The Nighttripper hits Baton Rouge

by Dege Legg

Dr. John plays the Manship Theater in Baton Rouge on Aug. 25.

The Nighttripper Gris-Gris, Dr. John, aka Mac Rebennack, was an aspiring guitar player before he broke his ring finger in a fight defending his band mate. Later he took up the piano and the rest is gloriously weird history.

Although best known for "Right Place Wrong Time," Dr. John's greatest achievement might be his bayou-broiling, voodoo-inspired, seminal psychedelic, swamp-roots feast Gris, Gris (1968). If you don't own it, go buy a copy now.  Truly one of the greatest records ever made. This is the stuff that cult followings are made of.

Described as "the most exploratory and psychedelic outing of Dr. John's career," it's influenced everyone from Modest Mouse to Nick Cave. Imagine Screaming Jay Hawkins genetically spliced with Swordfishtrombones-era Tom Waits and you're getting close. Hey, but that's not all he's known for. With more than 30 records released in the past 40 years, he's consistently put out great records that make up a huge chunk of everything you love about New Orleans. It's just a 50-mile drive across the basin, so why not make the trip to see The Nighttriper. Dr. John plays The Manship Theater in Baton Rouge on Aug. 25.