Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Candyman Among Men

As indicated, we'll finish out the month with the second half of two essential heavyweight birthdays of American music lore.
Whereas yesterday with Duke we had the macro influence, writ large across everything that came in its wake, today we have more of a micro influence whose instrumental exploits fathered a million fingerpickers.
The only one of his mother's children that survived to adulthood -- even though he went blind along the way -- today's honoree found the guitar and Jesus in rapid succession in the 1920s.
His apocalyptic odes to faith and the coming End Times carried with them a picking style that could have only been described as revolutionary.
When the Sixties Folk and Blues booms happened, his largely-forgotten music came roaring back, with countless guitar luminaries citing him as the guy they were trying to copy.
I kind of look at he and Leadbelly as two sides of the same, 12-stringed coin, with Huddie covering the more secular territories of Earthly struggle for justice and the Reverend Gary Davis -- born this day wayyyyyy the heck back in 1896 -- more concerned with what's coming after this life.
He's been gone for almost 50 years, but he's in no danger of ever being forgotten as long as acoustic guitars, and those who'd play them, are looking for an approach.
To celebrate would would have been his 123rd birthday -- yes, this is the only archival music blog where you get a combined age of 243 over two days of posts -- we've got one of those crazy tapes.
This could be described as another one of those proto-bootlegs, where someone showed up with a reel-to-reel deck, plugged into the board -- this was when mixing desks were relatively new -- and captured a historical, legacy artist on fine form.
From what I understand, it took a lot of post-production to get the guitar and the vocal balanced, and the subsequent use of noise reduction meant that this tape thirsted for more high end.
I broke out the Sound Forge 11 Graphic EQ and Dynamics tools on it, and gave it just a slight push up top in the treble department.
This is 71 minutes of vintage RGD playing and storytelling, taped just a few years before he left us forever.
Reverend Gary Davis
Friends' Center
Seattle, Washington

01 introduction + RGD talk: I like yalls' little town
02 Old Time Religion
03 Let Us Get Together
04 I'm Gonna Sit Down On the Banks of the River
05 RGD talk: don't feel like it
06 Feel Like My Time Ain't Long
07 RGD talk: can't do nothing but cry
08 RGD teaches the next song to the audience
09 Come Down and See Me Sometime
10 RGD talk: I love to talk about women
11 She's Just Funny That Way
12 Make Believe Stunt
13 Cincinnati Flow Rag
14 RGD talk: no man lives by himself
15 I Heard the Angels Singing
16 Samson and Delilah

Total time: 1:11:15
Tracks 01-13 are from July 8, 1st set
Tracks 14, 15, 16 are from July 7, second set

Reverend Gary Davis - guitar, harmonica & vocals

mono soundboard reels recorded by Phil Williams and mastered by Easy Ed
high end slightly restored by EN, April 2019
I'll be right back in a couple of days to begin the new month with just the proper Mayday alerts, but make sure you get pasted to the birthday guy Mr. Reverend Gary Davis here as he whips his setlong sermon upon the unsuspecting Seattle faithful more than 50 years ago.--J.
4.30.1896 - 5.5.1972