There's a lot of Reverend Gary Davis
out there, but this CD, Sun of Our Life -- Solos, Songs, A Sermon, 1955-1957
, is one of the best. Davis
was at the peak of his powers. His playing on the instrumentals (of which there are a surprising number) testify to that; they are fluid and sturdy, and when he sings, he sounds better in voice than ever. Of particular interest is the fact that many of these pieces were made up on the spot -- although you'd be hard pressed to tell without the liner notes. Elsewhere come pieces more familiar, albeit in different versions, and -- a real treat -- some that have never been recorded elsewhere. What truly sets this apart, though, is a long extract of Davis preaching in church, a side of him that's never been documented before. And he's very much a raw gospel preacher, of a style that had fallen out of fashion by the '50s. To hear him is an absolute revelation -- you can feel the fervor in his voice, and his power over the congregation. The sound quality throughout is superb, and this is an important addition to the Davis canon.