Biograph Blues Reissues: Rev. Gary Davis and Bukka White

Charlie B. Dahan By

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Biograph Records reissued two recording by the Blues's longtime revered and influential artists, The Reverend Gary Davis and Bukka White. Rev. Gary Davis’ From Blues to Gospel and Bukka Whites’ Big Daddy are not only two excellent representations of these artists indelible careers, but are also these artists final recordings. Each of these reissues contains in-depth liner notes and both have been digitally remastered.

Rev. Gary Davis’ From Blues to Gospel was recorded in 1971 and contains 13 tracks of his vocal and solo acoustic guitar. As the title suggests, Davis’ album focuses on his marriage of the spiritual and the secular, blues and gospel music. What is also very interesting about this recording is the sound of Davis’ guitar. The liner notes credit this instrument as a ‘bozo guitar,’ which was custom made for him and has a unique sound a feel that further illustrates Davis’ virtuositic playing. Showcasing of this talent and unique sound exists on the recordings of "Sally Where’d You Get Your Whiskey" and especially on "Cocaine Blues." His sound is urgent and gripping, a true master and original.

On Bukka Whites' Big Daddy, the seventy-year-old hits his usual stride of above board execution of both instrument and voice. This 1974 recording contains thirteen solo acoustic blues number, some penned by White, that bridge the gap between Mississippi Delta authenticity and Chicago modernism. White was a student of the legendary Delta bluesman, Charley Patton, and much of his attack and guitar fireworks shine through White’s recordings. Highlights include the recordings of the White penned "Black Cat Bone Blues," "Sic ‘Em Dogs on Me" and the traditional "Jelly Roll Working Man."

Without a doubt these are two fine examples of ground breaking and historically important artists showing they can still work it out even in the absolute twilight of their careers. One only notices the years on their voice, which is simple an added dynamic to their sound. As a reissue, it is wonderful that these recording are seeing the light of day after so many years on the shelf, but perhaps more could have been done with them to compliment their importance outside of just remastering. But at the end of the day, these two recordings stand on their own as both historically pertinent and musically exciting.

Track Listing

Rev. Gary Davis: From Blues to Gospel
1. Talk on the Corner
2. Sally, Where'd You Get Your Whiskey
3. Crow Jane
4. Eagle Rocking Blues
5. Cocaine Blues
6. Lost John
7. Samson and Delilah
8. I Heard the Angels Singing
9. Children of Zion
10. Lord, I Wish I Could See
11. Down by the River
12. You Better Get Right
13. I'll Do My Last Singin'

Bukka White: Big Daddy
1. Gibson Hill
2. Black Cat Bone Blues
3. 1936 Trigger Toe
4. Cryin' Holy Unto the Lord
5. Shake My Hand Blues
6. Sic Em Dogs on Me
7. Aberdeen Mississippi Blues
8. Mama Don' Low
9. Hot Springs, Arkansas
10. Jelly Roll Workin Man
11. Black Crepe Blues
12. Glory Bound Train
13. Hobo Blues

Visit Biograph Reocrds on the web at www.biograph.com .


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