Live at Newport

Live at Newport

by Rev. Gary Davis


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Live at Newport

Long before Christian rockers were using so-called "Devil's music" to promote a religious message, the Rev. Gary Davis demonstrated that acoustic blues and folk didn't have to be about matters of the flesh. Davis, a fascinating cult figure, was as authentic a blues/folk singer as Leadbelly, but he was also a Baptist minister -- and he managed to bring Christian-oriented lyrics to people who weren't necessarily religious. Davis didn't believe in preaching to the choir exclusively; blues and folk venues often became his "pulpit." This reissue focuses on Davis' appearance at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival; by that time, he was 69, and many of the people who were attending his live performances weren't even born when he made his first recordings in 1935. Live at Newport isn't for gospel purists any more than it is for blues purists. Most of the performances (which find Davis accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and harp) are acoustic folk rather than actual 12-bar blues, and even though Davis picks a lot of songs that reflect his Christian beliefs (including "I've Done All My Singing for My Lord," "Twelve Gates to the City," and "Samson and Delilah"), he doesn't exclude secular material altogether. Eleven of the CD's 13 tracks originally appeared on Davis' old At Newport LP of 1967, although collectors will be glad to know that "Get Along Cindy" (a humorous vocal duet with Barry Kornfeld) and the instrumental "Soldiers Drill" are previously unreleased bonus tracks. Live at Newport is a highly soulful and rewarding document of Davis' late period.

Product Details

Release Date: 03/13/2001
Label: Vanguard Records
UPC: 0015707958820
catalogNumber: 79588
Rank: 178068

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