CITY LIGHTS marked a transitional point for Dr. John. It found him beginning to move away from the swampy, gritty New Orleans R&B sound of his earlier albums toward a cleaner, jazzier style. It's the first of two albums he made for A&M/Horizon, and while its follow-up, TANGO PALACE, is more commercial, both feature collaborations with legendary '50s/'60s rock-&-roll songwriter Doc Pomus and production by Tommy LiPuma. While the urbane jazz-inflected direction taken here was a departure, Dr. John's visceral piano playing and warm growl of a voice are sonic fingerprints that provide plenty of connecting thread.
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