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Dr. John

Mercernary (Blue Note)

Longtime New Orleans blues and jazz "voodoo" musician Dr. John blows the dust off twelve Johnny Mercer classics on this funky collection. Mercer recorded dozens of hits as a singer and wrote more than a thousand songs with collaborators such as Hoagy Carmichael and Henry Mancini. "Blues in the Night" has Dr. John moaning over a bluesy acoustic guitar before dropping into an exuberant rhythm that makes the tune a celebration that's anything but blue. On "Lazy Bones," his relaxed Southern drawl personifies the good-natured goof-off the lyric portrays, and the tune's coda includes an improvised rap that lets the Dr. tell us just how lethargic Mr. Lazy Bones is. "I'm an Old Cowhand," a faux cowboy song Mercer wrote for Bing Crosby, gets an instrumental reading featuring Dr. John's rolling piano improvisations and the second-line rhythm work of drummer Herman Ernest III. "I Ain't No Johnny Mercer," a blues song composed by Dr. John in the manner of Mr. Mercer, is a blend of reverence and playfulness that makes this album a joy.

 
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