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|1. Walkin' Dog Blues|
|2. Cincinnati Flow Rag|
|3. She's Funny That Way|
|4. Whoopin' Blues|
|5. Twelve Sticks|
|6. Children Of Zion|
|7. Buck Rag|
|8. Hesitation Blues|
|10. Baby, Let Me Lay It On You|
|11. Cocaine Blues|
|12. Buck Dance|
|14. Wall Hollow Blues|
|15. Little Boy, Little Boy Who Made Your Britches|
|16. Whistlin' Blues|
Many of his recordings are under-appreciated largely because of their predominantly gospel material. This CD focuses almost entirely on the Rev's secular blues and, as such, is an ideal introduction to the Reverend. Don't let the rough-edged sound of the music deceive you, this is playing of the highest calibre, with numerous tricks and improvisations along the way.
Highlights are "Hesitation blues" (though a little long at nearly twelve minutes!), "Cincinnati Flow Rag" and, if you can cope with the vocals, "Candyman," one of Rev Davis' trademark tunes. Another favourite of mine is "Cocaine blues" with the guitar loping and warbling behind the spoken lyrics. "Whistling blues is a remarkable piece of playing in imitation of a piano, apparently achieved by surreptitiously re-tuning one guitar string part way through the tune!
I suspect that Rev Davis appeals particularly to guitarists or would-be players, and listening to him makes you realise why his playing inspired a host of players and would-be's. Frankly, though, this album deserves a wider audience than that. It is blues unpolished but powerful, and that, surely is what blues is all about.
The outstanding track is "Cincinnati Flow Rag", surely one of the best recorded examples of ragtime blues guitar. It's full of invention and demonstrates Davis' stunning technique to the full. Anyone who plays the guitar should listen to this. There are other virtuoso guitar instrumental solos ""Walkin' Dog Blues", Twelve Sticks", "Buck Rag", and "C-Rag". "Buck Dance" and "Wall Hollow Blues" have some spoken vocals. "Whoopin' Blues" is an unusual instrumental - I think there are 2 guitars on this, but I could be underestimating the great man. "She's Funny That Way" is a song with banjo accompaniment.
The other tracks are songs with guitar backing. "Hesitation Blues" is a well covered song, but this version is somewhat spoiled by the over-load crowd noises that sometimes drown out Davis. It's also rather over-long at 11 minutes plus. "Whistlin' Blues" begins as a story, followed by a bottleneck guitar solo, using an unusual tuning. For guitarists, my copy of this album came with a tab book, with transcriptions of "Walkin' Dog Blues", "Buck Rag", "Cocaine Blues", "Hesitation Blues" and "Baby Let Me Lay It on You".
This is a fine album to hear how the guitar can be played by a master of the instrument. The sound quality is good, apart from over-loud audience noises in places, and tape hiss on a couple of tracks. 71 minutes playing time in all. It's worth buying for "Cincinnati Flow Rag" alone.
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