Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Holdin' Court reviewed by Rick Davis

Holdin' Court
Debbie Davies
Little Dipper Records
11 Tracks

At an early age, Debbie Davies was constantly exposed to music growing up with parents who were professional musicians. At the age of 12, Debbie was drawn to the blues after listening to her father's Ray Charles record collection. It was then that she was attracted the roots music and to the guitar as her form of musical expression. After listening to British blues-rock bands, particularly the electric guitar of Eric Clapton with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, she decided to pursue her passion to play the blues. Davies began her career playing in blues and rock ‘n roll bands in the San Francisco Bay area before she returned to Los Angeles in 1984, where she got a lead spot in the all-female band Maggie Mayall and the Cadillacs led by the wife of British blues legend John Mayall. After touring with Albert Collins in 1988, and gaining several years of valuable experience on the road, she came out with her debut release, "Picture This" on Blind Pig Records which featured Collins on the tune “I Wonder Why”. Since then, she has soloed or performed with other artists on 12 albums. Her twelfth and latest cd is the long awaited instrumental cd titled "Holdin' Court". After 26 years of perfecting her craft as a leading contemporary blues guitar artist, and numerous requests from her fans, she has blended the guitar styles of some her influences like Albert Collins, Freddie King, and Kenny Burrell into a showcase of 11 solo instrumental tracks.

She opens along with her band featuring Casandra Faulconer on bass, Don Castagno on drums and conga, and Paul Opalach on organ, guitar, and bass with a funky Duke Robillard tune "Fishnet"...and what and opening it is! Hold on to your chair and turn up the sound! How can this get any better? She rips into her version of Bill Dogget's dance hall prototype "Honky Tonk" with "Down At The Honky Shack". "Tryin' To Keep It Real" starts with a great funky intro and transitions into one of the best blues tunes on the cd. "Okie Dokie Stomp" takes you on a jump, jive 'n' swing guitar revival done Davies' style. "Percolatin", "So What", and Atras De Tus Ojos" are the three instrumentals recaptured from her earlier albums. "So What" captures that Albert Collins influence that is distinctive in Debbie's style. Her influence from the legendary Kenny Burrell can be heard in "Atras De Tus Ojos". The title track "Holdin' Court" parallels blues guitar giant Ronnie Earl. Davies is superb bending notes on Earl Hooker's tune "I wonder Why". She keeps it funky using guitar wah-wah on Albert Collins' "If You Love Me Like You Say". The cd concludes with a surf instrumental "Zoom-in" reminiscence of 60s surf music of the Ventures.

"Holdin' Court" is one of those cds you won't be able to stop playing over and over again! It is a great addition to everyone's blues collection. Thanks for 26 years of incredible blues!

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