“Derek Davis’ Resonator Blues may be his third solo release, but it sounds like a musical artist reaching his full maturity. It makes for a glorious listen.
You’d never know Derek Davis hails from the sunny climes of Oakland, California just from listening to his latest solo album Resonator Blues. His voice sounds drenched in the Deep South, no affected twang burdening his vocals, but instead the sediment shifting soulfulness at the heart of his voice, his ability to modulate through an array of emotions without ever lapsing into self-indulgence, and the strong whiff of the storyteller coming across in the way he twists lines to such great affect. There isn’t a single one of the twelve songs on this release that Davis doesn’t show up for, in full, and inhabit with every ounce of his artistic imagination and power.
Passion is key as well. The passion leaps out at you from the first cut. “Resonator Blues” shows, if nothing else, that Davis has immersed himself in blues music and is capable of leaving his own stamp on its traditional sound. Too many artists who turn their hand to the blues hit cookie cutter marks and fail to invest their attempts at the music with any real personality or originality. Instead, Derek Davis pulls off quite a balancing act between referencing the long past of blues music while still pumping it full of his character. You hear that as well on the second track “Sweet Cream Cadillac” – it might recall, for some, old time rock music, but it is full of blues as well and Davis puts all of himself into refashioning his influences on this song into something familiar, yet uniquely his own.
“Mississippi Mud” is the latest single from the album and boils with deep emotion and authenticity; it will likely be one of his marquee live numbers going forward from here. He utilizes dynamics in a way few songs on the release match and the drumming has some propulsive fills, but otherwise swings like a mother from the first and make the track really move. The instrumental breaks on this album provide some of its tastiest moments and “Red Hot Lover” rates high with such moments and the pairing of Davis’ guitar and harmonica gives the song a lot of punch. The uptempo clip of the track makes it hit even harder as well.
“Death Letter” and “Whiskey and Water” are highlights on the release as well. The first cut is a ferocious take on a song popularized by blues legend Son House, but Davis avoids being too reverential and, instead, tries to make this song his own and succeeds. Harmonica returns on the second song “Whiskey and Water” and the bloodshot eyes and white knuckle energy he brings to the performance sears itself into listener’s memory lingers long after the last note fades out. The album’s final tune, “Prison Train”, moves from an acoustic blues during the first part of the tune into a final shot of pure electric blues that underlines all of the album’s strengths without repeating itself. Derek Davis’ Resonator Blues may be his third solo release, but it sounds like a musical artist reaching his full maturity. It makes for a glorious listen.
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- Sebastian Cole
Resonator Blues boils over with passion and finesse alike – this third solo release from Derek Davis is, arguably, his finest moment yet.
The fiery slide guitar licks and unfettered rhythm section playing driving the train on Resonator Blues’ title song makes it clear Derek Davis’ third solo release is his strongest yet. Guitarist and songwriter in the longstanding hard rock band Babylon A.D., Davis began recording solo albums of his own a few years ago and this release is the wallop-packing successor to 2017’s Revolutionary Soul. Davis geared the previous release in a funk/soul direction, but Resonator Blues, as its title indicates, is a headlong dive into bluer waters than before and Davis fully immerses himself in the sound and color underlying this musical style. The dozen songs included on the release are largely covers but he owns them with distinctive flair that creates a place in their tradition for this Oakland, California native.
Davis wisely mixes things up on the album and avoids churning out one screaming electric song after another. A signal of his confidence comes with him leading the album off with its title track. There’s a strong streak of slide guitar rolling through the tune, an instrument that Davis arguably leans on too much despite being a standard in the genre, but some songs change things up. The irrepressible roll of “Resonator Blues” fully kicks in following a guitar flourish and generates immediate energy. His vocals on songs like this remind me some of Leslie West – Davis varies his singing approach with some of the album’s quieter numbers, but you can’t help but enjoy the go for broke attitude he brings to many of these songs.
“Mississippi Mud” definitely invokes Delta humidity with its spartan groove and Davis’ guitar chops once again stand out. This is a performer steeped in the blues and he dispatches these sorts of cuts with convincing force. The lyrics for these songs, including “Mississippi Mud”, won’t be mistaken for Bob Dylan, but they are serviceable and definitely written with tradition in mind. You can’t help but appreciate the added bite Davis brings to those words. “Penitentiary Bound” eschews the slide guitar theatrics and Davis opts for more restrained vocal approach, though he can’t resist unleashing his full-throated yowl late in the track. It’s the album’s first outright acoustic song and quite successful.
The brisk uptempo pace of “Red Hot Lover” includes some electric slide, but it doesn’t obscure the other instruments, particularly the harmonica included on this track. The harp and guitar playing trade one volley after another and Davis nails the vocal with just enough abandon to keep listeners on the edge of their seat. “Death Letter” is a longtime blues classic, but Davis doesn’t treat the track like a butterfly pinned under glass. Instead, he attacks the song as if he wrote it himself, but there’s likewise a healthy amount of respect for tradition coming through.“Unconditional Love” has one of the best lyrics on the release and Davis emotes with expert skill.
It’s likely one of the sleeper gems included on the album and shouldn’t escape your attention. “It Hurts Me Too”, like the earlier “Death Letter”, is a long recognized classic in the genre that Davis turns into a pained, guitar blazing powerhouse complete with one of Davis’ most intense vocals. Resonator Blues boils over with passion and finesse alike – this third solo release from Derek Davis is, arguably, his finest moment yet.
bluesDerek DavisResonator Blues
- SCOTT CARLITO
“Resonator Blues is an album you can revisit again and again and, in my opinion, one of the best releases in 2019.
“Resonator Blues” starts off Derek Davis’ third solo album with pure blues anchored around Davis’ fiery and fluid slide guitar playing. It has a traditional structure, but Davis phrases the lyrics in his own distinctive way and his slide playing balances fidelity to the form with obvious individuality.
“Mississippi Mud” has a bit of a rock edge in the way it alternates approaches, pushing on the listeners only to pull back at key moments, and these dynamics are critical in making this performance work. I love the dirt and gravel in Davis’ voice, but he never lays it on too thick. It reeks of sincerity and he throws himself into the singing with obvious emotion.
The juxtaposition of “Jesus Set Me Free” and “Red Hot Lover” is one of the more interesting tandems on Resonator Blues. “Jesus Set Me Free” has a furious pace and is built around acoustic blues after some brief electric flash at the song’s opening. It comes along with pounding drums and even some hand claps.
“Death Letter” has been recorded numerous times by many artists since the blues great Son House first made the tune nationally famous and Davis’ take on the classic track stands high among those many interpretations. It, naturally, relies a great deal on slide guitar, but the accompanying instruments do much more than hit their marks. His vocal is another highlight of the tune – he doesn’t treat these words lightly, but nor does he drown in histrionics that might make the song seem closer to parody than a real expression of grief.
The intense rhythms of “Whiskey and Water” are complemented by the dynamics Davis uses to make the song fly and the inclusion of harmonica. It isn’t the album’s only song featuring harmonica, but arguably the most effective use of the instrument you’ll hear on Resonator Blues. Davis, as well, really captures the fatalistic streak running through many classic blues tunes and does so without it seeming cookie cutter or corny in any way. To put it bluntly, you believe every word he sings.
Like “Death Letter”, “It Hurts Me Too” has enjoyed many fine covers over the years since its initial release by a virtual who’s who of top notch interpreters and guitarists. It is an electrified slaughterhouse in the hands of Derek Davis, dripping stinging heartache and desperation with each note, and Davis propels himself into the tune with the needed abandon to make you believe. I definitely did after a single listen.
The album’s conclusion, “Prison Train”, puts a big fat period on Resonator Blues with its mix of acoustic and electric, but the song’s electric second half is particularly bruising with its uptempo onrush and Davis’ impassioned vocal that focuses on every word. He is a lot of thing, but many of the songs on this album, including the finale, demonstrate that he has a strong streak of the storyteller in him as well. Resonator Blues is an album you can revisit again and again and, in my opinion, one of the best releases in 2019.
- Eric Jarvis
Davis has an obvious affinity for blues music; nothing on Resonator Blues plays forced or inordinately plotted out.
Oakland, California native Derek Davis has already left his mark on modern music; everything from this point is just gravy. If nothing else mattered, Davis’ tenure as one of Babylon A.D.’s songwriting and musical highlights has changed innumerable lives and perspectives; the sheer durability of the act is testament to that.
Davis is not content however. His solo releases see him moving away from the hard rock posturing comprising so much of what Babylon A.D. does and, instead, embracing roots music with perhaps surprising conviction and credibility. His third solo release Resonator Blues is a natural successor to 2017’s Revolutionary Soul and boasts a dozen songs for listeners.
The opener and title song serve immediate notice of what we are in store for. “Resonator Blues” burns with a classic Chicago blues feel but the Delta rises off Davis’ slide guitar playing and his collaborators follow the KISS method of making this music reverberate for listeners – keep it simple, stupid, and feel the music rather than over thinking it. The piano included with the song gives it a rollicking tone we do not often hear with songs of this ilk.
The album’s latest single “Mississippi Mud” has soul and grit in abundance. Davis’ rough hewn vocal invokes the textures of a molasses Mississippi summer night without ever belaboring the idea and even the ragged edges of Davis’ voice aren’t so tattered he is unable to bring the required emotion to bear. “Penitentiary Bound” isn’t free from vocal histrionics, but Davis wisely saves those moments for late in the song rather than front loading the tune with needless dramatics. This pensive acoustic track is a good change of pace this early in the release and hits the mark just as well as its predecessors.
His cover of the venerable “Death Letter”, perhaps made most famous by Son House’s towering interpretation of the standard, rates as one of the album’s indisputable high points. Davis avoids testing his voice on this tune and instead invests the full force of his focus on inhabiting the song as if he wrote it. The interplay between the exceptional guitar work and his vocal creates a dialogue of sorts for the track enhancing its overall impact.
The apocalyptic Sturm and Drang of “It Hurts Me Too” is another peak on the album. Davis goes back to his bucket of blood blues yowl for this tune and it serves the song well – it is a bit of classic blues songwriting that’s wrought with anguish and has dozens upon dozens of covers since first emerging from blues music around mid-century.
He latches onto traditional blues for a final time with the album’s conclusion “Prison Train”. It begins life as an acoustic track, just Davis and his slide guitar work, but the full band joins in at a little past the thirty second mark and transforms the cut into a last barnburner on an album stuffed with such songs. Davis has an obvious affinity for blues music; nothing on Resonator Blues plays forced or inordinately plotted out.
by Bethany Page
- Bethany Page
“Davis is clearly a serious student of the blues. Listen to Resonator Blues. Close your eyes, and prepare to be musically transported. Wherever you were, you are now in a hot, sweaty, juke joint on a July Saturday night in rural Mississippi or the Louisiana bayou country…
The family tree of rock music is traceable all the way back to the early blues artists of the 1930’s through the mid ‘50’s. Musicians such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Lightnin’ Hopkins were cited by the Beatles and Rolling Stones as being tremendous influences. To this day, guitar players still listen to tracks by the old blues masters to lift riffs and licks.
Derek Davis is a musician from the San Francisco Bay area who is best known for fronting the hard rock band Babylon A.D. in the late 80’s. Since Babylon, Davis has branched out to show his broad musical education on other genres. His latest album is titled Resonator Blues,and any guitarist who knows about the history of their instrument will immediately recognize from the title alone what type of music this record features.
In addition to the vocals, Davis shows his instrumental chops as he did all the guitar and bass tracks on the record. In true early blues tradition, the album is a mixed bag of acoustic and electric songs. Many of the songs (such as the title track) feature Davis’ slide playing. Of the electric songs, Mississippi Mud is a foot stompin’ tune in which Davis sings about the pioneers of the blues, in addition to showing his skill on the bottleneck. Penitentiary Bound is a simple vocals/acoustic guitar that climaxes with Davis’ tortured vocal lament. Jesus Set Me Free takes history way back with lyrics that speak of the experiences of a Civil War-era soldier. Whiskey and Water is more of a current day blues rock song, although Davis nicely throws the listener for a surprise with an acoustic solo over a throaty electric guitar rhythm line.
Davis is clearly a serious student of the blues. Listen to Resonator Blues. Close your eyes, and prepare to be musically transported. Wherever you were, you are now in a hot, sweaty, juke joint on a July Saturday night in rural Mississippi or the Louisiana bayou country…
- Richard Rosenthal
“The ghosts of giants past preside over this release, but Derek Davis’ Resonator Blues carries its own identity burning through on every song. It’s a fantastic effort.
Derek Davis has demonstrated the rare ability for moving between various musical styles and delivering his artistic vision convincingly in each form. His quarter century association with hard rock band Babylon A.D. has produced an impressive body of guitar driven work, but Davis’ interests reach into other areas like soul, funk, and blues. His third solo release Resonator Blues falls in the last category. The album’s dozen cuts are steeped deep in blues – acoustic, big city electric blues nonetheless reeking of the Deep South, and often powered by a hot burning rock and roll fire that never abates. The title song lays out a musical template longtime blues fans will soon recognize, but Davis is never a slavish mimic of his betters. Instead, he infuses “Resonator Blues” with a full shot of his personality via his distinctive vocal and slide guitar playing.
“Sweet Cream Cadillac” doesn’t embrace a full on electric guitar bite and, instead, cuts its blues influences with a hint of rockabilly and generates tremendous energy despite its acoustic leanings. Davis throws himself into the tune like it is a full throated electrified cry from the heart and it makes for an effective contrast with the low-fi musical backing. “Mississippi Mud”, however, brings the album into the sort of full on electrified blues we expect going into this release. Davis imbues the song with the appropriate amount of grit and there’s no sense of Davis taking any short cuts.
Davis turns in another lung-scalding vocal with his performance on “Jesus Set Me Free”. It’s a largely acoustic tune, occasionally strident, but brimming with the same hard-won soul defining every track on this album. His cover of the venerable “Death Letter” doesn’t displace the legendary Son House, but it isn’t intended to – instead it stands on its own as a superb interpretation and reinforces how deep Davis is working within the blues tradition. It is never overwrought and strikes just the right tone.
The desperation wafting off the track “Whiskey and Water” is palpable and the addition of ample harmonica makes the track all the more memorable. It also boasts a thunderous rhythm section attack that never obscures the other instrumentation. “It Hurts Me Too” ratchets up the aural intensity to previously unexplored levels and this classic blues, covered by a multitude of artists over the years, receives deluxe treatment from Davis that’s difficult, if not impossible, to forget. The steady stomp of “Back in My Arms” is further distinguished by some first class slide guitar, perhaps the best on Resonator Blues. We are treated to a final slice of acoustic blues with the last track “Prison Train” and musically it is well in keeping with the spirit inhabiting all of these tunes, but he soon dispenses with the acoustic and transforms the song into a barnburner of a tune. It is a strong conclusion to one of the best blues themed releases in the last quarter century. The ghosts of giants past preside over this release, but Derek Davis’ Resonator Blues carries its own identity burning through on every song. It’s a fantastic effort.
- Mark Druery
“By Robert Rheubottom
Derek Davis storms back in 2019 with brand new music. The Babylon A.D. co-founder drops his third solo album, Resonator Blues on June 1 via Southern Blood Music Records.
Resonator Blues is the follow up to Davis’ 2017 sophomore effort, Revolutionary Soul. The release features ten original tracks, self-penned by Davis, including the singles “Sweet Cream Cadillac” and “Mississippi Mud” along with some choice cover material.
Derek Davis has boldly explored a wide range of styles and influences over the course of his solo career, which began with the hard rock stew served up on his 2012 debut album Re-Volt, and then moved into a more R&B direction on Revolutionary Soul. In his latest outing, Davis digs further back into his roots by experimenting with a range of traditional blues styles, as well as folk and rockabilly elements, served up with a hard rock edge.
Resonator Blues showcases the full range of the multi-talented singer-songwriter’s abilities. Davis puts his personal signature on each track with his gritty yet soulful voice and further flexes his artistic muscles by performing all the rhythm, lead, slide and bass guitar parts himself
The proceedings kick off with the sonic boom of the album’s title track. “Resonator Blues” features blistering slide chops and a tasty piano solo with a tip of the hat to early Chicago blues as Davis bemoans the trials and tribulations of loving a high-spirited woman.
The San Francisco native dons a vintage Silverstone acoustic guitar for the album’s lead single “Sweet Cream Cadillac.” Hot women and cool cars are the subject matter in this tribute to the early 60s, which highlights Davis’ infectious guitar work and sly lyrics in this jump blues workout with backing from a stripped-down rhythm section of hand-claps and a big bass drum.
“Mississippi Mud” takes the listener on a journey of discovery in the birthplace of the blues. Davis’ infuses Delta blues with a splash of swamp rock as he conjures sweaty images of juke joints and railroad lines while paying tribute to legendary bluesmen such as Son House, Muddy Waters and Little Walter. Davis struts his stuff on slide guitar and receives tasty fill work from longtime associate Charlie Knight on harmonica, with the two pairing up to trade licks on the solo.
The versatile artist shifts gears easily, whether he’s paying homage to Americana on the poignant prison ballad “Penitentiary Bound” or incorporating Appalachian influences on the frenzied “Jesus Set Me Free” or honking through some Texas blues on the spicy “Red Hot Lover.”
Davis also puts his own stamp on the two covers featured on Resonator Blues, returning to the Delta with a chilling performance of Son House’s signature number “Death Letter,” while adding some beefy distorted slide on the Elmore James’ blues standard, “It Hurts Me Too.”
“Whiskey and Water” and “Unconditional Love” are a pair of acoustic-rockers, which are reminiscent of Davis’ early work as frontman and principal songwriter with Babylon A.D., while “Back In My Arms” features some “nudge-nudge, wink-wink” lyrics about an ex-lover who comes crawling back.
Resonator Blues chugs to its conclusion with plenty of steam on the final track “Prison Train.” Davis builds the ominous mood of the song in layers around the central riff, which hits full throttle on the solo with Davis once again delivering some searing bottleneck slide while going toe-to-toe with Knight, who wails on harmonica.
Davis displays a deep appreciation and respect for the traditional blues styles that he explores on Resonator Blues. His songs reveal an honesty, as well as a range of emotion and power, which are the hallmarks of the form. Yet he chooses to take inspiration from his sources rather than remain slavishly tied to them. As an artist, Davis consistently steps outside the mold to take his music in a new direction and attempts to give each new song a unique character. It should be interesting to see where his muse leads him on the next album. Definitely worth checking out!
- Robert Rheubottom
“This is a real Blues album. This is a record full of heart and Soul and yearning and emotion: an ideal antidote to the endless streams of soulless product that wash over us all these days. Real music for real people: Davis has done it again, producing a record that is a real joy to hear,and which makes you remember that life isn’t all digital and 24-7.
I’ve always been a fan of Derek Davis’ songwriting back to the early days of Babylon A.D. and those first two albums which were studded with gems, but it wasn’t until his first solo album ‘Re-Volt’ in 2012 that I first got in contact. I’ve interviewed him a number of times over the years and there’s always been this feeling that we share a love for a lot of the same music. I always thought that Derek had so much soul in his voice he could turn his hand to any genre.
We spoke in 2015 about how cool a Soul album would be and in 2017 he blew me away with ‘Revolutionary Soul’ and when he told me that next up for him was a Blues album I knew he’d do it justice. What I didn’t quite expect though was how much ground Derek would be covering. ‘Resonator Blues’ is an album that not only delves into the music most currently associate with the resonator guitar – Delta Blues with a lot of slide, but it also touches upon Americana, Folk, Southern Rock and even the Jump Blues that you hear on his latest singe ‘Sweet Cream Cadillac.’
Of course it’s Bottleneck-slide that comes across most in this collection, a record on which Davis has played all guitars and bass, and it’s therefore the Delta Blues that carries most flavour. Interestingly, in the 12 tracks there are just two covers – one from the King of the Delta Blues – Son House – ‘Death Letter’ and the other from the more eclectic Elmore James whose own music encompassed many styles just like this album and who was a great inspiration for both Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan amongst countless others. From James’ catalogue he chooses 1957’s ‘It Hurts Me Too’ which interestingly dates back even further to 1931, being based on Tampa Red’s “Things ‘Bout Comin’ My Way.” Red was of course another guitarist known for his bottleneck.
If you start with the two covers they tell you a lot about Davis’ love of the Blues and you feel that it’s on these two standards that he pours most of himself into. There’s a huge amount of love and pain in Davis’ voice when he reaches that wonderful chorus in ‘It Hurts Me Too’ but it’s also striking how timeless the song itself is, and you can feel everyone fro the Blues greats to The Stones and even Zeppelin in there. Son House’s ‘Death Letter’ is more elemental and stripped back, as of course the Delta Blues is, and both songs really set off the grit and melody in Davis voice. I picture this album in my heard starting with these two tracks and Davis taking them and throwing them into his pot before starting the journey for further ingredients that this album takes you on.
The album though starts with the title track ‘Resonator Blues,’ a song which is the heart of the album in a way: a fun, uptempo 50’s ride down the highway that swings like ‘Chicago’ with cool riffing keys and captivating guitar. If anything we then step forward a few years for the first single ‘Sweet Cream Cadillac’ an acoustic swinging Blues song which takes that Blues template and shows us where the Blues morphed into Rock and Roll. It’s music to dance to and Davis’ Silvertone acoustic adds just the right tone. The other song you may have already heard ‘Mississippi Mud’ drags you the other way through time back to The Delta where it all began, this is Delta Blues via Creedence, ragged raw and wonderful, and not a million miles away from hard rock. And that to me is part of the beauty of this record, it draws all the lines together, strand by strand.
‘Jesus Set Me Free’ is another thing entirely, a countrified Blues strum with a Southern note and real urgency that tells a tale of two brothers set against the conflict of the Civil War, that bursts into flames when the clapping starts, its earthy and essential played out on a 3 string Cigar Box Guitar and injected with simple percussion and a nice wail of harmonica. it’s Blues of another kind entirely. The languid and mournful but aced with sweet melody ‘Penitentiary Bound’ comes as a wonderful contrast that on one hand is a slice of Folk and Americana but with far more unchained melody under the sparse instrumentation that makes you wonder about artists like The Everly Brothers and those there at the birth of Rock and Roll. And on an album with already such a wide range of styes and approaches you get even more.
‘Red Hot Lover’ is a great slice of smoking Texan Blues that just struts and smoulders with some red hot lead and the blistering harmonica of Charlie Knight deepening the stew; whilst ‘Whiskey and Water’ strips it back again and plunges us into the second half of the album, with a song that if electrified you could imagine gracing Babylon A.D.’s second Bluesier offering. This is seriously good stuff and it’s not just Davis’ voice that reaches the heights – the guitar at times is sublime.
‘Unconditional Love,’ a kind of love song, brings it all together with voice and guitar and harp in harmony to deliver a song that’s timeless and wouldn’t have sounded out of place in any decade you could care to mention from the 60’s to the present day; and with ‘Back in My Arms’ that follows there’s almost a taste of the melodies bands like ELO captured ad managed to extract from basic Blues riffs with songs like ‘Don’t Bring Me Down.’ Davis’ treatment shows that you can have it both ways – you can respect where this wonderful music came from, but you can also trace where it went and take it further along without losing that elemental truth.
The album closes with ‘Prison Train’ almost the sister song to the opener, and which acts as a bookend and final word. I love the tones Derek has injected here and the hypnotic build of guitars, drums and harmonica gives it that railroad grind. It’s wonderful stuff.
This is a real Blues album. This is a record full of heart and Soul and yearning and emotion: an ideal antidote to the endless streams of soulless product that wash over us all these days. Real music for real people: Davis has done it again, producing a record that is a real joy to hear,and which makes you remember that life isn’t all digital and 24-7.
Resonator Blues | Sweet Cream Cadillac | Mississippi Mud | Jesus Set Me Free | Penitentiary Bound | Red Hot Lover | Whiskey And Water |Death Letter |Unconditional Love | Back In My Arms |It Hurts Me Too | Prison Train”
- Mark Rockpit
“DAVIS, FUNK, MUSIC, REVIEWS, ROCK, APOCALYPSE RECORDS, DEREK DAVIS, REVOLUTIONARY SOUL, 0
Revolutionary Soul by Derek Davis (Apocalypse Records)
Derek Davis is best known as the charismatic front man for the almighty Babylon A.D. – a hard rock band from the late 80’s / early 90’s – whose songs such as Bang Go The Bells, Hammer Swings Down and The Kid Goes Wild were all over the radio airwaves. Those who have seen recent Babylon A.D. shows witnessed Davis in top notch form – his powerhouse vocals bringing new life to the classic cuts from another decade. Derek Davis has kicked off a brand new year with a blast, unleashing a solo album destined to enrapture his fans. Those looking for a hair metal rock and roll extravaganza are in for a surprise however, as Davis goes funky R&B retro on Revolutionary Soul, with the auditory results being absolutely explosive.
“Welcome to my revolution” is the inviting introduction on the ultra funky, fist pumping title cut, instantly hooking the listener it with its wildly infectious grooves and superbly impassioned vocals. Rapture pulsates through your senses with its vibrant rhythms followed by a dazzling cover of the Amy Winehouse hit song Valerie. The psychedelic reverberations then slam into the forefront with the wicked and wonderful inflections of Think About It. Love And Abuse slips and slides with bluesy passions seething. Then we go all the way back to the historic Nobody Knows When You’re Down And Out selection originally released by Jimmy Cox in 1923, and still gloriously relevant in this modern day with a spirited performance by the one and only Derek Davis.
The second half of the Revolutionary Soul experience kicks off with Vicious Heart, imaginatively recorded and unveiled like a radio ballad from the all so distant past. Woman’s Gotta Have It (a Bobby Fuller cover) and King Of Fools continues the vintage soulful themes with a grand and stylish flair. Then we are back in rock and groove heaven with the timeless artistry displayed within Picture Of Love. Stop! Wait A Minute is the kind of sweeping balladry that would keep you company when transmitting through the radio on those dark and lonely nights. And then closing out Revolutionary Soul is the emotionally devastating All The Roads, leaving the listener thoroughly captivated!
Revolutionary Soul is a vast and adventurous effort, fully realized by its mastermind Derek Davis – who not only sings with a heated passion but also performs all of the instruments. An infinitely intriguing album that all types of music connoisseurs will wish to revisit time and again, Revolutionary Soul is sure to inspire all looking to be swept away by the sweet timeless melodies delivered by one of rock and roll’s truly gifted yet scandalously underrated artists.
(Review by Ken Morton – Photo by Joe Schaeffer)
- ken Mortan
“Derek Davis ‘Revolutionary Soul’ Album Review Out Jan 21
Posted on January 15, 2017 by shane bradley
Artist Derek DavisAlbum Revolutionary SoulRelease Date 21st JanGenre Rock/Soul/Funk
This Jan sees the long awaited release of Derek Davis’s album Revolutionary Soul and boy are you in for a treat, Derek’s got soul we’re talking James Brown soul as title track ‘Revolutionary Soul’ will testify its funky its soulful with just a hint of whats on offer for the remainder of the 12 track album coming in at just over 47 mins.Now if you are familiar with Davis’ work with the mighty Babylon AD and are expecting the same sort of adrenaline fuelled riff heavy, ear busting offering then you couldn’t be further from the mark with ‘Revolutionary Soul’ as Davis takes us on a soulful, funky ride which further enhances Davis’ songwriting and vocal talents.
‘Valerie’ and ‘Think About It’ with there instant funky singalong chorus are winners for sure with Davis’ vocals on top form and the funky wah guitar which there is plenty of on this album reminiscent of an early seventies action flick the latter with lyrics ‘Think About It You Gotta Be Wrong Think About It Before You Wreck Our Happy Home’, and the former that would sit pretty on any Doobie Brothers album.‘Vicious Heart’ a great little ballad that sits nicely on the album with great vocals by Davis and what sounds like a triangle being played in the background, added to the sexy sax its one of those tracks that just melts into you, as you close your eyes and drift away.‘Stop Wait A Minute’ The pace is slowed to a tender stroll with this one with a great delivery of vocals and featuring a Hammond organ mixed with a tantalising acoustic guitar track and smooth bass line.
‘Revolutionary Soul’ isn’t just an album it is that album you put on when you take your sweetheart to your place and you dim the lights press play and wait for the smooth vocals and soulful tones to do there work and before you know it you are………
- Shane Bradley
“Interview with Babylon A.D.’s frontman Derek Davis — New album in September 2017
Posted on November 2, 2016 by Olivier
INTERVIEW WITH BABYLON A.D.’S FRONTMAN DEREK DAVISDate: October 29, 2016Interviewer: Olivier
THE NAME BABYLON A.D. SHOULD BE FAMILIAR TO MOST SLEAZE ROXX READERS AS THE GROUP’S NO FRILLS ROCK N’ ROLL IS EXACTLY WHAT SLEAZE ROXX LOVES TO COVER. ON DAY TWO OF THE ROCK N SKULL FESTIVAL, DECIBEL GEEK EDITOR RICH DILLON INTRODUCED ME TO BABYLON A.D.’S FRONTMAN DEREK DAVIS WHO WAS HANGING OUT WITH THE FANS AFTER BABYLON A.D. HAD PUT ON ONE OF THE FESTIVAL’S BEST PERFORMANCES THE NIGHT BEFORE. TO MY SHOCK (AND PLEASURE), DAVIS REVEALED TO ME THAT BABYLON A.D. WERE GOING TO BE RELEASING A NEW STUDIO ALBUM IN 2017! THIS LED TO THIS IMPROMPTU INTERVIEW BECAUSE ANY NEW ALBUM FROM BABYLON A.D. SHOULD BE CAUSE FOR CELEBRATION!
Sleaze Roxx: So, I have heard some fantastic news that Babylon A.D. will actually be releasing a new album! So please tell us about that.
Derek Davis: Yeah! We are going to start recording in December  or January . It’s probably going to take us eight weeks, nine weeks, to record the record and it should be out I’d say by September . That’s the date we are setting. September 1st — what would you call it? That’s the date that we are shooting for. And we’re supposed to deliver the record by June 1st  so the material has already been written and it’s ready to go. We just got to get in the recording studio and record it. We’ve got the demo tapes all done and everything like that. Everybody’s just tightening it up. We start rehearsals for the record in about three weeks from now. Right before Thanksgiving, we start going into the studio, tightening up and getting the songs real tight. We’re looking forward to it!
Sleaze Roxx: Cool! And how long have you been thinking of doing a new album?
Derek Davis: We’ve actually been thinking about it for about two years. I’ve had quite a bit of songs that I have written myself. And Ron [Freschi] and Dan [De La Rosa], they’ve also had a lot of stuff that they have sent me over the last year or two. Yeah. We have been thinking about it for a couple of years. We wanted to see how the latest record came out — the ‘Live@XXV‘ — see how it peaked fans’ interest. So we kind of put it out there as a teaser — you know what I mean — to get everyone interested in the band again. This one is going to be really cool! We’re actually going to have some songs that we did on ‘In The Beginning.’ We’re going to have a few of those songs on there and we are redoing them like 25 years later or whatever. A lot of people asked us about that — badgering us — like “Man, you guys have to put out ‘She Likes To Give It’ or ‘I’m No Good For You’ but do it nowadays.” You know, let’s hear the sound now because we were just kids with an eight track and we didn’t know what we were doing then [laughs].
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs]
Derek Davis: But they were great songs! We got signed on those songs. They just never really got promoted or put out so we are going to do a few of those songs as well as new material that we’ve even writing.
Sleaze Roxx: How many tracks would you have for the new album?
Derek Davis: Well, we’re shooting for twelve. We want to do ten at least but we’re shooting for twelve and we’re probably going to record like eighteen [songs]. That’s what we are thinking. That’s what’s on the agenda to do and accomplish. That way, we can make another record and follow it up pretty quickly. We don’t want to wait like two more years or something like that. We’re trying to make a record every year. You know, once a year put another one out so that the band keeps moving along.
Sleaze Roxx: Do you have any touring plans once the new album comes out?
Derek Davis: It looks like we will be in Europe for at least two, maybe three weeks, right when the record comes out. Of course, we have a lot of offers for festivals right now and things like that. I think that our first show for 2017 is around March and we did that on purpose because we have to be in the recording studio recording! We don’t have a lot of time to start playing one-offs here and there but we’ll be playing basically the same kind of stuff that we are doing right now. You know, a festival here, a festival there — that kind of stuff. And for us, that is the funnest thing to do. You know what I mean [laughs]? It’s like the more people, the merrier. We get to play for an hour and then we party two days [laughs] or three days! Yeah, it’s like we’re on vacation the whole time.
Sleaze Roxx: One thing special about Babylon A.D. is that you still have the original band members.
Derek Davis: Since 1989!
Sleaze Roxx; Yeah, which is probably very rare in this time. So how special is it to play with the same guys that you played with on the debut album?
Derek Davis: I think it’s cool due to the fact that we know each other so well. We all grew up together in high school and stuff like that. So you just have four or five guys that are brothers. We’ve been playing together for so long. We’ve known each other for so long. We can still get in a fist fight and the next day, go “Whatever man, we’re all brothers.” You know what I mean? We’ve never nitpicked or backstabbed each other or any of that kind of stuff. We’ve always been together so I don’t know — a lot of bands I guess don’t have that kind of personality. We all grew up in the same exact area. Two different high schools and we all grew up the same way smoking pot, drinking, going out with chicks and wanting to be rockstars [laughs]! You know, so we have a big gigantic thing in common. We still do. We like to play and then we like to party. And both of them, we like to do hard [laughs] and sleazy!
Sleaze Roxx: [Laughs] What about the new album? Are you guys going to self-release it or through a label?
Derek Davis: We have distribution through Europe right now. We’ll have distribution through an American subsidiary but it will still be predominantly on our label. We’ve had our label now since 1999. We like to keep it that way, basically so we can control — have more control. Because once you say, “OK. Yeah, you guys have control, well, there goes all your iTunes money, There goes all your…” And then they say “Well, here’s a piece of what you get.” And you’re like, “No man! I wrote this song. I don’t wanna…” -You know what I mean.? I’m the one who is playing it. I am the one who writes it. It’s not like the others where you get 10% of your records. You know, if you can control it, well we get 100%. And then we tell the distributors, “You get this amount. We get to dictate the terms. So it’s a lot different than it was. Sure, you’re not going to sell as many records as you did in those days since there are not as many fans as back in those days. But the fans that are around — they are hardcore and they will buy it. It’s mainly to just keep the brand going and have a good time on why we are doing it right now. You know, here we are the Rock N Skull. [Jack Russell’s] Great White is getting ready to get on. This could have been 20 years ago [laughs] you know what I mean, and it’s still “This is fun.” So that is awesome!
Sleaze Roxx: And what about the new tracks? Obviously you have a couple of old ones that you are going to re-record. What are the new tracks going to sound like?
Derek Davis: Well, you know — its’ going to be vintage Babylon A.D. There’s nothing that is really going to change or anything like that. That’s all I can tell you. It’s not like we are like, “Let’s detune the guitar. And let’s go this phase or that fad or whatever, It’s going to be Babylon A.D with a melodic twist and something I think all the fans would dig.
Sleaze Roxx: Last question for you — what are your three favorite albums of all-time and why?
Derek Davis: Oh man! That’s a hard one. I’d say ‘Rocks’ from Aerosmith. That really helped me to train my voice I think listening to Steven Tyler so often. I could say… I could go on and on. oh my God! Let’s see — James Brown — the Godfather of soul man! “The big payback! That’s were I land.” That taught me a lot how to sing. And early Rod Stewart — one of his early. Yeah, Old Rod Stewart — ‘Faces’ — Right when he came out of ‘Faces.’ There’s too many records to list man! I could go forever. There’s not three. The Beatles’ ‘Abbey Road.’ I could go on forever. The ‘White Album.’ The Rolling Stones’ ‘Sticky Fingers’ you know. Each one of them imprinted something in me — songwriting as well as vocals — everything!