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Dr. John is in tip-top form on posthumous album Things Happen That Way

Dr John raves from the grave on star-studded album Things Happen That Way, completed after his death

Dr John - Things Happen That Way cover art
(Image: © Rounder)

Dr. John (aka Mac Rebennack) was working this material up when he died of a heart attack in June 2019, but there’s no sign that this posthumous release is a salvage job. 

Country-styled with plenty of New Orleans flavouring, Mac tackles Willie Nelson’s Funny How Time Slips Away (mangling the words but getting away with it) and tips his beret to Hank Williams (I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry). 

Nelson wanders in for Gimme That Old Time Religion (old timers both), while his son Lukas Nelson & Promise Of The Real modernise I Walk On Guilded Splinters with electronic mind-altering Mardi Gras jive. 

The new songs are the most reflective: Holy Water deals with Mac’s addictions, while Give Myself A Good Talkin’ To is sweetly confessional. Dr. John sounds in tip-top form here. Sometimes it’s the cure that kills yer.

Max Bell worked for the NME during the golden 70s era before running up and down London’s Fleet Street for The Times and all the other hot-metal dailies. A long stint at the Standard and mags like The Face and GQ kept him honest. Later, Record Collector and Classic Rock called.