The state of post-storm New Orleans is again the theme in We Gettin' There, with moody trumpet from Terence Blanchard, and if it seems everything’s hunky dory down there, the chorus sets things rather straighter. And if ya wonder how we doin', short version is we gettin' there, and if you wonder how we doin', is we gettin' mad.

What was there before and who was responsible for its disappearance delivers the theme for the next three tracks. Stripped Away tackles the cleansing role of the floods that washed away the rot and decay of the old city and that will, hopefully, be reborn eventually, but Say Whut? balances the picture. It’s a four and a half minute demand that somebody be held to account for the crime, tragedy and devastation that should have been avoided, and speaking of things that need fixing My People Need A Second Line looks at the traditional New Orleans funeral procession that’s being regulated and harassed out of existence as the new wave of carpetbaggers look to profit from the city's culture while doing away with the influences that shaped it.

That, of course, is all part of the Land Grab, with Terence Blanchard’s trumpet featuring again as the Doctor’s vocals nail the issues involved with disappearing neighbourhoods, and opportunistic developers looking for a quick buck through gentrification. An Ani DiFranco backing vocal underpins City That Care Forgot while the lead vocal's gruff denunciation enumerates his disillusion with the fact that an area where music and laughter once filled the air has been drastically changed by politicians and profiteers. The album concludes with environmental pleas to Save Our Wetlands and protect Mother Earth, themes that don’t just apply to New Orleans. 

He mightn’t have been there when Katrina struck, but given the fact that the disaster has provided plenty to become agitated about it’s hardly surprising to find the Doctor inclined to rant about mistreatment and failure to deliver.

Overtly political? Possibly, but given the magnitude of the issues and the dissatisfaction produced anything less than fervent vitriol and pointed comment really isn’t going to cut it.

File under: Trademark New Orleans musical gumbo seasoned with righteous indignation. 

© Ian Hughes 2012