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Derek Davis | Resonator Blues

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Blues: Slide Guitar Blues Rock: Southern Rock Moods: Mood: Upbeat
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Resonator Blues

by Derek Davis

“Resonator Blues” is not your typical blues album. Oh it’s bluesy all right! But with a taste of Americana, Folk, Hillbilly Twang, Southern Rock, Traditional and Jump Blues all neatly forged together by a master craftsman “Derek Davis”.
Genre: Blues: Slide Guitar Blues
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Resonator Blues
3:56 $0.99
2. Sweet Cream Cadillac
4:13 $0.99
3. Mississippi Mud
4:30 $0.99
4. Penitentiary Bound
3:18 $0.99
5. Jesus Set Me Free
3:56 $0.99
6. Red Hot Lover
3:41 $0.99
7. Death Letter
4:12 $0.99
8. Whiskey and Water
4:03 $0.99
9. Unconditional Love
2:48 $0.99
10. It Hurts Me Too
3:28 $0.99
11. Back in My Arms
3:09 $0.99
12. Prison Train
3:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
I’ve always been a fan of Derek Davis’ songwriting back to the early days of Babylon A.D. and those first two albums which were studded with gems, but it wasn’t until his first solo album ‘Re-Volt’ in 2012 that I first got in contact. I’ve interviewed him a number of times over the years and there’s always been this feeling that we share a love for a lot of the same music. I always thought that Derek had so much soul in his voice he could turn his hand to any gene.

We spoke in 2015 about how cool a Soul album would be and in 2017 he blew me away with ‘Revolutionary Soul’ and when he told me that next up for him was a Blues album I knew he’d do it justice. What I didn’t quite expect though was how much ground Derek would be covering. ‘Resonator Blues’ is an album that not only delves into the music most currently associate with the resonator guitar – Delta Blues with a lot of slide, but it also touches upon Americana, Folk, Southern Rock and even the Jump Blues that you hear on his latest singe ‘Sweet Cream Cadillac.’

Of course it’s Bottleneck-slide that comes across most in this collection, a record on which Davis has played all guitars and bass, and it’s therefore the Delta Blues that carries most flavour. Interestingly, in the 12 tracks there are just two covers – one from the King of the Delta Blues – Son House – ‘Death Letter’ and the other from the more eclectic Elmore James whose own music encompassed many styles just like this album and who was a great inspiration for both Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan amongst countless others. From James’ catalogue he chooses 1957’s ‘It Hurts Me Too’ which interestingly dates back even further to 1931, being based on Tampa Red’s “Things ‘Bout Comin’ My Way.” Red was of course another guitarist known for his bottleneck.

If you start with the two covers they tell you a lot about Davis’ love of the Blues and you feel that it’s on these two standards that he pours most of himself into. There’s a huge amount of love and pain in Davis’ voice when he reaches that wonderful chorus in ‘It Hurts Me Too’ but it’s also striking how timeless the song itself is, and you can feel everyone fro the Blues greats to The Stones and even Zeppelin in there. Son House’s ‘Death Letter’ is more elemental and stripped back, as of course the Delta Blues is, and both songs really set off the grit and melody in Davis voice. I picture this album in my heard starting with these two tracks and Davis taking them and throwing them into his pot before starting the journey for further ingredients that this album takes you on.

The album though starts with the title track ‘Resonator Blues,’ a song which is the heart of the album in a way: a fun, uptempo 50’s ride down the highway that swings like ‘Chicago’ with cool riffing keys and captivating guitar. If anything we then step forward a few years for the first single ‘Sweet Cream Cadillac’ an acoustic swinging Blues song which takes that Blues template and shows us where the Blues morphed into Rock and Roll. It’s music to dance to and Davis’ Silvertone acoustic adds just the right tone. The other song you may have already heard ‘Mississippi Mud’ drags you the other way through time back to The Delta where it all began, this is Delta Blues via Creedence, ragged raw and wonderful, and not a million miles away from hard rock. And that to me is part of the beauty of this record, it draws all the lines together, strand by strand.

‘Jesus Set Me Free’ is another thing entirely, a countrified Blues strum with a Southern note and real urgency that tells a tale of two brothers set against the conflict of the Civil War, that bursts into flames when the clapping starts, its earthy and essential played out on a 3 string Cigar Box Guitar and injected with simple percussion and a nice wail of harmonica. it’s Blues of another kind entirely. The languid and mournful but aced with sweet melody ‘Penitentiary Bound’ comes as a wonderful contrast that on one hand is a slice of Folk and Americana but with far more unchained melody under the sparse instrumentation that makes you wonder about artists like The Everly Brothers and those there at the birth of Rock and Roll. And on an album with already such a wide range of styes and approaches you get even more.

‘Red Hot Lover’ is a great slice of smoking Texan Blues that just struts and smoulders with some red hot lead and the blistering harmonica of Charlie Knight deepening the stew; whilst ‘Whiskey and Water’ strips it back again and plunges us into the second half of the album, with a song that if electrified you could imagine gracing Babylon A.D.’s second Bluesier offering. This is seriously good stuff and it’s not just Davis’ voice that reaches the heights – the guitar at times is sublime.

‘Unconditional Love,’ a kind of love song, brings it all together with voice and guitar and harp in harmony to deliver a song that’s timeless and wouldn’t have sounded out of place in any decade you could care to mention from the 60’s to the present day; and with ‘Back in My Arms’ that follows there’s almost a taste of the melodies bands like ELO captured ad managed to extract from basic Blues riffs with songs like ‘Don’t Bring Me Down.’ Davis’ treatment shows that you can have it both ways – you can respect where this wonderful music came from, but you can also trace where it went and take it further along without losing that elemental truth.

The album closes with ‘Prison Train’ almost the sister song to the opener, and which acts as a bookend and final word. I love the tones Derek has injected here and the hypnotic build of guitars, drums and harmonica gives it that railroad grind. It’s wonderful stuff.

This is a real Blues album. This is a record full of heart and Soul and yearning and emotion: an ideal antidote to the endless streams of soulless product that wash over us all these days. Real music for real people: Davis has done it again, producing a record that is a real joy to hear,and which makes you remember that life isn’t all digital and 24-7.

Resonator Blues | Sweet Cream Cadillac | Mississippi Mud | Jesus Set Me Free | Penitentiary Bound | Red Hot Lover | Whiskey And Water |Death Letter |Unconditional Love | Back In My Arms |It Hurts Me Too | Prison Train

Mark Rockpit
Website Editor,Head of Hard Rock and Blues
Photographer and interviewer


INTERVIEW: Derek Davis – Babylon A.D.
Babylon A.D. - Revelation Highway
ALBUM REVIEW: Babylon A.D. – Revelation Highway



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