Debbie Davies
I Got That Feeling
Blind Pig 5039
One glance at the cover of I Got That Feeling should clue fans in: This is a new-look Debbie Davies. Listen to this side-by-side with 1994's Loose Tonight or her 1993 debut Picture This, and the musical change is evident. I Got That Feeling is more diverse, softer, more vulnerable, less predictable and less guitar-centric than its predecessors.

Whether that's good news for the listener may depend on how much you dug Davies' for her wailin' Stratocaster. It's still present, but in smaller doses and somewhat more restrained. The emphasis here is more on the songs themselves, which in the past were often little more than musical shells (how many times can you milk that I-V-flatted VII-I lick, anyway?). Included are three slow-dance ballads, including a duet with Tab Benoit on "Let the Heartaches Begin," Lenny McDaniel's "Tired Angels" and Jerry Williams' "I Could Get Used to This." The effect is more spiritual than raucous, but she's pretty convincing and not lacking at all for the vocal nuance to pull it off.

Not that I Got That Feeling is an entirely mellow affair. For example, the title cut -- the funky, one-chord stomp written by Davies' former employer and musical mentor, Albert Collins -- features fellow Collins alumnus Coco Montoya in a rousing duet, complete with give-and-take guitar solos (Albert's licks live!).

There are a couple tunes I could do without. The Davies-penned "Howlin' at the Moon" features a catchy-as-hell guitar riff spoiled by lyrics that generically bemoan racism, discrimination, homelessness, children's issues, AIDS and more. That's a lot to tackle in four minutes and 21 seconds! "Watch Your Step," by contrast, is musically uninteresting, resembling too strongly the Allman Brothers' version of "One Way Out" with a New Orleans feel.

But those cuts are outweighed by tunes such as the minor-keyed Davies composition "Lucky in Love," which breaks out of a solemn, slow blues intro to reveal intriguing rhythm changes supporting lyrics that sound real. The song provides something of a metaphor for I Got That Feeling, which documents a big step in Davies' move from blues guitarist/singer to recording artist. It's a step that makes her more her own woman, musically speaking, if perhaps less purely a blues musician. Don't knock it 'til you've tried it.

-- Bryan Powell

This page and all contents are © 1997 by BLUES ACCESS,
Boulder, CO, USA.