For years Thornetta Davis has fronted Detroit blues bands from the Chisel Brothers and The James Cloyd Group to her own group, who you find in house on this disc. Recorded at her Wednesday night venue, The Music Menu in the Greektown area of downtown Detroit, this effort is the same raw and emotive blues you will hear at any of her performances.
A singer raised in the church choir, entranced with gospel , and one who continues to sing publicly in church every Sunday, Thornetta has developed a strength, range, and timbre that carries her vocals to any height required. A beautifully engaging singer, Thornetta will draw you into her romantic ballads, spicy love tales, or blues tales of love gone wrong with little resistance. Her recorded mannerisms echo her involved stage show and reveal her intimate associations with her music.
In support of her dazzling vocals, she has assembled a sharp and well tuned band. On lead guitar is Brett Lucas; a blindingly clean and viciously intense axeman. Laying out the second-story power rhythms and interacting lead lines is Phil Hale on the keyboards. The engine room has Todd Glass blistering the skins and Jerry Jibilian on the hard hittin' bass. Lucas has also co-penned (with F. Mendelson) the one original tune here "That's A Pretty Good Love".
This full eleven song set carries ten covers and well known standards including Willie Dixon's "I Just Wanna Make Love To You", the Cheatham's "...Black Drawers", Hound Dog's "Hound Dog", and Ma Rainey's "C.C. Rider". Thornetta also puts her twist upon the deep blues of "Damn Your Eyes", Bill Withers' "Kissing My Love", and even "Rock Me A Little While" made famous by the Doobie Brothers. Whatever it is though, you can be sure it's got the Davis twist; 'cause she will supercharge any composition she lays her hands on. Look to this disc for some of the finest reinterpretations and rearrangements on the market!
Sweet Mama Music; P.O. Box 14112; Detroit, MI 48214: or, www.thornettadavis.com
This review is copyright © 2001 by Mark A. 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.