Review: Davis Coen – Blues Lights for Yours and Mine

Posted on: Friday, Jul 11, 2008

Davis Coen


Blues Lights for Yours and Mine (Soundview SP1003)

“Blues should be the soup with the bone still in it and should also be so bad that it makes you feel good.”
So says Charleston-based singer-guitarist Davis Coen and this, his fifth album, is indeed a musical stew, one spiced-up with various style and influences, all of which is served up with his distinctive lazy yet gritty vocals.
This enjoyable set was recorded in Carrboro, North Carolina, mastered at Ardent in Memphis but really wants to come from New Orleans. The Big Easy vibe underlines much here in what is an intoxicating filler-free mix, the true strength of this diversity, in fact, only fully appreciated after a few plays.
But Coen surely had Memphis in mind with the title-track opener, a self-penned organ-driven slice of poppy soul. It isn’t long though before we’re in bayou country with the swampy “Mambo Jumbo,”  another Coen original.  He revisits Crescent City for a reworking of Professor Longhair’s “Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand,”  Adrian Duke’s piano in the spotlight.
But all else showcases Coen’s far-ranging and accomplished guitar work. His fine bottlekneck technique highlights a refreshingly lively “Jack of Diamonds,” “Accelerated Blues,” surely penned as a Hooker tribute, has biting vocal in duet with spectral lead guitar.
“Since I Laid My Burden Down” is toe-tapping, hand-clapping effervescent gospel while the orginal bluegrass of Bob Willis’ “Don’t Let Your Deal Go Down” grows into a good-time country blues.
“CC Rider” and the glorious shuffle of the Coen original “Lordy Lord” highlight his acoustic prowess as he goes back to his roots.


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