We all know Ms. Debbie Davies, her history and track record speak for itself. She is a living legend and a connect point to some of the Blues worlds greatest artists. As a young lady she rejected the stereotypes that were well laid out for women and pursued her guitar playing, and made it electric to kick it up a notch. Playing with Albert Collins as a member of the Ice breakers and the likes of John Mayall she has kept moving the artistic bar forward.
So with that being said how does one approach “After The Fall”, her 11th solo recording, on a new label (M.C. Records) ? I suggest we try to rid ourselves of any preconceived notions, a look at this work with brand new eyes. Let’s see her as she is, a ‘new’ artist with a new label, and see if it still holds up to our expectations, as each of her previous releases have done.
A new label, a new release, a new Debbie Davies . . .
Straight off the top “Don’t Put The Blame On Me” rocks out and sets the record straight as to what is going on and where the blame should be placed, and how to ‘man up’ in any given situation. Jeremy Baum adds keys and B3 that fill out the sound and set the stage for what is to come.
“After The Fall” is a life lesson for all of us. Ringing with truth and played out in a lean and mean manner Ms. Davies speaks volumes with her guitar work emphasizing the situation and offering sound advice and warnings we should all heed.
Working with Don Castagno, who shares the songwriting duties the picture is one of life’s lessons. The highs and lows, hope, despair loss friends and the sheer pleasure of being with friends and playing music. A nice turn of a phrase is Dons’ “True Blue Fool” which Debbie makes solid with heartfelt singing and excellent Blues guitar work.
With a Big Easy second line feel, Ms. Davis gives shout outs to all her friends in “Goin’ To A Gaggle”. It is fun to hear her signify all her artist friends, each having their own verse describing their unique talents. From the Duke and Duchess to Tab, Tommy & Cassie it is a fun romp that many LRBC cruisers can relate to, give it a listen.
A favorite of mine is “I’ll Feel Much Better When You Cry”. A well constructed song of getting along with the heartbreak but the need for one more thing that will make it all better, not retribution, but a strong dose of payback that, undoubtedly, will be served up cold. Some nasty guitar work emphasizes the poignancy and desire within the song. Ms. Davies has never sounded better.
This is a truly introspective release. We have Ms. Davies tribute to her dear friend Robin Rogers in “Down Home Girl”. A superb track is “Little Broken Wing” is a homage to her broken arm and all the care and trepidation that went along with the accident that resulted in her broken wing. The situation is also addressed in “Done Sold Everything” that addresses the economic situation, the lack of gigging with a broken wing, and trying to stay solvent by selling everything that wasn’t nailed to the floor. This track done to a great shuffle beat and featuring Dave Gross on second lead, who also produced the release.
So where does this leave us?
If this wasn’t Ms. Debbie Davies we would be clamoring about how this new artist has captured a moment of their life and painted a landscape in broad strokes of musical artistry, and how we would be painting a rising star on this persons biography. That fact remains true. What we have is a veteran Blues icon staying vital and getting better and better with each passing release. “After The Fall” has a depth to it that is all to rare in today’s music. It speaks truthfully of, as Ms. Etta James said, Life, Love and the Blues, and if you have a soul you will enjoy this release.
Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
photo: courtesy of artist/label