Tyrone Davis/ Otis Clay | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Tyrone Davis/ Otis Clay


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Veteran vocalist Tyrone Davis is one of Chicago's most influential and best-loved R & B artists. He got his start in the 60s on the west side, waxing several sides for the Four Brothers label before 1968's "Can I Change My Mind," on Dakar, catapulted him into the national consciousness. He followed that up with a remarkable string of more than 50 hits and by the late 80s ranked 30th among Billboard's top 200 R & B artists--putting him ahead of such luminaries as Al Green, the Commodores, and the Jackson 5. Despite health problems he remains one of the most potent draws on the contemporary blues scene. His voice, equal parts sensual croon and muscular affirmation, is the perfect vehicle for his protestations of romantic vulnerability and sensual appetite, and his backup unit, the Platinum Band, is Chicago's most accomplished working R & B aggregation. Coheadliner Otis Clay has played a similar role in Chicago soul music, with 60s and 70s hits as "That's How It Is (When You're in Love)" and "Trying to Live My Life Without You," and his voice can still convey everything from bleak hopelessness to heart-stopping romanticism to desperate anguish to full-throttle blues. On record his tendency to rely on chestnuts sometimes dilutes his immediacy, but his performances can verge on the transcendent. Saturday, 9 PM, House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn; 312-527-2583. Clay also performs at the Buck Owens birthday tribute Tuesday at 8 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. David Whiteis

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Tyrone Davis photo by James Fraher/ Otis Clay photo by James Fraher.

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