Jump to Content

Welcome! You’re browsing the No Depression Archives

No Depression has been the foremost journalistic authority on roots music for well over a decade, publishing 75 issues from 1995 to 2008. No Depression ceased publishing magazines in 2008 and took to the web. We have made the contents of those issues accessible online via this extensive archive and also feature a robust community website with blogs, photos, videos, music, news, discussion and more.

Close This

Not Fade Away - Reissue Review from Issue #35 Sept-Oct 2001

Reverend Gary Davis

Live at Newport (Vanguard)

The 1965 Newport Folk Festival is best remembered for Bob Dylan’s showdown when he plugged in and performed with an electric band. Where Dylan received a tumultuous reception for mixing electric and acoustic songs, the Rev. Gary Davis won over the festival crowd with his “holy blues,” a successful blend of the sacred and secular.

Live At Newport, originally released in 1967, shows a veteran artist in top form vocally and instrumentally. Recorded nine months before his 70th birthday, Davis sounds like a man following the advice of poet Dylan Thomas: “Do not go gentle into that good night…Old age should rage, rage against the dying of the night.”

Davis, an ordained Baptist minister, delivers a full-throated vocal that any preacher would envy on the biblical tale of “Samson And Delilah”, the opening song and one that would be revived two decades later by the Blasters on their final studio album. For Davis, the stage was just a different form of a pulpit. He could sound like a 20th-century prophet on “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” and “You Got To Move”, warning about the mortality of man and the inevitability of dying.

Davis showed off his lighter side on the blues instrumentals “Buck Dance” and “Twelve Sticks”. The songs highlight his skill as an acoustic guitarist who influenced the development of Dylan and Ry Cooder. “Soldiers Drill”, one of two bonus tracks on the CD, shows Davis playing bits of John Philip Sousa marches and military music, highlighting some of his earliest musical influences.

Some of Davis’ material doesn’t hold up as well, notably a lighthearted reference to domestic violence in “She Wouldn’t Say Quit” (“I began to slap her and she wouldn’t say quit”). Overall, Live At Newport is a fine introduction to this minister of the blues and the gospel.

Enjoy the ND archives? Consider making a donation with PayPal or send a check to:
No Depression, 460 Bush St., San Francisco, CA 94108

Discuss

Did you enjoy this article? Start a discussion about it, or find out what others are saying in the No Depression Community forum.

Join the Discussion »

Find out what's going on in roots music. Share concert photos and videos, learn about new artists, blog about the music you love.

Join the No Depression Community »

Originally Featured in Issue #35 Sept-Oct 2001

Buy our history before it’s gone!

Each issue is artfully designed and packed full of great photos that you don‘t get online. Visit the No Depression store to own a piece of history.

Visit the No Depression Store »


From the Blogs

  • Ray LaMontagne at the Woods at Fontanel (Nashville, Tenn. – July 25, 2014)
    Ray LaMontagne writes great songs and makes great records. And that's certainly no small feat. His live shows, though, while being technically and musically superlative, really don't leave the audience with a whole lot to hang on to other than the technique and the music. There's no personal engagement on LaMontagne's part. It's as i […]
  • Freight Train Boogie Show #264 features new music from Old Crow Medicine Show, Carolina Story, Yvette Landry and The Sweet Potatoes
    FTB Show #264 features the new album by Old Crow Medicine Show called Remedy.  Also new music from Carolina Story, Yvette Landry and The Sweet Potatoes. Here's the iTunes link to subscribe to the FTB podcasts.  Here's the direct link to … […]
  • Vancouver International Folk Festival Day Two (Jericho Beach, Vancouver, BC - July 19th, 2014)
    While Friday night at the Vancouver Folk Festival focuses on main stage performances, the rest of the weekend on the sprawling festival grounds of Jericho Beach is as notable for its smaller workshop performances. This was especially true this year. This particular Saturday started with the official public announcement of Joan Baez's cancellation. Perha […]
  • Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery - Man Is Born for Trouble (Album Review)
    The origin story of Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery is pivotal for an appreciation of Powell’s music. The name, inspired by the 1903 film The Great Train Robbery, the first silent western committed to celluloid, evokes Powell’s affinity for history, American aestheticism, and art that has passed through generations and endured technological revol […]
  • By the Time You Read This, It'll Be Over: A Pre-Newport Ramble
    Missing the first night -- likely the best of the three, given my taste and interest -- is sort of a bummer. But, on the other hand there's still two more days and nights to wander around the festival site, to hopefully discover a new act or the reinvention of something old. And, to be completely honest, the music and performances will run second to jus […]
  • Well Crafted, The “Not To Be Missed” Music Festival of 2014
    Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill located in pristine Harrodsburg, Kentucky plays host to what is shaping up to be the best Americana music festival of 2014.  Well Crafted, August 8-9 2014, couples some of the best musical talent in our beloved scene with the fine frothy libations of Kentucky’s local Craft Beer creators.  Shaker Steps Productions’ Derek Feldma […]

Shop Amazon by clicking through this logo to support NoDepression.com. We get a percentage of every purchase you make!


Subscribe To the No Depression Newsletter

Subscribe to the No Depression Newsletter