Michigan-based Soul Blues artist and radio disc jockey. Dubbed the "King Of Party Blues".
"I Want Some Brown Sugar" (Serious Sounds)
1.I Ain't Never
Been No Fool
** Yes, what a difference a production budget makes. Recently I reviewed Davis' "The Right Way" for Sims Records. It's excellent and enjoys the benefit of live musicians, great tunes and a soulful performance from Davis. Interestingly, the disc opens with a blues cut that appeared on "The Right Way" but that ticking drum machine ruins it for me. Same problem with "Let's Do 69", and those pea-brained lyrics don't help either. There's good drum programming and there's "rinky-dink". These have the latter. Then, suddenly, live drums appear on the rolling blues "Love Freak" and the grinding slow blues "Brown Sugar", which appears to be a live recording. (The applause sounds more like sizzling bacon than hands clapping though!). It makes me long for a full fledged live record but it's too little too late. There ain't enough "Brown Sugar" to flavor this bland outing.
"I'm In The Mood For Love" (Touring 1998)
"Fool For You" (Mardi Gras 2001)
1. If Draws Could Talk
"I've Got To Move On" (Wilson 2002)
1. I've Got To Move
"Into Something" (Wilson 2003)
1. Everybody On The
"The Right Way" (Sims 2005)
1. I Woke Up
****1/2 Okay there's two cats out there recording under the name "Maurice Davis". One sings standards spanning the styles of Jazzy Blues and Gospel. While the Maurice of this fabulous new release, "The Right Way", is a soul/blues/R & B singer/guitarist. Will the real Maurice Davis please stand up? Nothing against jazzy Maurice, but this Maurice gets my vote after this album. Right from the gorgeous country soul opener "I Woke Up" you feel the authenticity. A genuine organ, guitar, bass, drums band with luscious horns this cut sets the tone for on soulful experience. This is a perfect soul song- one of the best of the decade. This mood continues over the next cuts, "Her Memory Keeps Knocking" and "Letting Go", on the parallel roads that Southern Soul and country music travel. Davis already has some 4 records under his belt (his most recent being "A Fool For You" on Mardi Gras) but this one easily surpasses them all. While the first half consists of stately soul heaven (songs written by Tim Davis, Ricky Ryan, EW James & Billy Lawson), Maurice and band kick off their shoes for some sturdy blues shuffles (written mostly by Maurice) on the second half. "I've Been Had", "Trouble", I'm No Fool" all give Maurice a chance to do some cutting with his axe. There's even a darn good cover of the ubiquitous "I'm A Blues Man". I let out a sigh when I saw it listed...until I heard it and gladly make room for this version. The set then closes with two Davis originals- most notably the gritty slow blues "If I Had A Chance To Love You". Producer and label owner Russel Sims has a good thing going with Sims Records out of Franklin, TN. A few years back critics went wild over Earnest Davis' "Real Soul" disc. This one's just as good if not better.
"Backstabbers" (Touring 2006)
1.It Ain't My Hat,
It Ain't My Shoes
***1/2 "I'm the king of party blues" sings Maurice on the slick "It Ain't My Hat, It Ain't My Shoes" that kicks off "Backstabbers". Sure, it's good natured boasting but the way he squeezes out those Albert King-esque tones you may just take him serious. I mean would you respect him as much if he sang "I'm the bus boy of party blues"? I venture not. It's like rocker Elvis Costello said: "If you tell people you're a genius long enough they'll start believing you!". Anyway, Davis serves up strong electric Blues here mixed with just the right amount of "Southern Soul", which is also often called "party blues". He continues on "It Ain't My Hat" singing: "I was raised up on Z.Z. Hill/B.B. King, I liked the way he played Lucille/You know what this big legged woman said?/'I'll rock you baby 'til you're back ain't got no bone/I'll be your sweet little angel/Maurice, the thrill sure ain't gone', she said/It ain't your hat, it ain't your shoes. It's the way you you play the blues". Maurice sho 'nuff can play the Blues. And, yes, the party kind too. "Black Cat" is a standout aided by a funky Zapp & Roger synth fill. Kudos to the title cut. (By the way fellow Blues & Soul nerds like myself may also notice "Backstabbers" is loosely built off Marvin Gaye's "Let's Get It On"). But what's interesting as I've followed Davis' career is his records are not all the same. Last year I positively flipped over his sterling disc "The Right Way" on Sims Records. That outing was half gorgeous Country Soul and half downhome blues. In a somewhat similar balance here, six of the cuts on "Backstabbers" are Davis self-produced Blues originals while four were produced by Cameo's Simeo Overall (Al Lindsey, Bill Coday). Overall wrote four songs (2 with Davis). The best of the bunch being the first single, "I'll Follow That Thang", a smooth R & B slowie with Overall's sweet backing vocals and "Lay Down On It" , an irresistible dancer with jangling guitar, bass and tasty synth horns. Hitsville for sure. Davis has a cult following that's enabled him to release a half dozen records thus far but "backstabbers" may be the one that takes him to the next level.
"Rhythm & Blues" (Touring 2007)
*** I have a feeling that had Davis NOT been such a good musician but rather had been your usual machine-backed, sexy-voiced, dance-themed singer he'd be more well known than he is. Instead, Davis plays some Albert King-like guitar and employs a larger percentage of "live" players and real Blues on his records. His obscure disc for Sims Records ("The Right Way") is a lost gem and his last outing, "Backstabbers", had all the elements for Southern Soul radio but didn't garner that elusive hit. That disc was split between Downhome Blues and programmed Southern Soul while this new one, as the title suggests, is mostly rhythmic Blues with a lil' Southern Soul sprinkled about ("Sho' Wasn't Me" for example). But first he opens with a supercool cover of James Brown's "Nature" with some nasty chicken scratch guitar and churning bass. This deserves maximum airplay!
Davis is also underrated as a singer. He may not do justice to Johnnie Taylor's "Running Out Of Lies" but his earnest tone works quite fine on "That's Where It's At" and "That's The Way I Feel About 'Cha". Mostly, "Rhythm & Blues" delivers sturdy Soul/Blues like Albert's "I'll Play The Blues For You", ZZ Hill's "Someone Else is Slippin' In" and BB's "I Pay The Cost To Be The Boss". But don't worry, this is Urban Blues not your grandpappy's crusty versions. For good measure his great "Black Cat" and Marvin Gaye's "I'll Be Doggone" are also included. (For fellow music nerds: "Doggone" is interpreted just like Albert King did on his 1972 LP "I'll Play The Blues For You").
"Soulful" (Touring 2010)
1. After the Party
""Play" Boy" (Touring 2011)
1. Black Cat
"Whipped & Pecked" (Touring 2012)
1. Whipped & Pecked
"Real Love" (Touring 2013)
1 Real Love
"I Have The Blues" (Touring 2016)
1 Every Day I Have the Blues