Guy Davis,
(Red House, 2004)

Legacy, the new release and seventh CD by Guy Davis, is a superb recording of acoustic country blues. This collection of blues classics and original material is by far his very best work to date. While listening to Legacy, I couldn't help but wonder if he possibly traveled back in time and learned from the masters themselves. Davis delivers genuine authenticity and deep understanding of the genre on each of the album's 15 tracks; his growth as an artist clearly shines from start to finish.

Legacy contains seven blues classics from legends like Mississippi John Hurt, Sleepy John Estes, Lightnin' Hopkins and Skip James. Davis performs them with the slightest variation. Eight tracks are original compositions, showcasing this singer-songwriter's intuitive talent, each song reflecting the essence of this treasured format.

His method in combining blues classics with his own material has resulted in a wonderful balance of music throughout the album. Davis has the ability to integrate a natural purity to the overall sound of the genre, making Legacy a solid, cohesive recording. A few examples are "I Just Can't Help Loving You," a moving, passionate song with strong vocals and fine mandolin accompaniment; "Red Goose," a fast-paced, banjo-driven country blues tune with plenty of bluegrass overtones; "We All Need More Kindness in This World," a gospel-style, country-blues tune that delivers a very simple message for everyone.

The very best Davis original happens to be the opening track of Legacy, "Uncle Tom's Dead." This powerful opening number is a standard 12-bar blues, overlapped by a distinct urban, hip-hop mix, with lyrics that'll definitely grab your attention. You'll find Davis and his son Martial strongly debating the generational divide surrounding the blues, its history and its place in today's society.

Davis is no stranger to the performing arts; he's the son of actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. He starred in musicals, even worked as an actor on the daytime soap, One Life to Live. Davis is a storyteller who found his calling in the blues, with six recordings, two W.C. Handy nominations this year and now the latest release of his new recording; Davis has earned his place within the blues community. No longer just a blues guitarist, Davis is a well-respected musician, considered one of the finest contemporary country bluesman and part of the present day country blues revival.

There isn't a bad track to be found on Legacy. Even the packaging for this new CD is unique and very inviting with its "comic book" theme, definitely a must-see. I highly recommend Legacy, for blues enthusiasts or anyone who enjoys quality fingerpicking acoustic country blues.

- Rambles
written by Pamela L. Dow
published 11 December 2004

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