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Sweetheart Like You

Guy Davis

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Album Review

Guy Davis continues to explore the almost forgotten territory of acoustic African-American folk music, field hollers, shouts, rags, and gospel songs in a style that predates the blues and has much in common with the white Appalachian music that existed until the record companies separated it into race and hillbilly music. "Slow Motion Daddy" is a salacious ragtime original with a syncopated rhythm that recalls Rev. Gary Davis and Willie McTell. Davis plays banjo and harmonica and hams it up giving the performance a sly humor. "Follow Me Down" is a 12-string guitar showcase that pays homage to Leadbelly's "Mr. Tom Hughes' Town" a tale of racism and high life in the big city. Nerak Patterson adds electric guitar to a cover of "Hoochie Coochie Man" in an arrangement that crosses the Delta with South Side Chi town. Davis delivers the tune with a growling sexuality and leaves Patterson room for a tasty solo. "Can't Be Satisfied" is another Muddy Waters' tune, this time played claw hammer style on the banjo, with Davis adding harmonica and delivering another playful vocal. Mark Murphy drops some groovy polyrhythms with his standup bass. Davis contributes six of his own solid originals to the set including the aforementioned "Slow Motion Daddy"; "Sweet Hannah," which combines the secular and the sacred with the sanctified B-3 of Adam Hurwitz aka Professor Louie, and the soulful backing vocals of Bernadette Marnell-Polumbia and Joann Marnell; "Steamboat Captain" is another ragtime ditty that combines sprightly acoustic guitar and jug band-like homemade percussion, and "The Angels Are Calling" is a meditation on mortality with a powerful vocal that comes close to weeping as the tune progresses. ~ j. poet, Rovi

Biography

Born: 12 May 1952 in New York, NY

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '90s, '00s

Updating the rural blues tradition for the modern era, Guy Davis was among the most prominent ambassadors of African-American art and culture of his generation, additionally winning great acclaim for his work in the theater. The son of the noted actors, directors, and activists Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, he was born in New York City on May 12, 1952; though raised in the city, Davis was frequently regaled with stories of Southern country life as a child, and over time became so enamored of the music...
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Sweetheart Like You, Guy Davis
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