Dr. John - lead vocals, piano; David Sanborn - alto sax; Kim Hutchinson - alto sax, woodwinds; Buzzy Feiten - lead guitar; Jim Calhoun- bass; Neil Larsen - organ; Hugh McCracken - guitars; Steve Gadd - drums; Joyce Kaye - vocals; Tami Lynn - vocals
Dr. John, whose real name is Mac Rabennack, recorded this show on the first of two nights when he held court at New York's famed Bottom Line. Dr. John had left Atlantic/Atco Records (where he had recorded since 1967) and was on A&M's jazz-pop imprint, Horizon Records. Although he had his biggest commercial hits while on the Atco label, he made some of his best recordings during this period on Horizon.
He was able to assemble a strong band that included famed drummer Steve Gadd, hot session guitarists Hugh McCracken and Buzzy Feiten, and sax superstar, David Sanborn. They delivered a great collection of songs ranging from a boogie-woogie version of "Swanee River" to an infectious funked-up version of "Iko Iko," the New Orleans-flavored pop song first done by the Dixie Cups in 1961.
He does his only Top 10 U.S. hit, "The Right Place Wrong Time," in pure swamp-funk style, and follows it with "Rain," a sad ballad he co-wrote with the late Doc Pomus, and unquestionably one of the best songs Dr. John ever recorded. The show is interrupted with a special version of "Happy Birthday," which Dr. John and the entire audience sing to Joni Mitchell, who was a guest at the show.
Next to Allen Toussaint, Dr. John is the most important contemporary artist to emerge from the French Quarter of New Orleans. His trademark "Swamp Rock" sound is even more powerful today than it was when these recordings were made. It can only be described as good time music for one and all.
Nowadays Dr. John has relegated himself mostly to the jazz and blues festival circuit, but back in 1978, when this recording was made, he could be seen and heard in the intimacy of a smoky Manhattan club.
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