Dr. John displayed eerie prescience in recording an album right before his death.
The legendary New Orleans artist knew the end was near. Having recorded an astonishing 30 albums throughout his career he completed one final album to be released posthumously.
Dr. John sadly passed away just a week ago. But not before he recorded and completed one final album to compliment the 77-year-old’s astounding career.
Mac Renneback, as known as Dr. John, was a Hall Of Fame pianist, singer-songwriter and producer, blending blues, jazz, boogie-woogie and rock and roll in an undeniably unique way. Despite his failing health Dr. John was able to recently record and entirely complete an album with the help of Shane Theriot. He enlisted a series of handpicked New Orleans session musicians and recorded a collection of new originals, country-tinged covers and reworked Dr. John classics.
Details of the album are still unknown but the work was completed in full while the artist was still alive.
“Mac understood that this was his last record,” says David Torkanowsky, who played keyboards on the album. “It was emotional in the studio just to hear him. It had a certain weight to it that only something that’s the last time you do it can have.”
“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. 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,” he would say, his nickname for Theriot. “Whatever we gotta do to finish this motherfucker, we gotta finish it.”
The result is a country-tinged album but it has been “completely Renneback’ed out.” Apart from four new uptempo originals that Theriot describes as “vintage Mac, with horns and girl singers,” Dr. John also recorded newly arranged renditions of his own classics like Such a Night and I Walk On Guilded Splinters, the latter a “trippy” rendition featuring Rickie Lee Jones.
Theriot concluded by saying he remains grateful Dr. John was able to finish it while he was alive, “he made suggestions and it is one of his creations.”