Tryin’ To Get Home
Andy Cohen grew up in a household where his parents listened to a lot of Dixieland Jazz. Cohen got hooked on the finger-style guitar stylings of the Reverend Gary Davis when he was only sixteen. Now considered a blues-roots music historian he has devoted his life to studying and performing the traditional blues of Davis, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Leadbelly, Big Bill Broonzy, Brownie McGhee, Skip James, Bukka White, and others. Some of those Cohen has toured with include Davis; Piedmont guitarist John Jackson; the trio of Martin, Bogan and Armstrong; and Honeyboy Edwards. Cohen has helped to support his mentors and has also educated younger players.
Cohrn has more than a dozen albums including the 1997 tribute “Oh Glory, Hiw Happy I Am : The Sacred Songs of Rev, Gary Davis”. He is also a master of the dolceola and takes one wherever he goes; described as a miniature piano he strikes the keys with a wooden mallet.
On “Tryin’ To Get Home” Cohen plays solo. Twelve finger pickin’ classics are performed including two Rev. Gary Davis songs “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” first recorded in 1960, and the title track; an infectious vocal on his version of Blind Boy Fuller’s “Step It Up and Go” from 1940, Charlie Patton’s “Pea Vine Blues” dating back to 1930, Dave Van Ronk’s “Bad Dream Blues”, Sonny Terry’s “One Monkey Don’t Stop The Show”, Mississippi John Hurt’s “Talkin’ Casey”, Blind Blake’s “West Coast Blues” from 1926, and “I Ain’t Gonna Give You None of My Jelly Roll” recorded by Sidney Bechet And His New Orleans Feetwarmers in 1965. Five Cohen originals are also featured including my favorite “Puffin’ That Stuff”; and three instrumentals, the “Reverend Gary Rag”, the “Earwig Stomp”, and the “Louis Jay Meyers Memorial Stomp” with Cohen switching to piano.
The liner notes include the songs origination and from whom Cohen learned it. Also released at the same time, is a children’s album featuring him with Moira Meltzer-Cohen called “Small But Mighty: Songs for Growing People”. “The Country Blues” magazine says “the boy can play. There are few people around today who had a chance to pick it all up from the old generations, get this good at it and continue to cherish and preserve the old traditions.” Cohen is all about our living blues tradition.