It's another bummer in a year of bummers... famed Louisiana musician Dr John, nee Malcolm John Rebennack, has died. The news reports that he died of a heart attack, but I suspect that he succumbed to complications of brain salad surgery.
Dr John was one of the pillars of the New Orleans music scene, working as a session musician with artists across the color-divide since the 1950s (he played with Professor Longhair as a teenager).
I am a fan of the various musical traditions of Louisiana, a point I belabor on Mardi Gras, and I have posted Dr John's version of the standard Iko Iko, a song I posted a 'dissection' of a few years back.
My favorite song by Dr John is the otherworldly, creepy even, I Walk on Guilded Splinters, the tour-de-force of his psychedelic voodoo-inspired album Gris-Gris. Just try to listen to this song without feeling a sligh tingle up your spine.
Malcolm John Rebennack was a one-of-a-kind performer, a flamboyant character from a flamboyant city who took the mélange of cultures from that storied burgh, tripped out, and unleashed the resulting idiosyncratic style on an unsuspecting listening public... maybe he was the one performing brain salad surgery on the rest of us.