has quite a pedigree. Son of actors Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee, student
of folk singer Pete Seeger, Davis had a good start in life, one that he
has built on over the years. Not only has he worked extensively as an
actor (Finians Rainbow on Broadway) but he has won many plaudits
as a singer/musician (Keeping the Blues Alive award in 1999).
Now, in his second release for M.C. Records, Davis shows off his many
gifts on KOKOMO KIDD, an album that he considers a new beginning for himself.
Its the first time I produced myself, he explained.
What Im showing is a side of me thats deep inside. Its
needing air and light, and here it comes!
tune gets the album off to an hilarious and scandalous start: its
the ballad of an old black dude who, in Prohibition times, used to deliver
bootleg liquor to the White House by horse and buggy. And whats
more hes still going strong today, he boasts. Ive calmed
all of Washingtons fears, kept the Supreme Court high for years.
He signs off with a comic flourish: I got a meeting at three...got
to bring coke to the GOP.
Twelve more tunes follow, seven of which are Davis originals, including
I Wish I Hadnt Stayed Away So Long, the touching lament of a bluesman
who now regrets having spent more time on the road than with his family.
Cant count the times Ive stole away and cried.
There are also covers of songs by Dylan (Lay Lady Lay), Willie Dixon (Little
Red Rooster) and Donovan (Wear Your Love Like Heaven). On each and every
track Davis gives his all, singing and playing up a storm (six and twelve-string
guitars, banjo, harmonica, keyboards, percussion). His band-mates kick
out the stops as well, including Professor Louie on piano and organ, Gary
Burke, drums, Mark Murphy, acoustic bass and cello. Such guest stars Charlie
Musselwhite (harmonica) and Ben Jaffe (tuba) also help make KOKOMO KIDD
the remarkable album it is.