Guy Davis plays tracks from The Kokomo Kidd and talks about his family’s connection to the blues, & playing Robert Johnson and Sonny Terry on stage.
On this week’s episode, I’ve got new music from Nick Dittmeier, Stacie Collins, the Electric Rad Band, and the Black Lillies. I’ve also got more tracks from the Drive By Truckers, Josh Ritter, The Nouveaux Honkies, and Pete Berwick.
Americana Music Show Playlist #499
- Can't Keep My Feet / Doug Strahan / Strahan & The Good Neighbors / 03:22
- Rhythm of the Train / Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters / Midwest Heart/Southern Blues / 03:11
- This Dog's Gonna Hunt / Clark Paterson / The Final Tradition / 02:48
- Lost And Found / Stacie Collins / Roll The Dice / 03:25
- Charleston Girl / Electric Rag Band / My Side / 02:30
- No One Else but Lonely / Max Stalling / Banquet / 03:33
- Ooby Dooby / Roy Orbison / Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll [Disc 1] / 02:12
- Mercy / The Black Lillies / Hard to Please / 04:16
- Shinebender / Dan Whitaker & The Shinebenders / Shinebender / 03:10
- *** Guy Davis interview & tracks from Kokomo Kidd ***
- Let The Mystery Be / The Lucky Sisters / So Lucky / 03:00
- I Drove Her Out of My Mind / Johnny Cash / Out Among The Stars / 03:01
- The Outlaw / Josh Gray / Josh Gray / 03:27
- The Legend of Tyler Doohan / Pete Berwick / The Legend of Tyler Doohan / 02:52
- Saturday Nite Gal / Lew Card / Follow Me Down / 02:53
- Perdido / Pete Lanctot And The Stray Dogs / No Sign Of Love Or Farewell / 03:45
- Where the Night Goes / Josh Ritter / Sermon on the Rocks / 03:50
- Life Ain't Easy / The Nouveaux Honkies / Blues For Country / 03:40
- Laugh Till We Cry / Lori Yates / Sweetheart Of The Valley / 03:49
- When the Pin Hits the Shell / Drive-By Truckers / It's Great To Be Alive! / 03:57
- Restless Heart / Marc Stone / Poison & Medicine / 04:40
- Sit Down, Baby / Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin / Lost Time / 04:24
- Fury / Los Straitjackets / Deke Dickerson Sings The Great Instrumental Hits / 01:54
- It Takes Time / Webb Wilder / Mississippi Moderne / 04:02
- Mysterious / Jim Lauderdale / Soul Searching: Vol. 1, Memphis / 01:54
- Warm Wind / The Grascals / And Then There's This... / 02:48
About Guy Davis
Guy Davis interview recap
- Calvin asks Guy Davis about his early years and his exposure to music in the New York City Area. Guy Davis grew up near New York City and he recalls his parents taking him into the city to see musicals on Broadway and in various theaters. He says he especially remembers seeing South Pacific and The Music Man and Carrousel. He says he remembers how emotional the music made him feel. He says he remembers getting to meet jazz drummer Max Roach and jazz singer Abbey Lincoln as a child.
- Calvin asks Guy Davis when he started getting interested in folk and blues music. He says when he was 8 years old, he went to a summer camp run by Pete Seeger’s brother. The camp was in Vermont and he went there for five years. He says that’s when he was introduced to the five string banjo. He says he fell in love with the five string banjo immediately.
- Calvin asks Guy Davis when he first started playing in public. He says that while he was still in grade school he was so enthusiastic about playing the banjo he signed up for a school show and sang “I’m On My Way And I Won’t Be Back.”
- Guy Davis sets up the title track from The Kokomo Kidd. He says it’s about a black man in the 1800s and he used to deliver coal to The White House in Washington, D.C, right around the corner from the East Wing. Not only did he put coal down the chute, he delivered bottles of alcohol down the chute as well. powdered substances like cocaine. And sometimes he would even help sneak women into the White House. And when he became too old to work, his son took over as the new Kokomo Kidd. This was during Prohibition. And the son would deliver the same things And guy Davis says the age continues even up to today in the age of the internet.
- Calvin plays the title track from The Kokomo Kidd by Guy Davis.
- Calvin asks Guy Davis if he has to adapt the arrangements for the blues songs he covers to accommodate the banjo. He says that he has a very intuitive approach to his arrangements. He says that the blues most people are familiar with are the one man, one guitar blues, The old acoustic blues Robert Johnson style. But in the early days of the blues. He said in the early days there was a sound you could get that was near Blind Lemon Jefferson or Lead Belly. Guy Davis says but you could also get a sound that was more “city-fied.” and they were still playing banjos, as well as having tubas and bull fiddles and horns. In the earliest days of jazz. It was an early form of blues but almost unrecognizable from what we know of as the blues today. Guy Davis says he wanted to record in such a way that the banjo stood out and didn’t interfere with any other instrument.
- Guy Davis sets up “Takin’ Just A Little Bit Of TIme.” He says it has to do with getting out of the rat race mentality and not being able to He says people have to learn to get out of that. Learn how to get someplace where you can see some trees and sky and water. People need to take off their shoes and feel their feet on the grass. Or go to the river and squish your toes in the mud. And he says if you can’t physically do that, you have to learn to go their inwardly.
- Calvin plays “Takin’ Just A Little Bit Of Time” from Kokomo Kidd by Guy Davis.
- Calvin asks Guy Davis about his favorite get-aways. He says that he travels so much that form him getting away is hanging out at home, maybe seeing a show, or cooking at home.
- Guy Davis sets up “Like Sonny Did.” He says that the song is about Sonny Terry, who is one of Guy Davis’ favorite harmonica players. He was based in Durham. He used to play outside of the tobacco warehouses during the shift worker’s breaks. He played harmonica like no one else. Guy Davis says Sonny Terry’s harmonica playing was “full of whoopin’ and hollerin’ and fox chasin’ and callin and barkin’ while he was playing harmonica.” Guy Davis says there were other blues players doing something similar, but Sonny Terry’s sound was something special. Guy Davis tells a story about ow in 1947, Pete Seegar recommended Sonny Terry for a part in a show called. Finian’s Rainbow. The show producers auditioned him and hired him on the spot. In 2009, there was a revival of the show and Guy Davis got to play the same part that Sonny Terry did.
- Calvin plays “Like Sonny Did” from The Kokomo Kidd by Guy Davis.
- Guy Davis tells the story of getting to play Robert Johnson..Trick The Devil. It’s a fictional account of the last day of Robert Johnson’s life. He goes down to a juke joint. He meets the woman who runs the juke joint. And he has a fling with her the day her husband comes home. They get into a confrontation and Robert Johnson ends up getting poisoned. But as he is dying, Robert Johnson gets to tell the story of exactly what happened the night he went down to the crossroads. The show was written by Bil Harris and Guy Davis says the show made him feel very connected to the blues. He says the Robert Johnson monologues connect the blues back to slavery. Guy Davis says the monologue is not only deep and heavy, it’s funny at times. Guy Davis says that monologue made the blues even more personal for him. Guy Davis says he has people in his family, long since passed away who grew up in slavery. He says there are stories in his family about being chased by the Ku Klux Klan. He says both of his grandfathers did work related to railroads and they had a deep connection to the blues.
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