Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Dr. John: Things Happen That Way [Rounder, 2022]
Recorded not long before he died at 77 in 2019, this sounds to me like the most committed album hard-hustling New Orleans piano maestro Mac Rebennack recorded in his last two decades on earth, so figure that he knew he was running out of time and elected to go for it. From "Funny How Time Slips Away" to "Guess Things Happen That Way" there's an elegiac fatalism to these selections younguns may not have it in them to get even when he folds in "Gimme That Old Time Religion," "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry," and the Traveling Wilburys' "End of the Line": "Well it's all right, even if you're old and gray/It's all right, you still got something to say." A-