Continuing with the legacy left by the recently departed Allen Toussaint, In The Right Place was one of two album’s that Toussaint produced for Mac Rebennack aka The Night Tripper, aka Dr. John (The other was Desitively Bonnaroo from 1974).
In The Right Place was released on Atco in 1973 and became Dr. John’s most successful album, the single Right Place Wrong Time reaching No.9 in the US charts, the album reaching No.24. It features The Meters as his band throughout with Toussaint handling most of the piano. It’s an album of feels and grooves, New Orleans Soul, soft Funk, it’s Jazzy Blues but it also touches the hand of Randy Newman’s catchy singalong tunes (Such A Night) and appeals on so many levels that its genre disappears into The Meters magic and Toussaints warm brass and vocal arrangements that complement and contrast Dr John’s rough, treble throated delivery. (Note: Such A Night was one of the songs in The Band’s Last Waltz concert film).
Without breaking down the album into eleven paragraphs of individual songs, this set is one complete listen, thirty three minutes of foot tapping and soft head repetitions, gentle dancing shoulders and close eyed meditations – smiling to yourself. It’s a less overwrought Captain Beefheart, a less frightening Sly Stone, a kinder Van Morrison, a less alcohol fuelled Tom Waits, a smoother Leon Russell. If I could criticize the album at all, I would say that all the songs are too short – with such perfect infectious grooves and easy sound, the fade outs are sad farewells that leave too soon.
This album lives outside of Rock music, it’s the same ingredients, even similar sentiments but the New Orleans card turns it into a different beast, something about the fur, the gait, the story in the eyes, the growl. This record takes you out for a rowdy Saturday night in the French quarter and then cooks you a relaxed breakfast on a humid Sunday that you share with an orchestral cicada chorus. You can’t imagine leaving this place and as you sink into the worn out divan on the porch, you are suddenly whisked away, reluctantly waving goodbye before you are ready to leave, left with only the taste of Cajun cooking, a hint of the Mississippi, a spooky artefact in your pocket and a blurred recollection of a voodoo bride.