" Holdin' Court "
All instrumental guitar-driven groove delight, (03/04/10)
The latest release by Debbie Davies is an all-instrumental guitar romp that includes six Davies originals on this eleven-track sumptuous recording that also offers covers authored by Duke Robillard and John Lee Hooker. Plus a tune her old boss Albert Collins made famous "If You Love Me Like You Say, another staple of Gatemouth Brown (inappropriately credited to Davies) "Okie Dokie Stomp," and a tribute to the infamous Bill Doggett unit of Clifford Scott, Billy Butler, as well as to Jimmy Smith "Down at the Honky Shack" which is credited somewhat appropriately, but I suspect is actually written by Davies. I cannot find this title anywhere else, so perhaps Davies is having a little fun with us here.
Duke's "Fishnet" (sans Robillard's lyric) kicks Holdin' Court off in a funky fashion, and it's a nice workout for Debbie's fluent solos where she overdubs at least two guitars effectively. "Down At the Honky Shack" smartly melds Doggett's famous "Honky Tonk" with Jimmy Smith's "Back at the Chicken Shack," as Davies shows her affection to the underrated (now deceased) guitarist Billy Butler, she really lets loose here and seems to be having a ball with this fun-classic groove.
Other standouts include the infamous "Okie Dokie Stomp" and it's a blowing romp. Check out Debbie's gliding groove and overdubbed rhythm guitar comps, too. Her band mates bassist Cassandra Faulconer, drummer Don Castagno, and organist Paul Opalach lay down a very solid foundation for Davies to play over. From one of Davies classic recordings Tales From the Austin Motel, "Percolatin'' is re-exhibited to the delight of my ears. "So What," also authored by Davies, is another kicking track driven by Faulconer's sold bass lines and Debbie's funky guitar pumping techniques and offers the only two words spoken at that end, "So what," and that's it! The surprisingly jazzy "Atras De Tus Ojos" is heavenly where Davies sounds a lot like the great Kenny Burrell. It's my most favorite track.
The title track sounds like something Ronnie Earl could have written and would enjoy playing as Debbie meshes jazz chords with some extremely heady and explosive solos that are never over the top. The often covered "I Wonder Why" by John Lee Hooker is another solid vehicle that exemplifies Debbie's deep connections of soulful Blues. I'm sure Davies learned a few tricks from her days with the great Albert Collins who often performed "If You Love Me Like You Say," and I am sure Albert would have given his unconditional seal of approval for Debbie's rendition included here. The finale is the surf like rocking "Zoom-In" which is also an unusual departure for Davies as she sounds more like Dick Dale meets the Ventures on "Telstar," as it differs than anything she's waxed prior, but don't get me wrong. It's fun tune.
So there you have it, this feels and sounds like this is all about Debbie Davies having fun doing something she's probably wanted to for a long time. I for one applaud her efforts here and would be curious (and wishful) to see if she might take on another all instrumental project in the future. Stay tuned.
Bob Putignano a senior contributing editor at BluesWax. He is also the heart of Sounds of Blues at www.SoundsofBlue.com. Bob maybe contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bob Putignano: www.SoundsofBlue.com