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Dr. John

Mercenary

Longtime New Orleans blues and jazz "voodoo" musician Dr. John blows the dust off 12 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. And "I Ain't No Johnny Mercer," a blues song composed by Dr. John in the manner of Mr. Mercer, is a perfect blend of the reverence and playfulness that makes this album such a joy.

 
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