Dr. John ‘Locked down’ (Nonesuch) 5/5

In the last few albums Dr. John has unquestionably been reinvigorated and recorded some memorable sides, but on this latest set he has surpassed even those high standards by serving up a musical Cajun stew that promises to be one of the very best of his career. Indeed it is in many respects a return to the ‘Gris Gris’ era, though with contemporary influences adding to the cosmopolitan nature of the project that include both Afrobeat and Ethio-jazz flavours. For dancefloor delight, it is difficult to outdo the superb ‘Get away’ which has featured heavily on radio play while New Orleans style soul has rerely been better executed than on ‘God’s sure good’, another album highlight. What is surprising here are the new influences such as the Ethiopian jazz inflections on ‘Revolution, another winner of a song, or the Afrobeat brass that underpins ‘You lie’. For the more subtle side to Dr. John’s extensive repertoire, look no further than the subtle keyboard work displayed on ‘My children, my angels’. This pulsating series of songs is no less than a late period masterpiece. Tim Stenhouse

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