Gordon Lightfoot Book, Music and More!

The home of music journalist Nicholas Jennings, author of Lightfoot, the definitive new Gordon Lightfoot biography from Penguin Random House.

Interview with Dr. John - July 11, 1987

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Mac Rebennack a.k.a. Dr. John (November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019) "This guy has the whole history of New Orleans music in his head," David Simon, creator of TV's Treme , once said about Dr. John. Indeed he did. In the summer of 1987, I was the lucky recipient of an extensive history lesson from the Good Doctor on the Big Easy's musical past. Over the course of an unforgettable hour, the "Right Place, Wrong Time" singer regaled me with tales of his musical career and the pivotal figures he worked with, artists like Fats Domino's guitarist Walter 'Papoose' Nelson, producer Cosimo Matassa and bandleader Bumps Blackwell, as well as his own heroes, including Professor Longhair. These are my origin...
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Music Feature: Dr. John - New Orleans is Rising

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Dr. John and New Orleans. Although the legendary pianist has made New York City his home for almost a decade now, his name still conjures up visions of Voodoo, Mardi Gras and the Big Easy. Born in New Orleans nearly 50 years ago as Mac Rebennack, the man once known as the Night Tripper is so deeply steeped in the city’s musical traditions that he’s become its best-known historian and archivist, a walking, talking encyclopedia and human jukebox rolled into one. Sitting in the dressing room at Toronto’s El Mocambo after a recent night stand, Rebennack downplayed any talk about his newfound success. Despite having won a Grammy for “Makin’ Whoopee,” a sultry duet with Rickie Lee Jones from his b...
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Music Feature: Aaron Neville - Warm Your Heart (interview + review)

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Aaron Neville’s voice has the power to open doors. When he was a boy in his native New Orleans, he used to sing his way into basketball games and movie theatres, impressing ticket-takers so much with his sidewalk performances that they would let him in free. Then, in 1967, when Neville was a 26-year-old stevedore, his singing took him from the docks to the top of the charts with the achingly sweet ballad “Tell It like It Is.” Since then, his distinctive tenor has enriched the music that he and his three brothers make as the highly acclaimed New Orleans-flavored band The Neville Brothers, whose popularity expanded during the 1980s with such albums as Fiyo on the Bayou (1981) and Yellow Moon (...
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Music Review: The Neville Brothers - Yellow Moon

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Steeped in voodoo lore, New Orleans has a reputation for casting a spell on visitors. Known to its residents as “the Big Easy,” the city has a tropical climate and a French and Spanish colonial history that give it an atmosphere unique in North America. Tourists are charmed by its annual Mardi Gras festivities and its world-famous Cajun cuisine. But for many people, music provides the city’s most potent magic. Although it has long been associated with such traditional styles as Dixieland, New Orleans also produced some of the liveliest rhythm and blues of the 1950s. Later, its musicians provided rock ‘n’ roll with exotic flavorings. Now, the city is experiencing a musical boom that extends f...
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Feature Article: Taj Mahal - Bluesman on a mission

Feature Article: Taj Mahal - Bluesman on a mission
Henry Saint Clair Fredericks, better known as Taj Mahal, is an American music treasure. A self-taught singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Mahal has done more to stretch and redefine blues music than any other artist past or present. Over the course of his over 50 year career, he has taken the blues and fused it with the sounds of the Caribbean, Africa, the South Pacific and beyond. This diverse, melting-pot approach has puzzled some listeners while making Mahal a hero to lovers of eclectic roots music. “Here’s the thing, plain and simple,” music blogger Miles Mellough once wrote about the man, “Taj Mahal has always been a conundrum; a man who is capable of mirroring many t...
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