Johnny Jenkins had played the chitlin' circuit for years as Johnny Jenkins and the Pinetoppers. For a time he employed a backup singer named Otis Redding. Jenkins manager, Phil Walden, would concentrate on Otis once his career exploded until Otis tragically died in a plane crash in Lake Monona (a block from my where I grew up and learned to skip stones). Walden quickly found a new project: Duane Allman.
As Allman put together his new band, Walden built Capricorn Records around them, as a place for his collection of southern musicians to record without having to leave for New York or LA (or Memphis or Alabama). One of the first albums Capricorn released was Johnny Jenkins' Ton-Ton Macoute. It is something of a concept album, full of voodoo inspired intensity, which Jenkins was reportedly not happy with. The songs themselves are a bit of a grab bag of unused material, including a couple of cuts from Duane Allman's first pass at a solo album. But somehow it all comes together and works beautifully, it is one of my favorite albums.
My biggest challenge was translated his rhythms using simple tools. Our home just happened to recently add a cowbell, which helped, and I was able for the first time create some complementary rhythms that played off of each other. It was a challenge, but it all kind of came together, including dueling resonators in dueling tunings (G for the tricone, E for the spider with a capo at G).