In the Right Place
By the time Dr. John (né Mac Rebennack) made 1973’s In the Right Place, he’d been a Professor Longhair sideman, an L.A. session cat, and a “Night Tripper” who (between Sonny Bono recording sessions) accidentally cut one of the greatest albums ever: 1968’s Gris Gris. He'd also established himself as the interpreter of New Orleans standards (see 1972’s Gumbo). Here, Dr. John brings in preeminent funk maestros The Meters and godhead New Orleans producer Allen Toussaint to dance up his dusky brand of voodoo-stoked R&B. The combination worked absolutely: the album struck sales gold and managed to hoist the good doctor’s rich, yowling New Orleans sound onto the Middle American masses. There are carnival revelers (listen to the soulful “Shoo Fly Marches On”), raspy soul-pop (“Cold, Cold, Cold,” “Qualified”), lingering hoodoo darkness (“I Been Hoodood”), nostalgic left turns (Toussaint’s own “Life”), and an outright R&B-funk hookfest (“Right Place Wrong Time”—the best ode to misfortune ever to hit the Top 10).