PG Music Podcast: Dr. John's Louis Armstrong Tribute Reviewed

Thursday, 21 August 2014 06:22 PM Written by 


In this week's "Believe Your Ears" music podcast, I review Dr. John's just-released album Ske-Dat-De-Dat: The Spirit Of Satch. The idea for this Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong tribute album, according to the Doctor himself, came to him in a dream when Satch himself materialized, telling him to record a bunch of his songs but to do them Dr. John's way.

So he did, with a slew of guests including Bonnie Raitt, James "12" Andrews, Telmary Diaz, Ledisi and the McCrary Sisters, The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Anthony Hamilton, Shemekia Copeland and the Blind Boys of Alabama. Appropriately, five A-list trumpeters grace the album: Terence Blanchard, Nicholas Payton, James Andrews and Arturo Sandoval.

I have mixed feelings about the album and the uneven quality, in part due to the overwhelming number of guests (a trend that hobbles a lot of otherwise great albums) and songs that are re-imagined, in some not all cases, a few steps too far.

It's notable he begins the album with a New Orleans-style treatment the over-recorded "What A Wonderful World," a song everyone seems to record at one time or another. Many think it was Armstrong's biggest non-jazz hit, thanks to its prominent place in the Robin Williams film Good Morning, Vietnam.

Except that it wasn't his biggest pop hit. This was. It reached # 1 in early 1964, at the dawn of Beatlemania.

Click here for the podcast.


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