Eleven years is a long time between recordings. It's an even longer time between debut and sophomore albums. Harpist/vocalist Davenport has finally released his second album, and although it is hard to say that eleven years was worth the wait, this collection is excellent!
Though not as cohesive as his 1991 debut, When the Blues Hit You, Davenport has delivered a winner with I Smell A Rat. The obvious questions: Why hasn't he recorded more often? And how come it took eleven years to release new material? We may never know the answers, but we certainly know that it is a shame because Davenport is a true gem an under- utilized, under-recorded gem.
Davenport, who is mainly known for playing as a sideman to Bo Diddley and Big Daddy Kinsey, can stand up to any 1960's Chicago Blues Man. Helped by guitarist and producer Jimmy Dawkins; Detroit Junior on piano; Allen Batts, also on piano; Jimi Schutte on drums and Bob Stroger on bass, Davenport has crafted an album that could easily be confused with some of the later, rock- influenced Chess recordings. Highlights include: "My Mama Rocks Me," "So Wurrid," the instrumental "To Our Lost Ones 9/11/01," the album opener "Bad Treatment" and "Knocked on Every Door."
Track Listing: 1. Bad Treatment - 4:08
2. Knocked on Every Door - 5:23
3. You So Sexy - 5:22
4. West Side Blues Harp- 3:35
5. Miss Sallie Mae - 5:43
6. My Mama Rocks Me - 5:55
7. In My Bedroom - 4:09
8. So Long - 7:06
9. I Smell a Rat - 4:55
10. So Wurrid - 5:57
11. To Our Lost Ones 9/11/01 - 4:12
12. Stop Beggin' Me - 4:24
13. Goin' Away - 3:23
Personnel: Mad Dog Lester Davenport - Harmonica, vocals;
Jimmy Dawkins - Guitar;
Allen Batts - Piano;
Detroit Junior - Piano; Jimi Schutte - Drums;
Bob Stroger - Bass; Sho Komiya - Bass; Billy Flynn - Guitar
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid
I was first exposed to jazz when I was tiny. My earliest memory is watching Ella Fitzgerald scat on a Christmas special when I was no older than four. Like many who are from tiny towns, my first extended exposure was listening to the high school jazz band when I was a kid. For some reason I remember an arrangement of Hey Jude they did. My first real exposure was Stan Kenton in the Smithville, MO high school gym. Kenton and the band director there were old friends, so he would play there from time to time. My dad took me without telling me where we were going and it was the only show he ever took me to. I remember that Bobby Shew played Send In Clowns and I damn near levitated I was so excited. The huge sound and amazing chords floored me. I believe I was 13 at the time. I immediately started practicing and taking lessons. Music became a passion and nearly a career. I also listened to Dick Wright's Jazz Show on KANU every night. I can't even start to explain what I learned lying in bed listening to Dick talk about jazz. I met him once when I was struggling to put together a solo for Joy Spring playing in a combo at KU. Stopped by his office and asked for recommendations. He showed up at my jazz ensemble rehearsal the next day with a tape with example solos. What a kind man Dick Wright was.
My advice to new listeners is to stop worrying about what music is important and focus on music you like. I spent quite a bit of my music life listening to important music I didn't necessarily like. Must say I have quite a bit more fun now listening to music that I deeply enjoy. Some of it is even important.
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