James Davis makes a powerful comeback

Raised on American blues, James “Boo Boo” Davis is one of the remaining few musicians who learned to sing and play the blues first-hand while picking cotton in the Mississippi Delta. At 71 years of age, we still haven’t seen the last of Boo Boo Davis.

Black and Tan Records dug up this lesser known bluesman and asked him to record a couple of his songs with only a harmonica and his voice.

Using a high-tech magic program called BLu ACiD, guitars, drums and other instruments were added to each of the tracks Davis sang, turning them from hardcore blues to stomping beats that stay centered around the musician’s powerful, bellowing voice.

The added instruments bring in different types of music to Davis’s John Lee Hooker-esque style. The opening song, “Sorry Baby,” holds strong elements of rock, others seem a little jazzy, some are more electronic and some even have a little hip-hop in them. This strangely modernized form of the blues works surprisingly well. The enticing mixture keeps you listening because every song has several sides to it.

Though some tracks go on for a little too long, the album as a whole is powerful. A few songs drag out a certain riff or beat that slows the album into a bit of lull, but the rhythm of the tracklist keeps going.

The piercing harmonica, the rich, deep voice and the backbeat all bring a fitting sense of old with the new. Blues, a style of music seemingly lost in the newest generation, makes its comeback into the modern world in “What Kind of Shit Is This?”

Grade: A


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