This collector's LP release contains 19 studio tracks, including a selection of those overlooked 45s and seminal works that Mac Rebennack aka Dr. John made as a composer, producer, arranger and performer for different local labels like Ace, Specialty, Rex, and Vin. These songs were recorded at Cosimo Matassa's studio in New Orleans, between 1958 and 1962. A number of these tracks feature fabulous session players from the Crescent City scene, such as saxophonists Lee Allen and Alvin "Red" Tyler.
The album presents a stellar combination of Mac Rebennack's most obscure and best known recordings from his early career. While some of the tracks were cut under his own name, on others he used pseudonyms such as Little Mac, and Drits & Dravy. Some of the songs were taped at sessions led by the likes of Big Boy Myles, The Ends, Sugar Boy Crawford, Chuck Carbo, and Ronnie Barron, among others. It's hard not to escape the feeling that almost every song is a hit you've never heard or have forgotten about.
The instrumentals are strong, and the novelties, such as "Morgus the Magnificent," are extremely fun. The latter track was cut by Rebennack with Jerry Byrne and Frankie Ford, two of New Orleans' first genuine white rockers. The song, which paid homage to a local TV host, was issued under the pseudonym of Morgus and The Three Ghouls. Although it was popular around New Orleans, it didn't make much noise anywhere else. Other highlights include "Row, Row My Boat" (by The Ends), "Bad Neighborhood" (Ronnie & The Delinquents), and "Curiosity" (Joe and Ann). These early works form the building blocks of Mac Rebennack's incomparable musical legacy.