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Ain't Gotta Dime

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Album Review

The rough-and-tumble vocal style of Boo Boo Davis recalls the unrefined gruffness of a Hound Dog Taylor, Son Seals, or Elmore James. His harmonica is not as potent as peers or predecessors, but it is finely honed and tasteful enough to rank him as one of the better modern-day players. This set of originals based in the electric urban Chicago blues tradition should set listeners on their collective ear just enough to notice that he's an honest, get-down performer who takes no prisoners, belting out his songs in total confidence. With help from drummer John Gerritse, electric guitarist Jan Mittendorp, and no bassist, Davis romps and stomps along with a no-nonsense Mississippi Delta foundation, a slightly funky stance, and an authentic, uncut soul. His themes are typical, though the stomping "Silvermine" is tough as can be in a wishful-thinking manner, "Standing at the Fishbank" is a shuffle blues that refers to hanging out on a riverbank trying to catch a meal while perhaps also being at the corner ATM, and "My Baby Got Me Fixed" is a foot-sure tune that seems happy in an unwieldy situation. "There's a Roach Crawlin" is a hot-assed rock song where Davis is bugged that "the roach won't leave me alone." "Ain't Gotta Dime" is steady as a rock and the slower "Ten Thousand Dollars" features the best and most pungent harmonica of Davis, both songs immersed in the universal dilemma of having it all or being dead broke, with nothing in between. Then there's the downhearted "Cryin Blues," where Davis' sour harmonica is heard perhaps to its detriment, and "Got My Loving, Now You're Gone" is in a similar mood. More upbeat and positive, the novelty "Cake Lady" has Davis enjoying his woman's baking skills alongside some fine slide guitar work from Mittendorp, and "Man Who Be Around" emphasizes that Davis is always present and accounted for, no matter the situation, in a reply to skittish previous suitors. As first takes in the studio, there's a rawness and even an occasional hard rock feeling due to the distorted vocal production values, apparently intentional. You can identify influences of the Hooker brothers, Taylor's inimitable slide work by Mittendorp, and a contemporary quality that does not stray into smoother soul. If you like your uptown blues unfettered, in the moment, and untreated, Boo Boo Davis is likely your man. ~ Michael G. Nastos, Rovi

Ain't Gotta Dime, Boo Boo Davis
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