Much like Atlantis, New Orleans is something of a mythical city. It's got distinctive food, people, smells, and of course, very distinctive language. Or whatever it is they speak down there. Oh sure, it's quaint, in a way. Like "Oh how cute! That waiter just told us the specials but I have no idea what he just said!" But let's just say that if your friend has been stabbed and the only person who can give you directions to the hospital is a cabbie, well things aren't looking too good for you and your buddy.
Don't get me wrong. I love New Orleans. Especially the music. There's clearly something in the air that makes their version of blues slow down to a funky plod. Maybe it's the words that accompanies the music. I mean I've heard "Iko Iko" hundreds of times, yet, not once have I ever gotten an explanation on what the hell "Jock-a-mo" means. Same with "Hey Pocky Way." And the artists who have recorded these songs over the years always have the most unusual names. Nine times out of 10, they'll be called something like Bill Babineuxicaut or Lawrence Goulieuxaux. Or, of course, Mac Rebennack, better known as Dr. John.
"(I Walk On) Guilded Splinters" - Dr. John
I don't know the history of Guilded Splinters, but this dude seems to interpret the song as some sort of drug-induced masochism. I don't know about that, but I guess it doesn't seem to far off. After all, Dr. John recorded the song at the height of "Helter Skelter" and all that. What I do know is that the song is one funky monster, indicative of what bands like The Meters would perfect a few years later.
Of course, Widespread busts this one out pretty regularly, and it was always a nice segue in or out of Drums aka "The Nance Dance" (when they used to do THAT more regularly). Some of the betters ones I've heard have been with the Dirties, but this one here features Dr. John on keys.
"(I Walk On) Guilded Splinters" - Widespread Panic 5/2/99 Atlanta, GA
Finally, here is one more version of the song recorded by a dude who has a much less cooler name than Dr. John, Mac Rabbenack, or JB: Johnny Jenkins. This track has been sampled by Blackalicious and, most famously, on Beck's "Loser," (andother dude with some seriously out there lyrics. "In the time of chimpanzees / I was a monkey"? Rrrrrright.)
"(I Walk On) Guilded Splinters" - Johnny Jenkins
Buy yourself some Dr. John right here.
And good luck finding any Johnny Jenkins. He looks like one elusively bad MF.