Jesse Ed Davis
Red Dirt Boogie: The Atco Recordings 1970-1972
Solo work by a forgotten blues-rock fret god.
The late Native American guitarist Jesse Ed Davis was one of the Oklahoma Mafia musicians who immigrated to LA in the ‘60s and brought dusty Okie blue-funk with ‘em. A mainstay in Taj Mahal’s original band and a first-call session man, he played with three Beatles (see Concert For Bangladesh) and Dylan, among others, and was a killer slide guitarist with a fatback tone picked slightly behind the beat. In this top-drawer collection from his first two solo albums, his singing has a similarly lazy, easy, greasy twang, accompanied by Clapton, Dr. John, Gram Parsons and fellow Okies Leon Russell and Jim Keltner. The songs are terrific: outtake Kiowa Teepee (Washita Love Child) segues from Indian chant into ripping rocker, while Golden Sun Goddess sounds presciently like Steely Dan! Michael Simmons