Missing Mac

I really miss Dr John.

I interviewed him properly a couple of couple of times and it taught me sometimes you do get a second chance.

The first time was in New Orleans, we were both tired, and at one point in the interview a waitress came in and asked if we wanted tea. I suddenly noticed the track marks on his arms and was transfixed for a couple of seconds (they were huge, like a hollywood special effects version of track marks) blurted out my order for tea first then attempted to pull back, apologising, which made it worse and we never really got any rapport.

The second time was in London and blissfully he’d forgotten our first encounter. It was in a swanky hotel with a silver tea service, so I really fussed over him and made sure it was a good cuppa, me pouring. He loved that Southern politesse,  did that kind of happy bristling people sometimes do when you’re kind to them or give them a compliment, puffing up like a robin or other cheerful fluffy round bird.

I’ve been to New Orleans so many times that the people he’d gorwn up with, like James Booker, Earl King, Snooks Eaglin, Cosimo Matassa, Guitar Slim, all feel like family friends to me. He told me brilliant story after brilliant story, notably including the out of town show where the band all got free booze so at the end of the evening they the only person sober enough to drive home was Snooks Eaglin. (And for anyone who doesn’t know this amazingly gifted guitarist, early in his life he was billed as Blind Snooks Eaglin.)

At the end when we had to go, he stood there, kind of regal with his cane and called me over, and said quietly how he’d enjoyed the interview more than any recent one he could remember, how much he loved people like Earl and Snooks, and how much he missed them.

I felt the same way too then, and I feel the same way now. I miss Earl, so much, and I miss Cosimo Matassa, and now I miss Mac Rebennack.

I would’ve posted Walk on Guilded Splinters, that voodoo classic, but you’re probably heard it all day. So here’s a song that embodies his love of that magical, crazy city.

Iko Iko

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