CD Reviews for 02/19/09 – Guy Davis, Jorma Kaukonen

Compact Capsules
by Dan Ferguson

Guy Davis
Sweetheart Like You
Red House Records RHR-CD-211

Since debuting in 1995, bluesman Guy Davis has been all about consistency, consistently good records, that is. A highly personal affair, Sweetheart Like You is no exception, but at the same time a bit of a departure. The slight change of direction begins right out of the gates with Davis’s effective reworking of Bob Dylan’s “Sweetheart Like You” which also doubles as the title track. The contemporary flare, as well as Davis’s songwriting chops, is also on display on a series of soulful original tunes the highlight of which is “Words to My Mama’s Song” inspired by his mom. A Guy Davis album would also not be complete without dips into the catalogues of blues legends. Covers of songs from the likes of Lead Belly (“Follow Me Down”), Muddy Waters (“Can’t Be Satisfied”), Son House (“Down South Blues”), Willie Dixon (“Hoochie Coochie Man”), and Big Joe Williams (“Baby Please Don’t Go”) round out Sweetheart Like You with Davis fingerpicking acoustic blues guitar and coloring each with his rich and roughhewn voice.

Jorma Kaukonen
River of Time
Red House Records RHR-CD-217

Once a Hot Tuna/Jorma fan, always a Hot Tuna/Jorma fan? If so, Mr. Kaukonen’s River of Time is bound to satisfy. In the midst of a blossoming latter years career as solo artist, Kaukonen headed to Woodstock and the studio of Levon Helm for this latest. No doubt it, along with blend of some fine originals and choice covers (dig the Merle Haggard and Grateful Dead covers!), all comes together to give River of Time its warm, homespun feel and all buoyed by Kaukonen’s trademark picking on guitar and a voice that hasn’t lost a thing. Visit

(Dan Ferguson is a free-lance music writer and host of The Boudin Barndance, broadcast Thursday nights from 6 – 9 pm on WRIU-FM 90.3. He lives in Peace Dale and can be reached at [email protected].)