Saturday, February 16, 2008

Larry Davis' Handy Award Winner Stands Up 25 years later

The following review of Larry Davis' Funny Stuff appeared in late 2001 but I would not change it today. It is still in print (I just checked

Best known for the original recording of Texas Flood, which was popularized by Stevie Ray Vaughan, Larry Davis had a relatively short but distinguished career, which included at one time being signed to B.B. King’s Virgo label. Originally a bass player, he started playing guitar while touring with Albert King. In 1982 Rooster Blues issued his album, Funny Stuff, which won the 1982 Handy Award for Best New Album and contained the two tracks that won for Best Single. Davis sang with plenty of gospel-based soul while playing his Flying V Gibson in a hardedged style that clearly reflected Albert King’s influence. He produced one of the strongest recordings of the Eighties. From the title track, a terrific song about a lady who has hoodoo’ed him to the closing rendition of Albert King’s Got to Be Some Changes Made, Davis pours his heart into the vocals while turning out some high energy solos. Other highpoints include his funky renditions of That Will Never Do and George Jackson’s Find’ Em, Fool ‘Em & Forget ‘Em, and the searing, slow blues Teardrops and Worried Dream. Legendary saxophonist and producer Oliver Sain produced this as well as played sax and keyboards. Billy Gayles, of Kings of Rhythm fame, played drums on half of this while Johnny Johnson played piano on five of the ten tracks. The album holds up wonderfully and one would be hard-pressed to find any better modern blues recordings since this came out. There may be some as good, but not better.

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