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Baker's Dozen

Prophets, Seers & Sages: Tony Visconti's Favourite Albums
Julian Marszalek , October 31st, 2012 09:01

While the veteran producer has recently been remastering T. Rex's The Slider for its 40th anniversary re-release, he found time to pick out 13 of his top records for us


Dr John – In The Right Place
I grew up on New Orleans music even though I didn’t know it. I was just a kid when the first Fats Domino record came out and I bought all his music and every one of his albums. I met him in person when he was probably 21 or 22 years-old and his band played about ten, 12 feet away from me on a local New York TV show when I was a young musician. I still didn’t make the New Orleans connection. I thought in those days, when I was still in my late teens, that New Orleans meant trad jazz and stuff that Acker Bilk played! But I just didn’t make the connection that Fats Domino was from New Orleans. I was just a kid and I wasn’t too intelligent about these things!

Later on I found out that Little Richard made his records in the same studio with the same musicians [as Fats Domino] and I then found out that Dr John was a session musician on some of these!

I got turned on to Dr John when Marsha Hunt recorded ‘I Walk On Guilded Splinters’ – which I produced – and then I got the album [Gris Gris] and said "oh my God!" This was the darkest thing I’d ever heard! That irresistible New Orleans shuffle playing on the drums and they’re all over those Dr John albums. It’s not quite a shuffle, it’s not quite 4/4 time; you can even hear it on the intro of [Little Richard’s] ‘Keep A Knockin’’. It’s not quite rock’n’roll and it’s not quite jazz but it’s right there in the middle and Dr John’s got all these signature benchmarks all over his music.

And his voice! I would die to go into the studio with singers who could sing like that every time; I would just love it! I don’t know what makes a person sing that way but - my gosh! - it must be something quite deep and profound.