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One of the most delightful things about Dr. John is the way he combines rowdiness with an encyclopedic knowledge and respect for New Orleans R & B and blues tradition. His show is a flamboyant pastiche of savory tidbits ranging from Crescent City classics by the likes of James Booker and Professor Longhair to Tin Pan Alley ballads to his own distinctive creations. References to indigenous New Orleans history are woven effortlessly through everything: "I Walk on Gilded Splinters" has its roots in a traditional voodoo chant (originally sung by women, incidentally), and "Iko, Iko" includes colorful Creole patois as well as imagery drawn from the rich folk culture of the Mardi Gras Indians. While your feet are being galvanzied by the infectious rhythms the Doctor peddles like snake oil, you're also participating in a living history lesson. Learning was never so much fun. Tonight and Saturday, Buddy Guy's Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.

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