If I hadn’t given the answer away by compiling the Clapton playlists, I’d be tempted to run a competition with the question ‘in which Rock Family Tree is Dr John mentioned?’ It would be a sort of Pete Frame version of ‘Where’s Wally’ or, in the US version, I believe, ‘Where’s Waldo?’
Somehow I managed to grow up in ignorance of the Doctor, vaguely having heard of him but not being aware of the sound of his voice until hearing the version of Perfect Day that the BBC put together with numerous singers each having their couple of seconds. “Jus’ a puurfek day” in that New Orleans drawl. (Around 1.56, and again 2.26 in the youtube clip.)
The Perfect Day clip dates from 1997. It took me more than ten years to do anything about this shocking gap in my education, but, as I write, I’m listening to Dr John’s Duke Elegant album. Sounds a really terrible idea – Dr John playing and singing a collection of Duke Ellington classics. But it works for me, although his other work, as selected on The Best of the Night Tripper is even better. On Duke Elegant, ‘I’m Gonna Go Fishing’ has a particular poignancy as the BP oilslick makes its way to the Louisiana coast.