Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train
Guy Davis is a blues musician and an actor. Davis made his Broadway debut in 1991 in the musical “Mulebone” featuring the music of Taj Mahal. He also performed in 1993’s “Robert Johnson Trick The Devil” where he played Johnson; as a direct result he became the recipient of the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping The Blues Alive Award” that same year.
Davis has seventeen previous recordings; the last being 2015’s “Kokomo Kidd” also on M.C. Records. Davis has also received twenty Blues Music Award nominations. Among Davis’ influences are Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. In 2009 Davis, the actor, was cast as Sunny is the Broadway revival of the musical “Finian’s Rainbow” a part that Terry originated in 1947.
Fabrizio Poggi is a singer and harmonica player from Voghera, Italy. He has twenty recordings of his own including 2013’s “Juba Dance”, a previous collaboration with Davis, from which he also received a Blues Music Award nomination. He is also the recipient of the Hohner Harmonica Lifetime Award.
Brownie McGhee recorded his first album on Folkways Records in 1951. He was a singer and guitarist who paired up with harmonica player Sonny Terry in 1955. Performing as a duo their music is referred to as Piedmont Blues. Davis states they were “musicians whose work will not be surpassed, let alone improved on”. Davis states this recording is to pay homage to them.
The title track “Sonny & Brownie’s Last Train” was written by Davis. All the other songs are from the repertoire of Terry and McGhee. Included are McGhee’s “Evil Hearted Me”; Terry’s “Hooray, Hooray These Women Are Killing Me”, and their song “Walk On”. Credited as traditional are “Shortnin’ Bread”, “Take This Hammer”, “Step It Up & Go” and the “Midnight Special”. There are also songs by Robert Pete Williams, Big Bill Broonzy, Big Joe Williams, St. Louis Jimmy Oden, and Elizabeth Cotton.
The album was recorded in Italy and produced by Poggi. Just like with those old Folkways Recordings there is a booklet folded up that comes with lyrics and credits. This is a highly recommended collector’s item.
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