Guy Davis – Kokomo Kidd (2015)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/44,1 kHz | Time – 01:01:48 minutes | 676 MB | Genre: Blues
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Digital Booklet, Front Cover | © Dixiefrog
While carrying the blues around the world, from the Equator to the Arctic Circle, Guy Davis came back with some fresh inspiration and new stories to tell. Kokomo Kidd, Guy’s follow-up album to the hugely successful Juba Dance from 2013, finds the blues ambassador visiting fresh territory. It s a new beginning for me, he says, The first time I produced myself. What I m showing here is a side of me that s deep inside. It s needing air and light, and here it comes!
His deft acoustic playing and well-crafted lyrics are here as always. And though Davis calls on his gifts as an actor and storyteller, some of his new songs are personal as it gets. I Wish I Hadnt Stayed Away So Long confronts loss and pays tribute to a role model, Pete Seeger. I was on Pete s last official tour, witnessing with my own eyes something Id heard since I was a child, he says. Songs like She Just Wants and Blackberry Kisses get deep into romantic and sexual matters. I ve done the L-word, and Lord knows Ive written my share of double entendres and even single entendres about sex. But if you listen to Blackberry Kisses, you won t hear a lot of blues songs that go into waltz time in the middle.
The rollicking title track, featuring Ben Jaffe of New Orleans Preservation Hall Jazz Band, might be called a short story that you can dance to, featuring a rascal character who starts as a bootlegger and winds up a Republican advisor. It s sort of a demented celebration of corruption, Guy says. The Kidd represents all the forces that operate on the margins of society. That song says something about who I am, because I just don t follow blues musicians, even though they re very dear to me. But another one of my influences is someone I d consider America s modern Shakespeare, and thats Garrison Keillor.
The songs New Orleans connection harks back to a formative visit he made to the Crescent City in 1979, a trip that convinced him to follow his muse as a performer. I was playing the streets and Al Jaffe [Preservation Hall founder and Ben s father] came out and saw me. Not only did he take me inside to meet all the players, he gave me the official Preservation Hall uniform tie, which I have to this day. Not only that, but I ran into [legendary jazz bassist] Milt Hinton, who d been my professor at Hunter College. He saw me playing on the street and thought, great I d finally made something of myself!
Another notable friend, harmonica ace Charlie Musselwhite, appears on a version of the Howlin Wolf classic Little Red Rooster. But the most surprising of the four non-originals s has to be Donovan s Wear Your Love Like Heaven. As Davis explains, I loved that song back when I was a kid, and I wasnt even sure why It wasnt especially rhythmic, more on the acoustic psychedelic side of things. Growing up as an African-American, it was always about James Brown, soul music. Same with the Bob Dylan song, Lay Lady Lay – There was a time when I wouldn t have had the self-confidence to do a song like that.
Guy Davis work as an actor, author, and lately teacher earmark him as a renaissance man of the blues. Back in 1995 he acted Off-Broadway in his own play, The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With the Blues, which has since seen a CD release. More recently he joined the Broadway production of Finian’s Rainbow, playing the part originally done in 1947 by Sonny Terry an experience that inspired the Kokomo Kidd song Like Sonny Did. What music and acting have in common, he explains, is that I don t like people to see the hard work and the sweat that goes into what I do. I want them to hear me and be uplifted. And I want some little eight-year-old kid in the front row to have big eyes and say, Hey, I want to do that!
„With each new release, the clothes of an old bluesman fit Guy Davis more and more comfortably. By now the blues are completely a part of who he is…. Perhaps the best thing about Davis is that he never tries to be something he’s not; there’s no fake Southern accent. What you hear is what you get….There’s plenty of talent in Davis but there’s also an obvious deep love for the blues, especially the rural country blues, and he brings to his music a real timelessness. The man just keeps getting better and better.“ (AMG)
„If the earthy power of Guy Davis’s sandpaper vocals doesn’t grab your attention and the resonance of his acoustic-guitar strings doesn’t turn your head, you need to make sure you’re still alive.“ (Robert Gordon)
„He s America s greatest link to the blues right now.“ (Windosr Star)
01. Kokomo Kidd
02. Wish I Hadn’t Stayed Away So Long
03. Talking Just A Little Bit Of Time
04. She Just Wants To Be Loved
05. Like Sonny Did
06. Lay Lady Lay
07. Little Red Rooster
08. Maybe I’ll Go
09. Blackberry Kisses
10. Have you Ever Loved Two Women
11. Cool Drink Of Water
12. Bumble Bee Blues
13. Wear Your Love Like Heaven
Guy Davis, vocals, acoustic guitars, banjo, harmonicas, keyboards, percussion
Professor Louie, acoustic piano, Hammond organ
John Platania, slide, electric guitar
Mark Murphy, acoustic bass, cello
Gary Burke, drums
Chris James, mandolin, rhythm electric guitar
David Helper, background vocals
Miss Marie Spinosa, background vocals
Audrey Martells, background vocals
Zhana Roiya, background vocals
Charlie Musselwhite, harmonica (on “Little Red Rooster”)
Fabrizio Poggi, harmonica (on “Have You Ever Loved Two Women”)
Ben Jaffe, tuba (on “Kokomo Kidd”)