Chick Willis, Eric Davis | Buddy Guy’s Legends | Blues, Gospel, and R&B | Chicago Reader

Chick Willis, Eric Davis Soundboard Recommended Critics' Picks

When: Fri., Dec. 26, 9 p.m. 2008

Now 74, Georgia blues veteran CHICK WILLIS is still best known for raunchy novelty fare like the 1972 hit “Stoop Down Baby . . . Let Your Daddy See.” But with his ragged baritone he can also be formidable on slow blues and soul ballads, infusing them with aching vulnerability. On his new CD, The Don of the Blues (CDS), his excursions into contemporary soul-blues yield mixed results: “Bootie Call” and “Undercover Hootchie,” with their two-chord vamps and broad innuendo, seem cheap and obvious, especially if you’ve heard Willis unleash his trademark wit on one of his “playing the dozens”-style signifying numbers. But his shuffling, grinding version of the Sonny Boy Williamson II standard “Don’t Start Me to Talking” is back-road raw, and on the ballads “It’s All Over” (apparently based on the Falcons classic “I Found a Love”) and “Trouble Tree”—augmented with tastefully arranged horns and, on the former, his probing guitar leads—he sounds simultaneously eloquent, gruff, and wounded. Diamond Jim Greene plays a free acoustic set from 5:30 till 8 PM. —David Whiteis

Price: $15

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