Music legend Dr. John is set to serve up a posthumous treat for fans after making sure he completed one last album before his passing.
The icon, who fused jazz, psychedelic rock, funk, blues and the music of his native New Orleans, Louisiana, died after suffering a heart attack on 6 June (19).
The 77 year old, real name Malcolm ‘Mac’ Rebennack, had already been battling various health issues, which prompted him to cancel a string of shows in 2017, and he decided to spend his final months locked away in a recording studio with guitarist Shane Theriot to put the finishing touches on his final project.
Theriot reveals the album, which is currently untitled, features a mix of original songs, reworked classics, and covers, and features guest appearances by Willie Nelson, Aaron Neville, and Rickie Lee Jones.
They completed the collection in December (18), and listening to the finished product was very emotional for both Dr. John and Theriot.
The guitarist tells Rolling Stone, “We sat and listened to everything twice. He was singing along and had a big grin on his face.
“Then he walked me out to my car, stared at me and said, ‘I’m glad. I made the right choice.’ And then he hugged and kissed me on the cheek.”
Theriot also reveals Dr. John had been struggling throughout the recording process, but he was determined to play through the pain: “It would break my heart because he would come to my house, and I knew he wasn’t feeling great, and Mac’s work ethic, he was old school; he grew up doing five sets a night,” he shared.
“And so he told me on several occasions, he would say, ‘Whatever we gotta do, we gotta do it. We gotta get it done, Sha-zane. Whatever we gotta do to finish this motherfucker, we gotta finish it.”
“Mac got to hear it and live with it and make suggestions,” Theriot concluded. “This was one of his creations.”
Dr. John’s final album has yet to be given a release date.