Album | Dr. John – Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit of Satch


Dr. John has been making white funk soul for over 45 years now. He loves it. You can still hear it. In everything he does. He’s getting towards his mid 70s and it sounds as much fun and asnecessary to him (as the air we breathe) as it ever was. There is no retiring for a real musician, and this record – a tribute to the great Louis Armstrong – proves that music is not just an obsession, it’s an entire life. Dr. John will make music until it is no longer possible. For that we should be grateful. This is a fitting tribute to a legend’s music, by a man who by now has long since confirmed his place as one of the great music makers of the last 50 years.

While this record doesn’t display the man’s great knack for writing blissed out funk soul, it does show a delightful turn at donning his hat to a man who wrote many songs he loves and finding a new way of presenting those tracks, some of them extremely well known. There’s a candour and charm all of his own that is applied to his music, be it his own or that of others. This album is laid back and doesn’t demand much, it is an album to have fun to, to admire, or to simply have in the background.

The sense of fun attached to many of these interpretations is genuinely the essence of New Orleans music. He doesn’t just hail from there, he IS New Orleans. You can see the musicians on stage playing these tracks, you can see the people drinking, dancing, smoking, you can see the smoke filling the beautiful night time jazz club, and everyone having an amazing time. That comes out i the tracks. It might not be what you seek from jazz, or funk, or blues, but it does lift the listener and inevitably put a smile on the face and start your toes tapping, whether you noticed it or not.

Given how magnificent and inspiring 2012’s ‘Locked Down’ was this might be seen as a step down, but for fans of Armstrong and Dr. John this might just be an early Christmas gift which will be played until it has been spun into oblivion. It certainly fits for any self respecting adult party this side of the blues jazz funk divide. A party that might just get itself started when nothing else would. Check it out, it’s certainly worthwhile.