Oregon Music News: Oregon’s all-genre music magazine since 2009


David Vest on Dr. John

By DAVID VEST // Piano Player of the Year at Canada’s Maple Blues Awards for five of the past seven years reacts to the life and death of Dr. John.

Dr. John entered show business as the baby on boxes of Ivory Snow detergent. He departed as the ultimate New Orleans piano player. In my mind, he outdid even the players he most looked up to, including Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint and yes, James Booker.

He made us all work harder, and just listening to him was usually enough to put any of us piano players in our place.
His best albums were not the big commercial releases, and they are hard to find because they appeared on obscure labels. One of his finest is called Such A Night! Live in London, on the Spindrift label. Good luck finding it.
He also did some of his best work as a sideman or guest artist. One of my favorite tracks featuring his work is on the title track from a Hank Crawford project, Roadhouse Symphony. The track also features Stevie Ray Vaughan, and he, too, sounds better here than on his own records.
Note added from Mr. Vest later: "That’s Melvin Sparks, not Stevie Ray Vaughan, playing with Dr. John on the Hank Crawford album. No wonder I thought Stevie sounded better!"

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I think you are mistaken..... I don’t believe Stevie Ray Vaughan was on this project.

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