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Tab BENOIT, Debbie DAVIES, Kenny NEAL – Homesick For The Road 1999

Posted in BLUES, Debbie DAVIES, Kenny NEAL, Tab BENOIT on November 30, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Tab BENOIT, Debbie DAVIES, Kenny NEAL – Homesick For The Road 1999

Blues

Perhaps taking their cue from Alligator’s 1985 Showdown! with Albert Collins, Robert Cray, and Johnny Copeland, Telarc brought together three fairly young veterans on the contemporary blues circuit for this session. Tab Benoit, schooled in blues in Baton Rouge, steps forward to sing and play guitar on Willie Nelson’s “Nightlife,” Jay Hawkins’s well-worn “I Put a Spell on You,” and his own “Down in the Swamp,” supported in all three places by Kenny Neal on rhythm guitar. Neal, a member of a prominent Baton Rouge blues family, provides vocals and solo guitar for his lament “I’ve Been Mistreated,” a rendition of his father Raful’s “Luberta” (where the elder contributes a spot of singing), and several more album tracks. Also in the thick of things is Debbie Davies, who worked with Albert Collins before carving out her own niche. Her singing and guitar are out front on four Don Costagno songs and parts of three other tunes. Furnishing the grooves behind Neal, Davies, and Benoit is Ronnie Earl’s old Broadcasters band. The three guitarists and their backup players are all good musicians and the material is for the most part OK. But nothing here, nothing at all, is memorable or distinctive. This album is recommended to loyal fans of the headliners.
By Frank-John Hadley.
**
Homesick for the Road provides a showcase for three fine blues singer/guitarists. The recording is clean and crisp, as is typical of the Telarc label, and the music cooks from start to finish. This disc provides an excellent introduction to each performer, with ample opportunities for each to shine. Debbie Davies brings to mind Bonnie Raitt, with her appealing vocal timbre and bluesy delivery. The youthful Benoit sings with an authority beyond his 31 years, making Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ classic “I Put a Spell on You” his own. Kenny Neal has the scruffy, soulful delivery of a man who knows what the blues are all about. His “I’ve Been Mistreated” sounds like a late ’60s slice of Muscle Shoals soul. All three of the co-leaders are excellent guitarists, and the band is solid and tight. Homesick for the Road rolls down the car window for an enticing look at three relatively young performers carrying the blues torch into the future.
By Jim Newsom.
**
Three accomplished guitarists and songwriters join forces on Homesick for the Road (Telarc 83454; 54:25). Debbie Davies, Tab Benoit and Kenny Neal mix it up in sympatico fashion on this bluesy set, reminiscent in concept of 1987’s Showdown! (Alligator) featuring Albert Collins, Robert Cray, and Johnny Copeland. Benoit and Neal, both natives of Louisiana, pair off on Benoit’s “Down in the Swamp” as well as on covers of Willie Nelson’s “Night Life” and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You.”
Neal is singled out on a rendition of his father Raful’s “I’ve Been Mistreated.” Davies pairs off with Neal on a rousing “Still Called the Blues” and weaves an alluring spell with her sultry, soulful vocal delivery on the acoustic “So Cold.” But the most sparks here are generated when all three get together and trade licks, as on the organ-fueled shuffle “Bop ‘Til I Drop” and the bouncy title track.
By Bill Milkowski.
**
Tab Benoit, Debbie Davies, Kenny Neal- Vocals, Guitar
Bruce Katz- Organ
Rod Carey- Bass
Per Hanson- Drums
special Guest;
Raful Neal- Harmonica, Vocals
**
01. Deal with It (Reale, Tiven, Vivino) 4:41
02. Down in the Swamp (Benoit) 5:19
03. Bop ‘Til I Drop (Walsh) 4:17
04. So Cold (Constagno) 4:05
05. I Put a Spell on You (Hawkins) 4:51
06. Money (Costagno) 4:46
07. Luberta (Neal) 4:55
08. I Can’t Afford My Self (Costagno, Davies) 5:42
09. I’ve Been Mistreated (Neal) 3:26
10. Night Life (Breeland, Buskirk, Nelson) 3:59
11. Still Called the Blues (Forest, Jackson, Miller) 4:35
12. Homesick for the Road (Costagno) 3:41
**

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Debbie DAVIES – Blues Blast 2007

Posted in BLUES, Debbie DAVIES on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Debbie DAVIES – Blues Blast   2007

Blues

Any blues fan dedicated to live music will testify that when musicians play with their peers, the energy rises a few notches. That’s the concept behind this meeting of the minds hosted by guitarist Debbie Davies. Fellow string-benders Tab Benoit and Coco Montoya (both have worked with her previously) join harmonica veteran Charlie Musselwhite and let the resulting fireworks naturally explode. Typically, these projects wind up being overdubbed affairs, a process that dilutes and often negates the concept. But except for a few instances, largely with Benoit, Davies and her musical friends assembled in the studio, resulting in the titular explosion. Both Montoya and Davies apprenticed under Albert Collins, and the opening “A.C. Strut” captures the Texas blues legend’s loose shuffle style as the guitarists trade sizzling licks. Montoya and Musselwhite join for “Sittin’ and Cryin’,” a finger-snapping Davies original where the harpist tears into a limber and authentic Little Walter-styled solo topped only by the next track, his own “Movin’ & Groovin’,” to which he also contributes lead vocals. Davies turns the microphone over to Benoit on John Lee Hooker’s “Crawling King Snake,” moving the proceedings down to the muggy Louisiana swamps. But when the participants join on “Like You Was Gone,” the summit cooks. The closing 10-minute romp on a slow, minor-key instrumental “Sonoma Sunset” again finds the foursome swapping licks as the temperature progressively intensifies and the resulting jam shoots through the roof. By Hal Horowitz.
**
Debbie Davies follows up her last release “All is Found” (2005) with the August 28, 2007, release of “Blues Blast” (CD-83669), a pressure cooker recording that showcases her seasoned guitar and vocal capabilities and includes guest appearances by three high-profile bluesmen: guitarists Tab Benoit and Coco Montoya, and harpist Charlie Musselwhite.
“Like a master chef’s gourmet meal offering exquisite courses, Debbie has crafted a nine-course wallop of her musical vision and spirit,” says Art Tipaldi, senior writer for Blues Revue and the author of the album’s liner notes. “One listen to Debbie’s tribute [to guitar mentor Albert Collins] with Coco, the opening `A.C. Strut,’ proves these kids learned Pop’s lessons.”
And that’s just the beginning. While the spirit of Collins is ever-present in Davies’ guitar attack, the earthy Texas shuffle has become her trademark sound. On Buddy Guy’s classic `My Time After While,’ she conjures up that fiery Lone Star groove.
Four of the eight remaining tracks are either written or co-written by Davies. Musselwhite ups the ante when he steps in with his high-end blows and low-end draws on Davies’ own “Sittin’ and Cryin'” and Musselwhite’s own contribution, “Movin’ and Groovin.'” Labelmate Tab Benoit joins Davies to pay homage to two legendary blues masters: John Lee Hooker on “Crawlin’ King Snake” and Howlin’ Wolf on “Howlin’ for My Darlin.'”
The closer, “Sonoma Sunset,” bakes slow and rich like the perfect high-calorie dessert for every blues lover. Davies and her three accomplices join together in this minor-key, slow-blues instrumental. The combination of Musselwhite’s harp solo – an exquisite succession of one sonic innovation after another – and input from all three guitarists turn this track into a ten-minute workout. In the final coda, it’s easy to feel the spirited enthusiasm in their teamwork.
**
Blues Blast represents Davies’ 11th album outing as a group leader, or in the case of Blues Blast, a hostess of sorts, as the CD features vocal and instrumental contributions from Coco Montoya, Tab Benoit, and Charlie Musselwhite. One or more of these special guests appears on each of the CD’s nine tracks, with all three plus Davies on two tracks – “Like You Was Gone,” a song written by frequent Davies drummer Don Castagno (who does not play on Blues Blast) and the closing instrumental track “Sonoma Sunset” written by Davies, Coco Montoya, the recording session’s drummer, Per Hanson, and its bass player, Rod Carey. The CD’s rhythm section is rounded out by Hammond B3 player Bruce Katz. “All of us – Tab, Coco, Charlie and myself – are students of the old school, and there’s a sense of history that ties us together,” says Davies of Blues Blast, which accurately describes the album’s feel, but there’s a noteworthy specific history shared by Davies and Montoya – both are the musical offspring of bluesman Albert Collins, the Master of the Telecaster. The Albert Collins connection is a fact both Davies and Montoya wear with pride and reverence and the two pay tribute to their mentor on the opening instrumental track, “A.C. Strut,” a Texas shuffle written by Davies reminiscent of great Collins shuffles such as “Frosty” (Ice Pickin’, 1978, Alligator Records) and “Avalanche” (Frozen Alive!, 1981, Alligator Records). Though Davies and Montoya have developed individual guitar tones and styles since their time with Collins, “A.C. Strut” is clearly a tribute to the mentor with respect to attack, phrasing, and vibrato. In fact, there are riffs on this track from Davies and Montoya that are eerily similar. The two start out exchanging verses, perhaps separately recalling Collins, but toward the end they trade riffs as if saying to each other, “Remember this one?” The tune’s a heartfelt dialog.
It’s interesting to note that the album closer, “Sonoma Sunset,” is also an instrumental, but one that features the present-day guitar approach of Montoya and Davies, the opening and closing tracks thus giving the listener a good “that was then, this is now” glimpse at the two guitarists. Mention was made in a recent concert review of Montoya’s volume-knob-swell technique and you’ll hear him use that to good effect on “Sonoma Sunset.” Musselwhite and Benoit also deliver ear-catching contributions to the ten-minute tune, making it an overall current-day blues celebration among friends, despite the track’s somewhat somber minor-key mood.
Nestled between the opener and closer you’ll find: Debbie Davies singing the Buddy Guy classic “My Time After Awhile” with Coco on guitar; a Davies-penned Texas-flavored original, “Sittin’ and Cryin’,” featuring Coco on guitar and Musselwhite’s harmonica; a Musselwhite original, “Movin’ and Groovin’,” with Charlie on vocals and harmonica; two songs featuring Tab Benoit – John Lee Hooker’s “Crawling King Snake” and Howlin’ Wolf’s (written by Chester Burnett and Willie Dixon) “Howlin’ For My Darlin'” – on which Benoit contributes vocals and guitar on the first and guitar on the second; “Like You Was Gone” (the song written by Castagno) on which Davies and her three guests appear; and, “Where The Blues Come To Die” written by Debbie Davies and Dennis Walker and featuring Debbie’s vocals and Coco’s guitar.
Yes, Blues Blast is essentially old-school-tinged electric blues, but presented in fresh and vital form by road warriors who’ve made a lifetime commitment to keeping the flame aglow. It’s a worthy addition to the collection.
By Tom Watson.
**
Ever wanted to be part of the “In” blues crowd? Well, Debbie Davies has called a few friends over for a party, and you’re invited! All you need is a CD player and a copy of Debbie’s new Telarc Blues release Blues Blast. You’re asking “Who RSVP’d?” Well, how about Coco Montoya and Tab Benoit, both bringing their axes and Charlie Musselwhite with harps in hand. Bruce Katz is playing a lean, mean B3 organ and there’s a solid rhythm section set up with Rod Carey on bass and Per Hanson on drums. Put on your high-heeled sneakers and come to the party with me!

Davies and Montoya are alumni of the Albert Collins school of the blues, and pay homage to their mentor on the opener, the instrumental Montoya original “A.C. Strut.” Both channel Collins in tone and attitude, and the track feels like Albert’s in the room with them, urging them on.

Not one to sit on the sidelines as a wallflower, Charlie Musselwhite gets up and gets down with “Movin’ & Groovin’,” blowing and exposing the existence of a blues musician: “Movin’ and groovin’, I’m jumping from town to town. Just dropped by to kick these blues around.” But while he’s here, he’s gonna give that harp a good seeing to, which he does on four tracks. Tab Benoit just got in from Louisiana, and after wiping the swamp moss off his headstock, he joins in the fun with his sultry strut through “Crawling King Snake” and a bouncy guitar romp on Howlin’ Wolf’s “Howling For My Darling”.

The long time friends (all have appeared on pervious recordings with Davies) and contemporaries join their considerable forces for the closing track “Sonoma Sunset.”

At first glance I wondered “Only nine cuts on this CD?” Then I looked at the total playing time: 53:50. You get your monies worth here because on every track each musician really opened up and took their time with their musical contributions.

Debbie Davies is a gracious hostess for this blues gathering, sharing vocal and guitar duties. But it’s her CD, and fans will recognize her guitar tone on every track. So get your hands on Blues Blast. This is one party you don’t want to miss!
By Blue Lisa.
**
Debbie Davies- Guitar, Vocals
Coco Montoya, Tab Benoit- Guitar
Charlie Musselwhite- Harmonica
Bruce Katz- Organ
Rod Carey- Bass Guitar
Per Hanson- Drums
**
01. A.C. Strut 4:33
02. My Time After Awhile 4:58
03. Sittin’ and Cryin’ 4:46
04. Movin’ & Groovin’ 6:58
05. Crawling King Snake 6:04
06. Howlin’ For My Darlin’ 5:19
07. Like You Was Gone 5:58
08. Where The Blues Come To Die 5:06
09. Sonoma Sunset 10:01
**

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Debbie DAVIES – All I Found 2004

Posted in BLUES, Debbie DAVIES on November 15, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Debbie DAVIES – All I Found 2004

Blues

Debbie Davies doesn’t play straight blues on All I Found, her eighth release as a bandleader and her first for Telarc Records, so much as a kind of blues-inflected country-pop somewhat reminiscent of Bonnie Raitt, only without Raitt’s distinctive, drop-dead slide guitar technique. Make no mistake, Davies plays some solid guitar on this album (she got her start playing in Albert Collins’ Icebreakers, after all), and she has Arthur Neilson on loan from Shemekia Copeland on second guitar to keep things sizzling on three cuts, but somehow under all that stellar guitar work, several of these songs seem a little tired, and “Troughin’,” a humorous ditty about overeating, is downright irritating. The organ-dominated title tune (with Bruce Katz handling the keys) is a delight, though, and features the wonderfully wry vocal hook “I went looking for a good man and all I found was you,” which Davies delivers with exactly the right amount of sly and bemused disgust. The feisty instrumental “So What” is another clear highlight, allowing Davies, Neilson, and the rhythm section of Per Hanson on drums and Noel Neal on bass to cut loose a little bit. In the end, All I Found feels like an album in a holding pattern, with enough guitar fireworks to keep it interesting but not enough standout songs to make it particularly memorable.
By Steve Leggett.
**
All I Found, Debbie Davies’ debut Telarc release, is a gutsy, guitar-driven blues tour de force. Honing her chops in the legendary Albert Collins’ band, the Icebreakers, the guitarist/singer/songwriter has been fronting her own powerful blues units over the course of seven critically-acclaimed releases. All I Found, her eighth outing as frontwoman, finds Davies at the top of her game on an album of eleven all-original tracks co-written with longtime songwriting partner Don Costagno.
The backing unit, featuring an all-star cast of Arthur Neilson (second guitar), Bruce Katz (keyboards) and the quintessential blues rhythm section of Noel Neal (bass) and Per Hanson (drums), provides the perfect foundation for Davies’ distinctive and articulate guitar playing and the most emotive vocals of her career.
“Fortunately for me, Shemekia Copeland and her band were taking some down time, and I was able to borrow Arthur Neilson for the project,” Davies says in her liner notes. “Arthur is a guitar player’s guitar player. He can do it all, from down and dirty Delta blues to uptown funky R&B. But most important of all, he’s a great guy with a great attitude and he loves to jam.”
One of only a few female guitar players with a Fender endorsement, Davies has been nominated seven times for W. C. Handy Awards and won the Handy Award for Best Contemporary Female Blues Artist in 1997.
Davies’ parents were musicians–her father was an arranger and session leader for Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Pearl Bailey–and she grew up playing blues and rock on the West Coast. Attending jam sessions in Los Angeles put her in touch with players such as blues guitarist Coco Montoya. Montoya introduced her to Maggie Mayall–wife of British blues great John Mayall–which led to Davies joining Maggie’s all-woman blues and R&B band, Maggie Mayall & the Cadillacs in 1985.
Montoya also facilitated Davies’ next major career break. Montoya had, at one time, been Albert Collins’ drummer, and he introduced Davies to Collins. Collins asked her to join the Icebreakers in 1988. She toured with Collins for four years, leaving to play lead guitar for Jimmy Buffett’s harmonica man, Fingers Taylor, in 1991. Collins and Davies played together again in 1993 on Debbie’s solo debut for Blind Pig Records, Picture This. Later that year, Collins died of cancer at age 61.
“There will never be another Albert,” Davies says of her mentor. “He had such a specific style. What I learned from him is that everything that comes out has to be totally wired to your soul–no matter what. I saw how much Albert could go through on the road–the headaches, the setbacks, the breakdowns–and still reach inside his soul each night and just give.”
Davies, one of the top contemporary blues artists on the scene today, injects that same kind of deep, soulful resonance into All I Found. Whether performing live or in the studio, Davies takes Albert Collins’ legacy into a new century. She’s giving the blues everything she’s got.
**
Debbie Davies- (Vocals, Guitars);
Arthur Neilson- (Guitar, Slide Guitar);
Bruce Katz- (Piano, Organ);
Noel Neal (Bass);
Per Hanson- (Drums).
**
01. Made Right In The USA (4:10)
02. One More Time (3:29)
03. Evidence (5:10)
04. All I Found (6:08)
05. Troughin’ (5:19)
06. I Won’t Be Your Baby Too Long (3:47)
07. So What (4:08)
08. Comfort Zone (4:44)
09. Every Breath I Take (5:01)
10. Trying To Keep It Real (5:54)
11. What Do You See In That Girl (4:08)
**

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