How we rate: our writers tend to review music they like within their preferred genres.
This Fat Possum re-release was originally distributed in 1995 but suffered from underexposure when the label's relationship with Capricorn dissolved. Blues fans will be glad Fat Possum decided to revive Little Dave and Big Love. The sucker really cooks.
Mississippi native Dave Thompson's displays blazing guitar chops and Hendrix-style vocals on a solid set of blues-rock tunes produced by the late Robert Palmer. At the time the album was recorded, Thompson was a 24-year-old guitar phenom touted as the next big thing by many blues critics. The artist hasn't been heard from since, which is a crying shame given his talent.
While the tunes here are standard blues-rock fare, Thompson's guitar playing is far from ordinary. He marries the down-home funky blues with a rock-oriented guitar style strongly derivative of Stevie Ray Vaughan and Albert King. Thompson uses a quarter instead of a pick to coax some powerful, metallic sounds out of his Stratocaster. He also coats his strings with WD40 so his fingers can glide more easily along the frets. The result is a hard-rocking blues recording peppered with scorching licks, both on electric slide and conventional electric guits.
Recorded in a one-day session at Jimmy's Auto Care in Oxford, Miss., Little Dave is a raw but accomplished album. Thompson's style is ferocious but not overly flashy. And when he sings about troubled times on songs like "I'm Having It So Hard" and "Got a Bad Feeling," he draws on personal experiences. Before he turned 25, Thompson survived two car crashes, a couple of jail sentences, a gunshot to his thigh, and a razor stabbing.
While it's a far more polished effort than most Fat Possum releases, Little Dave is an edgy and emotional album that should please most blues-rock aficionados.