Anxiously pushing out her seventh solo album (and third release for Shanachie), Debbie Davies has carved her own blues niche with her own rockin', R & B styled blues. After working out with Maggie Mayall's Cadillacs starting in 1985, and three years in the second guitar chair in Albert Collins' band, Davies formed her own band in 1991 and has been pushing its boundaries since. This release marks the first use of her trusty road band behind her. Her no-bull style on guitar and her hard-hewned vocals have gained her blues fame and musical notoriety with each prior release, every festival performance, and each of her over 200 club gigs every year.
Debbie has covered all the lead vocals and lead guitar action on all but three cuts. She is supported by Don Castagno on the drums and Alan J. Hagar on the bass guitar. Bruce Katz helps out with filling piano and organ harmonies. Producer and guest guitarist Duke Robillard also helps out . Friend Coco Montoya provides axe relief and support on a couple, and Jay Geils is heard with the slide guitar on "Worst Kinda Man". Doug James is here on tenor and baritone sax, as is Robillard bandmate 'Sax' Gordon Beadle.
Castagno wrote three tracks himself, co-wrote two with Debbie, and penned two with Jon and Sally Tiven. Debbie, likewise, has written four on her own, the two with Castagno, and two with the Tivens. Alan Hagar also composed one cut with Castagno. That adds up to the thirteen spicy tunes found here; all are positively powerful tunes. Take "Leading Me Home" and find a Memphis soul and horn slant happening. Choose the opening title tune and you have a movin', rockin' opus, or take a Crescent City funk excursion on Hager and Castagno's "Funky Little Teapot". Whatever way you slice Davies' pie, you come up with something pleasingly blue!
The collaborative efforts of producer Robillard, Davies, and bandmates Castagno and Hagar makes this a rewarding release to both artists and consumers. The keyboard work of Bruce Katz is also a balancing counterpart to the powered -up notation of the guitarists. Listeners will be bowled over with more of Davies' powerhouse blues, sultry R & B, and rockin' allegiance. You need only check the sterling guitar solos like that on "She's Takin' Notes" to know she ain't playin'! Her voice carries through with a mature profile, a startling resonance, and a proactive compliance to the particular musical stylization she's workin' up. This work by Davies should be up for numerous, critical awards; and with her band involved we have a special treat!
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark Cole, and Blues On Stage, all rights reserved. Copy, duplication or download prohibited without written permission. For permission to use this review please send an E-mail to Ray Stiles.