EMPIRE ROOTS BAND
Music From The Film Harlem Street Singer
Acoustic Sessions Recordings: ASC 220
Fabulous album of raw roots music with strong, driving guitar-led punch from New York master, Woody Mann, this release is a first – hopefully not a last – from a marvellous ad-hoc outfit who come together to re-interpret the music of legendary New York acoustic blues-gospel man, the Rev Gary Davis. There is also a scattering of originals in the stew.
Mann is largely responsible, as co-producer, for the recent/current documentary film based on the life of Davis, and the film and album title comes from one of the late Rev’s finest albums, Harlem Street Singer. Woody Mann is a former guitar student of Davis’s from the 1960s, a guy who certainly knows the man and his music better than most. He has also played and recorded with other huge former blues-men including Son House and Bukka White back in the day.
On this excellent release he is supported by Dave Keyes on piano (ex-Bo Diddley, Odetta, Gladys Knight, Lou Rawls); Brian Glassman, Bass (ex-Kenny Burrell, Lionel Hampton); and Bill Sims Jr, vocals. The overall result here sparkles with the very essence of Gary Davis and his positively enormous, undiminished contribution to blues and gospel music worldwide.