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.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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