the world's gonna ever say about what that is. But you know what? I felt like I gave it my best." He also called upon a number of his famous friends to join in the fun. They included Bonnie Raitt, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Shemekia Copeland, Arturo Sandoval The McCrary Sisters, Terence Blanchard, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and trombonist Sara Morrow (also the co-producer of the album).
Dr. John wasn't content to merely replicate the original arrangements of the classic songs including "What a Wonderful World," "Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams," "Gut Bucket Blues," and "Mack the Knife." Instead, he incorporated slinky funk grooves, rhythmic hip-hop beats, and brassy horn charts that proved just how forward-thinking Louis Armstrong was. Ske-Dat-De-Dat turned out to be one of Dr. John's most thrilling, contemporary works. The album begins with "What a Wonderful World" and ends with "When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You)" - two statements of positivity and uplift that are just what the good Doctor ordered for today's troubled times.
Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch was met with critical acclaim upon its initial release and reached No. 1 on the U.S. Jazz Albums chart while also charting in the top half of the Billboard 200. On June 5, you can revisit this imaginative modern classic from The Last Music Company. You'll find the track listing and pre-order links below!
Dr. John, Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch (Concord CRE-35187, 2014 - reissued The Last Music Company, 2020) (Amazon U.S. / Amazon U.K. / Amazon Canada)
- What a Wonderful World (4:11) w/ The Blind Boys of Alabama and Nicholas Payton
- Mack the Knife (6:13) w/ Mike Ladd and Terrence Blanchard
- Tight Like This (4:52) w/ Telmary and Arturo Sandoval
- I've Got the World on a String (4:04) w/ Bonnie Raitt
- Gut Bucket Blues (2:47) w/ Nicholas Payton
- Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child (4:45) w/ Anthony Hamilton
- That's My Home (3:55) w/ The McCrary Sisters and Wendell Brunious
- Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen (4:37) w/ The McCrary Sisters and Ledisi
- Wrap Your Troubles in Dreams (6:36) w//The Blind Boys of Alabama and Terrance Blanchard
- Dippermouth Blues (4:28) w/ James "12" Andrews
- Sweet Hunk O' Trash (4:19) w/ Shemekia Copeland
- Memories of You (5:03) w/ Arturo Sandoval
- When You're Smiling (The Whole World Smiles with You) (2:42) w/ The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
Looks enticing, except for the hip hop crap.