Davies' third recording for Shanachie is laced with catchy numbers rooted in the blues and heavy in roadhouse rock'n blues. Produced by Duke Robillard, the 50 minute disc contains all original material written by either Debbie or her band members. Her respect and admiration for Robillard comes across in the music and is stated clearly in her liner notes. Unlike the previous release, on this effort Debbie records with her own band. Don Castagno (drums) and Alan Hager (bass) provide vital support and prove to be excellent songwriters. Together the 3 deliver plenty of Texas feeling fueled strongly from 1999's 'Tales From The Austin Motel'. In a recent press release Debbie is quoted, 'it really meant a lot to me to have the band do this project … it really made this the most satisfying recording experience I've ever had.' Once again, Davies easily handles lead/rhythm guitars and lead vocals.
The title track is a lazy rocker with the amazing keyboard work of guest, Bruce Katz. The mix of his 88s is kept in the background and complements the prominent rhythm of the guitar. "Can't Live Like This No More" features Debbie's smooth overdubbed vocal harmonies and lead break work reminiscent of Stevie Ray and former mentor Albert Collins. The highlight of the CD for fans of instrumental guitar slinging tunes is "Fired Up." Here, guests Coco Montoya and Duke Robillard, join forces with Davies by trading 4s with each other as if they were playing at the post Handy Awards jam. On most songs, her sassy voice works but on "Down In The Trenches," she is a more confidant guitar player. Here she lays down some sweet sounding guitar without blazing at full gun. "Worst Kinda Man" is a roadhouse stomp featuring the forceful slide work of Jay Geils. The tune is written from a woman's perspective with lyrics like: 'the worst kinda man show you the very best time'.
With heavy and prominent chording, Davies emulates Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers on "Can't Find The Blues." The driving melody is far from being blues and thus matches the title closely. The addition of baritone and tenor saxes, courtesy of Doug James and 'Sax' Gordon Beadle, adds to the power on "I'm Just Your Fool." Sometimes the rhythm of the song complements her voice and sometimes its vice versa as on this one. Here Debbie belts out the lyrics with sweet emotion and extreme conviction while playing lead so intensely you might be fooled into thinking its one of her guests. One can't resist at drawing comparisons to the guitar tone of SRV yet she has a sound that is all her own. A touch of New Orleans jazz is thrown into the playful, "Funky Little Teapot" while "Grow Up, Grow Old" preaches the benefits of remaining young at heart.
The tunes may be short in duration (average length 3:30) but they sure grab one's attention. If Davies performs these songs live with the same irresistible infectious rhythm as on this CD, fans will be lining up to get a copy. If you still think that a woman can't play the blues then check this one out.
For CDs and information, visit www.shanachie.com, www.debbiedavies.com or contact Karen Leipziger/KL Productions (615) 297-4452 firstname.lastname@example.org
This review is copyright © 2001 by Tim Holek, 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.
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