David Evans: Needy Time (2007)
Call him a scholar, educator, performer, singer, guitarist. David Evans is all of these and, above all else, a preservationist revered for his knowledge of the blues and a commitment to its survival. He has worked preserving the blues for the last forty-five years. He received a Grammy for best album notes for Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton (Snapper, 2003).
Evans was a musical partner with iconic guitarist/vocalist Alan Wilson, before the formation of Canned Heat in the 1960s. When Wilson was propelled into international stardom, Evans pursued a highly celebrated academic musical path.
His own career is matched only by what he has contributed to the careers of others. He has performed with artists including Son House, Skip James, Robert Pete Williams and R. L. Burnside and recorded with artists including The Fieldstones, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Johnny Shines and Robert Belfour. For more than a decade, Evans has been affiliated with the Memphis indie label Inside Sounds, releasing Shake That Thing! (1996), with The Last Chance Jug Band, and his solo debut, Match Box Blues (2002).
Needy Time is a fourteen-track compilation that includes songs recorded with Wilson"Baby Please Don't Go" (1964) and "Loving Blues" (1967); "Bottle Up And Go," from a 1979 home recording session with Hammie Nixon; and three tracks recorded in France in 2006. Amongst the balance of the tunes (recorded in 2007), The Last Chance Jug Band accompanies him on "Adam and Even in the Garden Of Eden, " "Old Millington Winery Blues and "Tappin' That Thing, while "Now Is The Needy Time and "God Rode In The Windstorm feature legendary gospel group The Spirit of Memphis Quartet, adding another dynamic element to this stellar collection of traditional-sounding songs.
While there is strength in the covers, he performs them "in-the-style-of," rather than recreating them note-for-note, word-for-word, at a level demonstrating his reverence for the originals, while contributing his own voice and stylistic musical spin. The self-penned "Bring the Boys Back Home, is a detailed recounting and political statement about the Iraq war, while "God Rode In The Windstorm is an event song based on Hurricane Katrina, performed in a traditional gospel style.
With superlative vocals and guitar playing throughout, traditionalists will find Needy Time a fine introduction to Evans' glowing body of work.
Track Listing: Bring the Boys Back Home; Now Is The Needy Time; Highway 51; Adam and Eve in The Garden Of Eden; Old Millington Winery Blues; God Rode In The Windstorm; Brownsville Blues; Tappin' That Thing; Bottle Up And Go; On The Road Again; Baby, Please Don't Go; Loving Blues; Who's That Yonder; Wartime Blues.
Personnel: David Evans: vocals and guitars, kazoo (4, 5, 8); Richard Graham: tambourine (1, 6, 8), padiero and shaker (4), washboard and jug (4, 8), special effects (8); Spirit of Memphis Quartet: Melvin Mosley: vocals, Willie Wilson: vocals, Jimmie Allen: vocals, Jesse Allen: vocals; Reverend Percy Cole: vocals, guitar; Brown Berry: bass; Jimmie Allen Jr.: drums (2, 6); Little Victor: harmonica (3, 7), guitar (13), bass drums (7, 13), hi-hat (7); Clint Wagner: violin (4), mandolin (5 ), banjo (8); Elmo Lee Thomas: harmonica (4, 5, 8), vocals and jug (5); Dick Rachelson: keyboards (4, 8); Keith Padgett: vocals, washboard, tambourine (5); Hammie Nixon: vocals, jug, kazoo (9); John Hunnien: guitar (9); Billy Gibson: harmonica (10); Terry Safford: drums (10); Eddie Dottel: percussion (10); Alan Wilson: harmonica (11), guitar (12); Lubos Benas: guitar (10).