First Appeared in The Music Box, April 2006, Volume 13, #4
Written by John Metzger
Eric Clapton, B.B. King, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Pinetop Perkins, Muddy Waters, and Electric Flag are just a few of the artists who have tried their hand at interpreting St. Louis Jimmy Oden’s Goin’ Down Slow. Considering how many times the tune has been recorded and performed, it’s surprising that Guy Davis is able to find a fresh angle from which to deliver it. Granted, his approach isn’t terribly unique, but the emotional residue that clings to the song’s dark, swirling vortex helps to transform it into one of the many highlights on his latest endeavor Skunkmello.
More than most styles of music, the blues is a fluid dialogue among musicians past and present. In telling his tales, Davis has no qualms about twisting Furry Lewis’ Kassie Jones into his own Natural Born Eas’ Man or recasting Mississippi John Hurt’s Candyman as The Chocolate Man. Elsewhere, he slathers It Takes Love to Make a Home with the urban grit of the Chicago scene, and in the center of the set, he quietly tips his hat to Wilson Pickett while gently nestling the delicate soul of Blues in the Midnight Hour. There’s no question that Davis’ influences reach far and wide, and throughout Skunkmello, he continues to borrow liberally from them. What’s different, however, is that this time he fully makes them his own, and as a result, he authoritatively adds his own chapter to the genre’s rich legacy. ½
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2006 The Music Box