If in the career of an artist they're able to write or produce just one piece of successful music (commercially or not) that goes onto live in the memory they've completed something outstanding. These are rare moments in time that go beyond words or pictures. There is something captured in those recordings of the very air they breathed, the essence of the world they lived in at the time.
Such was the session in late summer 1967 made by Dr John 'The Night Tripper' when a largely unknown group of musicians and characters gathered together in the Gold Star Studios in LA, California.
The end result in those heady days of psychedelic revolutionary freedom was something no other artist has or come near to producing again. No listener had heard the like before or has since. It was unexpected, puzzling, unique and just plain tripped out. This was an underground that no one quite understood. It was born of New Orleans, and the Cajun Bayou, and even by it's eventual release in 1968 'Gris Gris' was still a million miles away from the popular sounds of rock at the time.
"When the music was all done and the master tapes sent to Atlantic Records, I focused on getting a release date for fall of 1967. The didn't happen. The execs at Atlantic didn't quite know what to make of this stuff I sent to them. When I talked to Ahmet Ertegun, he wanted to know what to call this type of music, "What am I gonna tell my promotion men? 'What radio stations gonna play this crap?.." "
Harold Battiste - producer, arr, bass/clarinet/perc. From Unfinished Blues. Memories Of New Orleans Music.
Extract - Uncut. April 2014.
'Gris Gris' has just been remastered and re-released by Real Gone Music. There are no extras, no remixes, and no messing with this monumental piece of musical history. Here's the entire albums 33 minutes (the old master version).