Tribal - Dr. John
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Metascore
79

Generally favorable reviews - based on 8 Critics What's this?

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  • Summary: Dr. John revives the Night Tripper persona for his new album Tribal, which features guest spots from Derek Trucks, Donald Harrison, and tunes by Bobby Charles and Allen Toussaint.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 8
  2. Negative: 0 out of 8
  1. This isn't just a logical follow-up to 2008's excellent The City That Care Forgot, it's close to a career-defining summation from one of America's most important musicians.
  2. At times, the doctor and his new band sound oddly akin to Steely Dan in a mellow mood, with lyrics only a tad less literary than that group's.
  3. On Tribal he digs hard into the New Orleans rhythm and blues on which he cut his teeth. His sinewy band, the Lower 911, which will join him on Monday and Tuesday at City Winery, manages to riff on a classic sound without ever going retro. Much the same could be said of Dr. John himself.
  4. Tribal contains 16 deeply detailed, fidgety tracks--but it's never hard work. It's a warm, gently funny album.
  5. Sometimes the message overwhelms the music, but largely the good doctor tends to the sick without letting the well-heeled off the hook.
  6. The poignant lyrical message conveyed through most of the album, coupled with the ability of the music to keep you uplifted, is perfectly reminiscent of the spirit of New Orleans. Even though times could be better, there is always a reason to go on.
  7. Tribal, which too often plays it safe with its good-time gumbo of funk, blues, jazz, and swamp rock. Courtesy of his band, the Lower 911, the musicianship is superb, but the songs aren't especially memorable, serving up political commentary in fortune-cookie philosophy.

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Score distribution:
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  2. Mixed: 0 out of
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