Win tickets to see Dr John in Auckland

23:41, Mar 23 2010

Never let it be said that Blog On The Tracks looks after Wellington only. So, after last week's giveaway of some HLAH tickets, CDs and T-shirts we have a special giveaway for Auckland readers - or for people prepared to make their way (at their own cost) to Auckland on April 7 to see the great Dr John.

That's right Dr John is in Auckland, one night only, one NZ show only, April 7. And Blog On The Tracks is offering two double-passes (so four tickets) to see Mr Mac Rebennack. We'll get to the questions in a minute. First a word or two about the good doctor...

Dr John was born Malcolm John "Mac" Rebennack, Jr and was a guitarist and songwriter before he was shot defending a band-mate. And so, with an injured finger as the reason, he swapped the guitar for the piano.

He worked as a session musician - rocking out with Canned Heat, backing Sonny & Cher, writing songs and developing an act that clearly owed a debt to Screamin' Jay Hawkins. He debuted as Dr John the Night Tripper, releasing Gris-Gris in 1968, a mix of swampy blues, R'n'B, funk and psychedelic rock.

It contains one of his greatest compositions, I Walk On Guilded Splinters - covered by everyone from the former Ms. Mick Jagger, Marsha Hunt (see here for her great version) to the Modfather, Paul Weller (click here for his version).

His fifth album, Dr John's Gumbo features many songs that are still staples of a great Dr John live show and signature pieces. He covered Ray Charles' Mess Around and Earl King's Let The Good Times Roll. He bowed to Professor Longhair - an obvious influence on his style and he covered the New Orleans classic, Iko Iko - one of the songs he is best known for to this day.

After Gumbo he hooked up with Allen Toussaint and The Meters and the album In The Right Place featured the hit Right Place Wrong Time - a classic that has been covered by several artists. The album built on Gumbo, establishing Dr John as a master of a New Orleans brand of funk and soul.

Dr John continued to record sessions in and around his own shows and tours. He backed The Rolling Stones, worked with Carly Simon and James Taylor, appeared on Neil Diamond's Beautiful Noise and - seemingly - had a huge impact on the sound of Van Morrison when he co-produced Van's 1977 album, A Period Of Transition (one of my favourite Morrison albums).

He was also in the concert-film The Last Waltz - one of the great rock movies.

As a background player, a featured cameo artist, Dr John continues to appear on albums by other artists. And he continues to release his own records. In recent years he has concentrated on paying tribute to his influences - both set styles (1992's Goin Back To New Orleans) and specific composers (2000's Duke Elegant and 2006's Mercernary). He's had a strong run since 2001' s Creole Moon with 2004's N'Awlinz: Dis Dat Or d'Udda and 2008's The City That Care Forgot being favourites of mine.

I turned down the chance to see Dr John in Wellington about seven years ago; choosing a mediocre Paul Kelly gig instead. I guess I didn't know it would be mediocre at the time - Paul Kelly had been really good the other times I had seen him. But I really regret that move. And now Dr John is back - but he's playing Auckland only.

I would love to go up - but it won't happen. I mean - what if I end up sitting next to a White Stripes fan? They'd maul me!

But I am very happy that I can offer four people the chance to see the gig in Auckland.

So - to the competition-aspect - for this giveaway there will be two winners (with each lucky winner being able to take their lucky friend or partner).

And so I will offer two chances to win - you can choose which one you want to have a go at.

Firstly: a first-in, first-right question and secondly, a chance for you to convince me why you should win a double-pass to see the man that they used as the model for Muppets band leader Dr Teeth.

You can only have a go at one of the two choices.

So - either tell me the name of the duet partner, song and the DVD it comes from that is my favourite duet (featuring Dr John with someone else). It was named as part of a fairly recent blog-post. First person with the correct answer to all three parts of that wins a double ticket. Boom!

Or you can write in the comments below telling me why you think you deserve a double-pass to Dr John and telling me who you would take with you and what they would get out of it. Maybe it's an education for them? Or maybe you'll be the one being educated; you stopped by this blog and knew that Dr John was your partner's favourite, perhaps?

But, as Mr DiBergi would say, enough of my yakking. Go to it. Answers below please.

And who is planning to go to the gig? Are you a Dr John fan? If so do you have favourite songs or albums? Has anyone seen him live before? Or is Dr John's night tripping not for you?

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