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Posted: 2010 02-17


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Cajun cookin in San Francisco

“With thankfulness to the Band and all the fellas,” the Doctor casts his spell over the greatest single night of rock n roll ever staged. And thank you, Bill Graham.

And thank the gris-gris gods the doctor brought his little black bag to the Thanksgiving family reunion.

What Elton John made cheesy, Dr. John came by honestly. From African costumes to Dixieland suits, New Orleans musicians have prided themselves in their physical sparkle matching their musical dazzle. Ferdinand Morton became Jelly Roll. Louis Armstrong became Sachmo. Vaudeville and strippers mixed with music and mojo, and Mardi Gras traveled with its universal ambassadors.

It’s all about the swing, the trance, the dance, the other place.

It’s about the center, the heart, the songs — cuz, oh yeah — it’s such-a-night.

C’mon, Mac.”

It’s about what ain’t real, whacha can’t hold in hand, when eyes meet and music’s made.

It’s about Robbie’s smile in the clip’s last second, as the Doctor makes a pilgrimage across the stage to shake hands with his Southern brother Levon.

It’s about a hundred years of barroom uprights and bawdy birthrights, of Scott Joplin and Leadbelly, Kerouac and Cassady, Louie Armstrong and The Meters, King Oliver and The Neville Brothers. It’s all playing out right in front of you. Tonight only!  One piano, one voice, and one pretty good Band.

And it all rolls on in that great refrain of another euphemism for rock n roll —

“If I don’t do it,
Somebody else will.”



and p.s. that’s Beat poet Michael McClure walking offstage at the beginning, after reading a passage from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales in its original Middle-English.


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