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Rev. Gary DAVIS – The Guitar & Banjo Of Reverend Gary Davis 1964

Posted in BLUES, Rev. Gary DAVIS on November 18, 2010 by whoisthemonk

Rev. Gary DAVIS – The Guitar & Banjo Of Reverend Gary Davis 1964
2001 Issue.


Because this is an all-instrumental recording, it’s an offbeat entry into the catalog of a performer known both as an important guitarist and as a singer. Some might miss Davis’ vocals on this 1964 recording, but on the other hand there are plenty of records with him singing around. This gives listeners a chance to hone in on his dexterous guitar skills, blending ragtime, folk, and blues, usually on guitar (though he plays banjo on a couple of songs, and harmonica on one). “Maple Leaf Rag” is a natural showcase for Davis’ talents, and “Candy Man,” which may be his most well-known song, is here presented without words, making for an interesting juxtaposition with more commonly heard versions on which he (or others) sings. As further evidence of his eclecticism, there’s a version of “United States March aka Soldier’s Drill” — not the best format for his strengths, certainly, but an illustration of his ability to adapt his style to unexpected material.
By Richie Unterberger.
This CD constitutes the welcome re-issue of one of the more obscure of Gary Davis’ 1960s studio recordings. This 1964 instrumental album features not only guitar and banjo, but also gives Davis’ harmonica playing an outing, and features a range of secular material which Davis had earlier been reluctant to play.
On guitar he is in typically magnificent form, if not quite as phenomenal as in the 1957 “Pure Religion and Bad Company” CD. Many of the themes will be familiar to Davis fans (for example, “Can’t Be Satisfied” is the characteristic Piedmont theme he recorded in 1935 as “I’m Throwin’ Up My Hands” and in 1957 as “Mountain Jack”, and “United States March” was recorded a number of times from 1945 onwards), but all are given assured treatments. Davis’ finger-picking is typically impressive, and on “Maple Leaf Rag” his influence on Steffan Grossman is strongly evident. “Candy Man”, shorn of its vocal, sounds rather like the work of Elizabeth Cotten.
The banjo playing is effective but less appealing than the guitar, whilst the harmonica track is good but no threat to Sonny Terry.
Sound quality is excellent.
Self recommending to all fans of Davis’ guitar playing.
By B.D. Tutt.
01. Maple Leaf Rag 2:55
02. Slow Drag (Cincinnati Flow Rag) 2:23
03. The Boy Was Kissing The Girl (And Playing Guitar At The Same Time) 2:40
04. Candy Man 2:50
05. United States March (Soldier’s Drill) 6:25
06. Devil’s Dream 3:45
07. The Coon Hunt 3:29
08. Mister Jim (Walkin’ Dog Blues) 4:11
09. Please Baby 3:14
10. Fast Fox Trot 2:20
11. Can’t Be Satisfied 2:55

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