Papa Mali

Do Your Thing (Fog City)

Texas Platters

Papa Mali

Do Your Thing (Fog City)

If Do Your Thing conjures Dr. John with a dose of Lone Star mojo and a hint of Tom Waits gris-gris, that's a high compliment to Papa Mali. Malcolm Welbourne's childhood was steeped in the bayous of Louisiana and his adulthood in the lengthy Texas tenure of reggae's Killer Bees. After the untimely death of frontman Michael E. Johnson in 2001, Papa Mali (so dubbed by Burning Spear) followed his instincts into the spirit world of swamp music. Among the well-seasoned tracks of his second solo release ("Sugarland," "True Religion," "Coffee") comes standout "Early in the Morning," its second-line rhythm bolstered by the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indian tribe. Such guests make Do Your Thing a thing of aural beauty; Victoria Williams, Dirty Dozen's Kirk Joseph, and pianist Henry Butler add their spice into the funky gumbo. A documentary on the enhanced CD furthers a fascinating glimpse into Papa Mali's visceral vision and spell-casting.

***.5

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