Dr. John: Live and Re-Qualified
"Qualified" (Jessie Hill- Mac Rebennack)
Dr. John and the Rampart Street Symphony Orchestra, 11/6/1973
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In November 2005, I featured the incredible 1973 studio version of this tune; and although there is a different cast of players here on this live version from November of that same year, I want to testify that this one cooks very nearly as much. You can go back and read what I wrote (in those days the posts were shorter, which will probably please a lot of you). While you're at it, you might check out another post, where I first featured a cut from this performance at Ultrasonic Studios in Hempstead, NY, which was broadcast on a local radio station. Last summer, after having a generous reader send me a CD containing other material from the show I did not have, I updated the post with a list of the players and some other information.
After I originally posted that live track, I was contacted by none other than Darrell Leonard, who played trumpet for Dr. John on that tour. Darrell now plays with the Phantom Blues Band, maybe best known for their association with Taj Mahal, but all are monster players in their own right. Darrell and saxman for the PBB, Joe Sublett, also perform as a horn section for hire, the Texacali Horns. His cassette tape of the show had long since slipped into another dimension; so I was happy to hook Darrell back up with some of his past glories, at least one gig's worth. From what he told me, playing with Mac was a lot of fun, what he remembers of it!
One of the real pleasures on this live "Qualified" is getting to hear esteemed HOTG drummer John Boudreaux work out on an intense groove, surrounded by a fine ensemble. Throughout the entire show, his touch is impeccable.
There haven't been a lot of Dr. John concert recordings over the years. His first officially sanctioned one was 1997's outstanding Trippin' Live. A decade or so earlier, an LP and CD of a fine London show with a band of Brits, Such A Night, was released in England in the 1980s. I featured a cut from that back in the early days of the blog. There are some other board tapes and the like of shows floating around; but the Ultrasonic gig is hard to beat. Still, the right place to catch the doctah is real live. I encourage you to do so. He definitely still has all of the qualifications.
PS - As I was listening to this once again, I recalled that James Booker performed his own take on this tune live and on record, calling it "Classified".