Thursday, September 13, 2012

Guy Davis Is Chocolate To The Bone

Guy Davis has established himself as amongst the most gifted interpreters of acoustic blues alive. Back in the July-August 2003 DC Blues Calendar, I had the following review of his album Chocolate to the Bone which also was published then to help promote his performance at that year's Herndon Blues Festival, an acoustic blues festival that alas is no longer happening. I believe Red House Records sent me a review copy.  

Chocolate to the Bone is the new Red House release that Guy Davis will be supporting on his upcoming appearances. The sixth album for the multifaceted performer covers a lot of musical territory with most of the performances finding Davis backed by a small, mostly acoustic group that provides a bit of string band feel to performances that range from a tribute to John Estes (Limetown set to the melody of Brownsville Blues-Rolling & Tumble Blues); his original Tell Me Where the Road Is which has the flavor of a Taj Mahal performance; and the rollicking Step It Up and Go, with a jug band flavor contributed by Howard Johnson’s tuba and some frenzied slide guitar in the vein of Tampa Red.

Other delight's includes his rendition of John Lee Hooker’s I Believe I’ll Lose My Mind, that catches the brooding character of Hooker’s slow blues with nice slide guitar added; Davis’ Honey Babe with nice fingerpicking and genial vocal about going to Baltimore to see the woman, chocolate to the bone, he will love till the day he dies; and the traditional children’s song, Shortnin’ Bread. Other covers on this include Charles Brown’s Driftin’ Blues; the rarely covered Blind Lemon Jefferson classic, Matchbox Blues; and Ishman Bracey’s Saturday Blues. Railroad Story is a short harmonica blues dedicated to Sonny Terry and Reverend Dan Smith. 

The music here is handsomely performed throughout and the playing is supportive of Davis’ vocals as opposed to hogging the spotlight itself. This recording is as entertaining as any Davis has produced and will be welcome by his fans and undoubtedly those who see him perform.

Here is a video of Davis with a band performing Saturday Blues.

No comments: