Review: David Vest – Roadhouse Revelation

Posted on: Tuesday, Sep 30, 2014


David Vest – Roadhouse Revelation

(Cordova Bay Records: CBR-1182)

David was born in the year 1943e; he grew up in Birmingham close to Tuxedo Junction although he resides now in Victoria British Columbia, Canada, although, he was actually born in the town of Huntsville, Alabama. He started to play professionally at the age of 14 and is still pounding and caressing the ivories today. He learnt his trade in the rough and tumble roadhouses and honky-tonks of The Gulf Coast and when he opened for Roy Orbison on New Year’s Day in 1962 he was already the consummate professional.

During David’s long and very interesting career he has played with such seminal artists as Jerry Woodard and the Esquires, of whom some would later become integral members of the Muscle Shoals Swampers also, he has backed Big Joe Turner, Ace Cannon and Bill Black’s Combo. He widened his repertoire by working with country artists; Faron Young (who also threatened to murder him) and Red Foley, at that time he wrote some of Tammy Wynette’s first record releases.

Over the years David has continued to work with a good number of great Texas piano legends like Big Walter The Thunderbird, Katie Webster and Floyd Dixon. He has toured with Jimmy T99 Nelson and Miss Lavelle White, jammed with Arnett Cobb, Milt Larkin, Jimmy Ford and Straight No Chaser in Houston.

Between the years 2002-2006, he worked as co-leader of the (late) Paul deLay Band, since then he has pursued a solo career.

For this album of eleven numbers David; vocals and piano, has kept the line-up simple but, oh, so effective with co-producer Gary Kendall on bass, Teddy Leonard; guitar and Mike Fitzpatrick on drums and percussion, who are The Willing Victims.

“Freight Train Rolling”, kicks off this journey with a steady to impulsive Memphis drum shuffle while the piano and guitar fiercely fight and entice each other to steamroller this wonderful energy infused toe-tapper along. The energy levels are maintained on “Santa Fe Steamer”, a spectacularly invigorating ivory rattling  boogie woogie homage to Albert Ammons, Meade Lux Lewis, James P. Johnson and Fats Waller, if this doesn’t  get you slippin’n’slidin’ on the carpet then nothing will.

The mood becomes darker and the music is more solemn on “That Happened to Me”, where personal loss and tragedy is re-told in a slow rolling piano blues the telling sharp sparse guitar passages more than accentuate David’s crisp, dramatic and emotion evoking ivory probing. Whilst, “Pretty Things For Anne”, is a beautiful gossamer light aurally delightful and gentle short piece that has David caressing the ivories mellowing the heart of the most hardened soul. “Streetcar”, is a very charming Harry Nilsson / Randy Newman type turn of the century parlour blues ballad where gentleness and grace reign in this mellow and disarming tale of late summer love and streetcars (aka trams in the U.K.).

The moreish “Stand Your Ground”, is a  crunchy slow building rocker built around a growling and snarling ‘Stones’ guitar passage that is underpinned by browbeating drumwork, while the piano comes in and out with vamping red hot ivories, that steamroller up and down.

This is a great album from a great old rocker!




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