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Keep Me Comin' (Bonus Tracks Version)

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Album Review

Originally issued in 1973 by Epic, Keep Me Comin' was Oklahoma guitar firebrand Jesse Ed Davis' (who began his career at 16 with Conway Twitty in 1964) third and last album for the label. It featured a killer band featuring drummer Jim Keltner, keyboardist Jim Gordon, and bassist Bob Glaub with a slew of side players featured in various places on horns (Clifford Scott, George Bohannon, Jerry Jumonville, and Howard Johnson among them), and backing vocals and notable cameos by Merry Clayton, Bonnie Bramlett, Leon Russell, and many others. The music walks a line between electrified blues ("Big Dipper"), Southern fried rocked up R&B ("She's a Pain" and "Where Am I Now"), greasy funk (Andre Williams' "Bacon Fat") freaky soul-jazz ("Natural Anthem" and "6:00 Bugalu"), country-rock ("Ching, Ching China Boy" — a song about the racial epithets tossed his way when he was young — and "Keep Me Comin'"). In other words, from all appearances it's an all over the place mess. Interestingly, that is exactly what most of the music press thought and it sank like a stone. Hearing it over 30 years later, there is an undeniable appeal to this music. Davis may have been self-destructive, but he was wildly adventurous musically, and he had the chops to pull it off. He could play with anyone, and his approach was deeply roadhouse blues and soul-jazz. His approach to funky was relaxed and natural, and nothing feels forced here at all. If anything, this may be the best of his studio records for Epic because the groove from track to track is constant, loose, and organic. "6:00 Bugalu" in particular is monstrously funky, the horn section is just popping, and the bassline is pure bad nasty! Davis' chunky rhythm fills and changes get underneath all tinny and nasty. His solo, with full-on phase shifter is economical, tight, and in the cut. There are certain production elements that don't date so well, but these are such minor considerations that they don't even matter. If anything, Keep Me Comin' is a record that really deserves to be reconsidered for its sheer musical merit. If anything, Davis' forgotten legacy, includes sessions with Russell, Bob Dylan, Gary Lewis & the Playboys, Ry Cooder, Taj Mahal, and John Trudell, to name a handful; he was George Harrison's guitarist at the Concert for Bangladesh as an ill Eric Clapton's replacement. Davis' work deserves to be reconsidered and this set is part of the evidence.

Biography

Born: 21 September 1944 in Norman, OK

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '60s, '70s, '80s

Jesse Ed Davis was perhaps the most versatile session guitarist of the late '60s and early '70s. Whether it was blues, country, or rock, Davis' tasteful guitar playing was featured on albums by such giants as Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, John Lennon, and John Lee Hooker, among others. It is Davis' weeping slide heard on Clapton's "Hello Old Friend" (from No Reason to Cry), and...
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Keep Me Comin' (Bonus Tracks Version), Jesse Ed Davis
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