Boo Boo Davis @ Irish Blues Club, JJ Smyths. 29/05/2007

It was standing room only in JJ Smyth’s for the weekly gathering of the Irish Blues Club to witness and welcome Boo Boo Davis from the heart of the Mississippi Delta for a performance on his Irish tour.

Boo Boo Davis started off touring the Delta taverns and juke joints with his musician father and brothers before joining up with one of the hottest bands in St Louis in the sixties providing back up to Little Walter Sonny Boy Williamson Elmore James and Little Milton.This was a class set from a class act with Boo Boo Davis in bowler hat and sartorially sharp suit blowing up a storm on his harps with a solid professional band of musicians providing support.

Boo Boo Davis combines the traditional elements with modern grooves very effectively with the whole band on stage skilfully mixing their talents in a cohesive electrifying spectacle with the guitar, bass and drums being played very nicely instead of just plodding along in the background allowing Boo Boo Davis receive recognition for his talents and well paid dues.

The consummate Dutch blues band consisting of drums, bass guitar and an excellent guitarist shone through clearly behind Boo Boo who certainly pleased the crowd with a clutch of new blues songs and new approaches that are indicative of a welcome potential rejuvenation of genre when in the right hands.Boo Boo Davis‘s unpretentious skill and ability, coupled with the overall quality of the musicianship on stage invigorated the audience creating an exciting and electric atmosphere in JJ’s.The most startling aspect for me was Boo Boo Davis’s vocals because you could close your eyes and you’d think it was Howling Wolf in the room as he enthralled the audience and bounced about the stage.

Humorous sexual innuendo together with Boo Boo’s unique blend of traditional blues and hip hop phrasing keeps this mans blues strident, engaging, alive and kicking and appealing to all the young listeners around me in the audience and scores with a futuristic vision in the mix akin to Chris Thomas King and RL Burnside.

The harp and guitar breaks were sharp and concise but Boo Boo’s, Howling Wolf flavoured approach with subtle inventive arrangements and intelligent rhythm work was first rate and a winning formula for the Irish Blues Club audience.This experienced entertainer lets the songs breathe and demonstrates he is aware that space is a crucial element in the dynamic and as important as the notes.

This was a classy performance from Boo Boo resplendent in his bright suit and bowler hat effortless cranking up the tempo and towelling away the sweat pouring profusely from his efforts.He is a true ambassador of the blues and the fun and enjoyment on the stage was evidently transmitted to the crowd with shapely gyrations being attempted in the most constrained spaces.

Boo Boo Davis proved himself a big favourite with a big turnout of local blues musicians and fans like Pat Mc Sweeney from the Chillhouse Blues Band, Peter Moore and Karl O Byrne from The International Blues Band, Tommy Grimes and Tony Poland from Parchman Farm, DJ Charlie Hussy from Dublin City Anna Livia FM 103.2’s weekly Sunday night Bluestrain program and veteran live blues supporters like Southside Eddie and Sean Williamson.

The repertoire was drawn from his new CD, Drew Mississippi and previous releases like Can Man , East St Louis and The Snake with powerful and well conceived covers like Little Red Rooster all displayed with superb musicianship in a tightly integrated format.Boo Boo Davis is a genuine blast from the past giving a high energy performance and the general consensus was “what a brilliant performer” as we grooved along to two encores well past bedtime and headed for home with out our hands stinging from the suitably appreciative and well deserved applause.

Boo Boo Davis is in Ireland for a few weeks with a good spread of gigs over the Bank Holiday Weekend and into June before he returns to the American Festival circuit so if you get a chance to groove to the blues, go for it you won’t be disappointed with Boo Boo Davis, this man’s got style and a highly recommended set.

“Dogs begin to bark now
And the hounds begin to howl
Watch out little stray cat
The little red roosters on the prowl”

  • May 23 – Cooperative de Mai – Clermont Ferrand – France
  • May 24 – The Cherry Tree – Walkinstown Dublin – Ireland
  • May 25 – Droichead Arts Centre – Drogheda – Ireland
  • May 26 – Blues on the Bay – Warrenpoint – N-Ireland
  • May 27 – The John Hewitt – Belfast – N-Ireland
  • May 29 – JJ’s – Dublin – Ireland
  • May 30 – McKenna’s – Monaghan – Ireland
  • May 31 – Ardhowen Theatre – Enniskillen – N-Ireland
  • June 1 – Sandinos – Londonderry – N-Ireland
  • June 2 – Island Arts Centre – Lisburn – N-Ireland
  • June 3 – Rory Gallagher Festival – Ballyshannon – Ireland
  • June 6 – Colfers – Carrig on Bannow – Ireland
  • June 7 – St John Arts Centre – Listowel – Ireland
  • June 8 – The Barger Rooms – Ennis – Ireland
  • June 9 – Jazz & Blues Festival – Limavady – N-Ireland
  • June 10 – Seamus Ennis Center – Naul – Ireland