Say No to the Devil

Due to summer touring commitments, I have been a little lax with my monthly CD purchase and commentary. Not wishing to put off things any longer, this month's CD purchase is "Say No to the Devil" by the Reverend Gary Davis.

The Reverend Gary Davis was a blind acoustic guitar bluesman
and true to his title, all his songs tend to have gospel leanings. He had an unusual picking style which seems to be an amalgam of ragtime, chord melody and other fingerstyle playing. On this record it is just him with a gruff no nonsense vocal style accompanied by 6 and 12 string guitar. On two tracks he just sings and plays a more than competent blues harp. Although the instrumentation is the same throughout, the mastery Davis has of is instrument makes for an interesting and mostly upbeat and atmospheric record. This 1961 recording is crystal clear with what sounds to be a great remastering job done in 1990 for CD.

Although probably not a household name, Reverend Gary Davis is well respected by blues afficionados and guitarists who study their art
as being one of the key figures in this genre in the second half of the 20th century.

I'm finding myself in the last couple of years drawn to the purest form of genre recordings (meaning the rawest blues and folk, the earliest rock and roll etc) and this one certainly fits nicely into that pigeon hole.

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