Saturday, May 26, 2012

Guy Davis's Delightful The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With the Blues

Guy Davis has over the past couple decades established himself as amongst the finest acoustic blues entertainers. Child of the celebrated couple, Ruby Dee and Ozzie Davis, acting and music might have been said in his genes. In any case, his voyage to the blues started from the stage, and he was an understudy to the theatrical production Mulebone that was inspired by the folklorist and author, Zora Hurston. One of his understudy roles was to bluesman Kenny Neal, and after his time with this production he created a one-man show The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With the Blues. While the initial run lasted one week, it is a show that Davis has performed when he has an opportunity.

Davis has issued a memorialization of The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With the Blues on his Smokeydoke Records with assistance from Bob Porter which enables those who haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Davis perform this show to enjoy it. The music and stories are about 91 minutes and therefore spread over two CDs.

The mix of performances and story-telling is quite engaging as displays the warmth and humor that Davis brings to his performances. He mixes in a few interpretations of classic blues from Rev. Gary Davis, Blind Willie McTell, Robert Johnson and Big Big Broonzy with idiomatic originals that indeed have a strong rhythmic impetus.

One might compare Davis to the late Brownie McGhee or John Cephas as an agile, adept and fluid picker who also conveyed considerable feeling in his singing. To these splendid musical performances, Davis also tells stories that are amusing about hobos, and catfish stew and at other times chilling as when he talks about the lynching. The result is an interesting, provocative and marvelous recording.

I received my review copy from a publicist for this release. Here is a video of Guy Davis in performance. Guy's website is

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