FAME Review: Guy Davis - The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed with the Blues
Guy Davis - The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed with the Blues

The Adventures of Fishy Waters:
In Bed with the Blues

Guy Davis

Available from Guy Davis's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

With the opening song, Ramblin' All Over, a tale spun by a woebegone hobo and delivered with riveting authenticity by blues-to-the-bone Guy Davis, you know you're in for a hell of a narrative as this 2-CD audio play unfolds. Davis takes on the fictional Fishy Waters personna in order to tell tall tales, remind all and sundry of the history of African-Americans in America, speak to the case of the poor and fortune-bedamned, and entertain the living bejeezus out of each and every listener. In many ways, it's an East Side counterpart to Michael Jonathan's marvelous Walden: The Ballad of Thoreau (here), this time from the other side of the tracks and with a hell of a lot less money and privilege as well as a lot more humor.

Davis began the Fishy Waters story while an understudy in a Broadway production of the Zora Neale Hurston / Langston Hughes play Mulebone, afterwards heading into the title role in Robert Johnson: Trick the Devil. Listen to any song here, and I mean any song, and you'll know why Davis was chosen to embody the legendary troubled blues icon. Other times, you'll feel he's blood brother to Paul Robeson and Taj Mahal. In fact, Davis' art is so compelling that Ian Anderson asked him to tour with Jethro Tull and then personally joined the gent on-stage…every…single…night.

True to this sort of play format, there are numerous segments of spoken word ambiantalized with foley soundtracking and recessed music, mini-movies without pictures, some of them shaggy dogs with O. Henry climaxes. Ahhhh, but dig this: he plays sings, plays, and speaks everything in this ground-level one-man masterpiece of hybrid story-telling, and when the ridiculously uber-talented Mr. Davis picks up that harmonica, Lord-amighty! Plays guitar like a civilized demon too. This sort of art appears only every so often, and you'll be as often spellbound (The Lynching) as tickled (Fly Took Stocking), so I say: forget that movie you were going to rent, no matter what it was, and lay an ear here instead. It just might open you up to more than one world you never suspected existed.

Track List:

Disc 1Disc 2
  • Musical Intro
  • Ramblin' All Over
  • Railroad Story
  • What's It Like Bein' a Hobo
  • Miss Ripley's Catfish Stew
  • Candy Man
  • The Drunken Silkworm
  • Fly Took Stockings
  • Madison & the Pigs
  • The Farmer & his Eight Sons
  • Black Man's Blues
  • The Lynching
  • Black Man's Blues - Pt. 2
  • Black Man Dancing
  • Fast Runner
  • Georgia Rag
  • The One-Legged Grave Robber
  • Close-Out: Side One Music
  • The Story of Fishy Waters / Nobobody Knows the Trouble on my Mind
  • Teacup of Salt
  • Juno Dies / Nobobody Knows the Trouble on my Mind
  • Fishy Leaves Home
  • Walkin' Blues
  • Fishy Meeets Hobos
  • Good Liquor's Gonna Carry Me Down
  • Meeting Crazy Cat / Going to Nashville
  • Two Drunk Hobos
  • Tchula Buck by Campfire
  • Watch Over Me
  • Hobos Wake Up and Catch Train
  • Closing Tune
All songs written by Guy Davis except
Candy Man (Rev. Gary Davis), Georgia Rag (Willie McTell),
Walking Blues (Robert Johnson), and Good Liquor Gonna Carry Me Down (Bill Broonzy).

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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