I’ve never yet known Guy Davis make a bad album. This isn’t it either.
The general tone is upbeat. Guy Davis is one of a handful of blues singers (a hand also holding Taj Mahal and Eric Bibb) whose CDs can reliably be expected to make you feel better by the time they finish. They love playing the music and they sing with a smile. There is plenty of banjo on this album and, as Steve Martin observed, it’s impossible to sound sad on the banjo. (He even claimed it was the only thing capable of saving Richard Nixon’s career).
There is over an hour of good friendly music on this CD and the production matches the performance. Among the musicians are Mark Naftalin (keyboard player in the classic Paul Butterfield Blues Band), John Platania (guitarist on Van Morrison’s best albums) and T-Bone Wolk, of whom Davis says “his breath smells like music”. Most songs are originals, with a few exceptions – “Goin’ Down Slow”, “Po’ Boy” and “Maggie Campbell Blues”. It’s good to hear Davis singing a long, slow and soulful blues like his own “Blues In The Midnight Hour” too. Worth the price of admission on its own.
Skunkmello, according to Davis’ notes, was “a famous chicken thief who founded the Lazy Liars and Loafers Club”. Okay, Guy, I’ll buy that. My biographical encyclopaedia describes him as an itinerant fish polisher, but perhaps that’s wrong. “Skunkmello’s Dance Of The Chickens”, an almost childishly simple yet enjoyable song, doesn’t actually refer to him anyway.
My only reservation relates to the rap-influenced song, “Uncle Tom Is Dead (Milk ‘n’ Cookies Remix)” which I take to be an attempt to ‘get down with the kids’. But fair enough, it’s not aimed at me and being the last track means I can easily skip it. Otherwise, this is another album which shows Guy Davis’ quality control is working as well as ever. Roll on the next.