Kippenvel – Ruud Heijjer

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Where are you, Mac?

juni 7th, 2019 at 7:10

What is going on with you, Mac? You have not performed since 2016, neither in your beloved Nola nor outside of it, and there is only old news on your site, except for a twitter photo.

That one picture shoud be the evidence that you are doing fine, Mac, that you are still Dr. John, the high priest of sophisticated New Orleans funk, pretty much the last living link with the fifties, the time that the rhythm ‘n’ blues in your city slowly began to change.

You are pictured with all the regalia that fit your part, Mac: the walking stick, the strings of beads around your neck, the proverbial silly hat of latter years that undoubtedly has to hide your bald head and the tightly braided pony tail that must compensate that fact, but mostly the ironic grin: Look, here I am, Dr. John, I am still here!

It is posted on January 31 and therefore suggests to be recent. You are on it with Steve Gleason, one time American football player with the New Orleans Saints and these days a tireless fighter for innovations that can give other ALS patients a richer life despite (or maybe thanks to) his slowly, but ever increasing ALS.

However, I have not been able to find the date of that edition of the New Orleans Legends Awards where you posed together, Mac.

That one of the hashtags in the picture is Throwback Thursday, is not encouraging either, because that is where people upload old photos that they have specials memories of.

Gleason wears a medal, but it is impossible to see if that is the award that the American Congress bestowed upon him with in December of last year. It can also be another medal, up to and including the honorary memerbership of one of the many Carnival crews of New Orleans. Apart from that: Gleason was already diagnosed with ALS in 2011, wasn’t he, Mac?

Why did not you make another album since ‘Locked down’ in 2012 and why did you look back to the music of the fifties with the then hip producer Dan Auerbach, Mac? Why was only ‘The musical mojo of Dr. John: a celebration of Mac and his music’ released in 2016, a tribute during which all kinds of greats played your songs, but you only participate yourself every once in a while?

Why were you not present at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival last year, just about the yearly music reunion of everybody who is musically important in Luisiana? Even more so: why did you not perform once in 2018 en why are you again not on JazzFest’s poster this year?

There are speculations and there is radio silence: by the end of October 2017 you clearly had difficulties playing the piano and singing during Fats Domino’s ‘Aint that a shame’ at his introduction in de Austin City Limits Hall of Fame, but your manager did not return the call, despite Keith Spera’s request.

Why did Jon ‘Papa’ Gros play your songs an entire evening on 27 December last under the title ‘Papa Plays the Night Tripper: A Tribute to Dr. John’ with an impromptu band in the Three Keys-club in the Ace Hotel? Why did you not do that yourself? You do know the songs that were announced on the poster better yourself, don’t you from ‘Gris Gris’, ‘Gumbo’, ‘Right place, wrong time’ to ‘Desitively Bonnaroo’ ?

Is it symbolic that 21 November was declared Dr. John Day in New Orleans in 2017, the day of your birth in 1940, and that the month of November was turned into Mac Month at the same time: has time maybe caught up on you?

Do you walk the French Quarter occasionally, leaning on your cane, and do you still read the Times Picayun and Offbeat on the porch in front of your house? Do you still sit down at your piano sometimes and do you miss us too then, if only just a little, Mac?

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