Voodoo Threads: the cultural trajectory of Dr John's 'I Walk on Gilded Splinters

Publisher:
Equinox Publishing
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Citation:
Journal of World Popular Music, 2016, 3 (2), pp. 262 - 285
Issue Date:
2016-12
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This article traces the manner in which a particular composition steeped in New Orleans’ creole culture (and in voodoo, in particular)—Dr. John’s ‘I Walk on Gilded Splinters’—has undergone a series of transitions since its original recording in 1967. The article commences with a discus- sion of the song, related repertoire and Dr. John’s creative persona with regard to the compos- er’s New Orleans heritage. Subsequent sections provide an account of the manner in which the composition has become established within a number of soul/rock/pop genres, and identify those elements that have been core to its successive modifications. Moving to a more contem- porary focus, the article identifies the manner in which Hurricane Katrina (2005) and Dr. John’s particular reactions to it revived and re-inflected his creative persona. The conclusion reflects on the significance of the composition’s cultural trajectory over 50 years of performance and of the shifting nature of the composer’s presentation of his material for different audiences.
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