7 Songs, 37 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even though it is soaked in New Orleans flavor, Babylon is a product of late- '60s Los Angeles, the city where Dr. John made his living as a session player. The band here is comprised of his buddies from the L.A. studio scene, as well as new additions like John McAlister, a young recruit who brought tablas, gongs and other exotic and homemade instruments. Babylon is a portrait of the L.A. milieu, refracted by Mac Rebbenack’s voodoo sensibilities. The atmosphere is more foreboding than its predecessor (1968’s Gris-Gris). “No politicians, no high religions to guide you from the dark,” the Doctor croaks on the title song. “No more love-ins, no more human be-ins will light up Griffith Park…” In his autobiography Rebennack said he was going for something “not unlike Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, but with visions of the end of the world — as if Hieronymus Bosch had cut an album.” Even though the album was largely ignored upon release, it fits right alongside contemporaneous works by Sly Stone and Captain Beefheart, two other visionary bluesman of the post-hippie malaise in Southern California.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Even though it is soaked in New Orleans flavor, Babylon is a product of late- '60s Los Angeles, the city where Dr. John made his living as a session player. The band here is comprised of his buddies from the L.A. studio scene, as well as new additions like John McAlister, a young recruit who brought tablas, gongs and other exotic and homemade instruments. Babylon is a portrait of the L.A. milieu, refracted by Mac Rebbenack’s voodoo sensibilities. The atmosphere is more foreboding than its predecessor (1968’s Gris-Gris). “No politicians, no high religions to guide you from the dark,” the Doctor croaks on the title song. “No more love-ins, no more human be-ins will light up Griffith Park…” In his autobiography Rebennack said he was going for something “not unlike Dave Brubeck’s Time Out, but with visions of the end of the world — as if Hieronymus Bosch had cut an album.” Even though the album was largely ignored upon release, it fits right alongside contemporaneous works by Sly Stone and Captain Beefheart, two other visionary bluesman of the post-hippie malaise in Southern California.

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