It was no surprise when McNally teamed up with Malcolm John “Mac” Rebennack Jr. or Dr. John to record her new album, “Small Town Talk (Songs of Bobby Charles).”
“It was a way for me to show how brilliant Bobby was,” McNally says during a recent interview. “This album is truly a labor of love.”
The album consists of songs by Bobby Charles, who is known for writing the hits “See You Later Alligator,” “Walking to New Orleans” and “But I Do.” He died in 2010 and is relatively unknown for his own recordings.
The album also features guest performances by Derek Trucks, Will Sexton, Luther Dickinson and Vince Gill.
McNally says the inspiration for “Small Town Talk” came from Charles’ self-titled album that he recorded with members of The Band. She says that the songs oriented her musically and the music got under her skin in a “nagging kind of way.”
“I initiated the project when I sat in for Bobby in 2007 at (the New Orleans) Jazz Fest on the Lagniappe stage. That was the first time I played with Mac. I had mentioned revisiting that ‘Bearsville’ album with Mac to Bobby the day before at rehearsal and he thought that was a great idea,” she explains.
“At the time, the album was unavailable, which seemed an utter sin to me. Bobby didn’t make it to the Jazz Fest show but Mac was there, we did the set and it went exceptionally well. I mentioned my concept of reinterpreting the Bobby Charles album to Mac, and to my amazement he went for the idea. That was in April. We made it into the studio that following December.”
She says got together with Charles and talked about the songs that were going on the album.