My Gift To You

Davell Crawford

Basin Street Records, 2013

http://www.davellcrawford.com

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 07/03/2013

On Crawford's fist album in more than ten years, the 'Piano Prince Of New Orleans' has certainly given us a gift we won't soon forget. My Gift To You is an extremely diverse album of original material and timeless covers that spans over an hour; with help from many collaborators Crawford pens an album so eclectic it not only keeps the listener guessing but often wondering if there is anything he can't do musically. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Lead off track “Creloe Man” is the first surprise. A layered track with much detail to percussion, it takes world music nods in an almost '80s like fashion while plugging in strings. “Junco Partner Cud'in Joe,” a James Booker tune, has a similar feel though at a slower pace with a winning falsetto guiding the way and minor jazz undertones. Then things get really interesting with the more known covers of Billy Joel (“The River Of Dreams”), Steve Winwood (“Can't Find My Way Home”) and James Taylor (“Fire And Rain”). Crawford's reworkings of these come with is own unique spin as well as horns and a sax.

But things become even more unusual: “Don't Ever Be Blue” is Crawford diving headfirst into country music complete with a fiddle from Steve Riley and his powerful pipes. But he also certainly lives up to his expected role as a funky R&B mastermind with the tunes “Southern Girl” and “Southern Woman (Ain't Nothin' Like A).” Similarly, “River/White Socks & Drawers” is Crawford cultivating an infectious groove, something we know he's well versed in. 

While mostly taking up company with jazz, funk, blues, and R&B, Crawford's stint with country is well executed, too. However, his best moment here is the piano driven “Southern Nights/Many Rivers To Cross,” an Allen Toussaint meets Jimmy Cliff medley that is nothing short of beautiful. With a wide array of guest vocalists including Trina Dyson and Dr. John, you also get trumpets and an orchestra on the Katrina influenced “Stranger In My Own Home.” Recorded all over Louisiana, the album ends on the gospel “Ode To Louisiana” where Crawford admits his undying love for his home. It’s a fitting ending for a fantastic album that was worth the wait.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


Comments









© 2013 Tom Haugen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Basin Street Records, and is used for informational purposes only.