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Cedell Davis: Feel Like Doin’ Somebody Wrong (Fat Possum/Epitaph 80322-2)


Those of us who’ve - genuinely - investigated the stranger byways of the recorded musics of the 20s - and of the late 40s-early 50s (not to mention the field recordings gathered by generations of dedicated scholars) - all-too-justifiably bemoan the paucity of bizarre one-offs turned-up by “blues” labels in more recent times. Since, far too often, they’ve plumped for basically-generic crowd-pleasers...and ignored more seriously individualistic talents as a consequence.

Because...to some of us, figures like King Solomon Hill, Lane Hardin, Wright Holmes or Robert Pete Williams are kings - whilst their more “accessible” peers are mere easy listening. But, in this company, Cedell Davis can stand tall (polio notwithstanding) - and for this, perhaps, in particular, Fat Possum is to be praised, far above all other contemporary “blues” labels...

Cause Cedell is a one-off.

His sour-as-green-persimmon lap slide - played w/a tableknife - has the kind of willful grace that wider audiences are, only now, just beginning to grasp. With a band, he can offer us a nigh-on “accessible” southern jump blues...that only betrays its uncanny individualism in snatches - a grassroots “surrealist” Pat Hare, if you will...

But solo...hell, solo, the man almost approximates some unholy melding of no-wave tonality and delta grunt, that simultaneously harks back to the rawest of field recordings...as well as reaching forward to some private take on the microtonal blues “language” that almost makes me sick...

Cause - as (the great) Papa Lord God would say - “this is the shit”

In this context, his - surprisingly - “true” cover of “Boogie Chillen No.2” (w/some help from the great R.L. Burnside) genuinely makes sense, albeit John Lee’s tonality was far less individualistic (but the reverse is clearly true of his rhythmic sense). Because...to quote Robert Palmer’s marvelous liner notes to this, Cedell’s first ever album, “I am in awe of that mind”

And, you will be too... Just try his solo take on the immortal “Green Onions”...if you need convincing. Because Cedell’s take on blues microtonality is uniquely original, yet entirely “right”...once you’ve entered his world. And, lest you think I’m exaggerating, Ornette Coleman (no less) is a long-term fan...and has jammed w/him on numerous occasions (albeit, sadly, w/no issued recordings to date)...

so...please - just let this twisted gutbucket into your room...




John Henry Calvinist