David Gogo

Bare Bones

BY David LewisPublished Sep 1, 1999

As the swinging title track and upbeat "Johnny Too Bad" make plain, this is good time music, even when the lyrics confront harsher truths of life. Cox is a fertile, fluent guitar picker who shares inspired exchanges with guest Amos Garrett in "Life is So Peculiar." His stylistic scope is broad , ranging from swing (“Life is so Peculiar,”) reggae (“Johnny Too Bad,”) punkabilly (“My First Bike”) and jigs (“Wake Up Lisa/Mary Grieg,”) to a solo guitar medley (“Further Along/Water Is Wide,”) a slow country waltz (“The Sun Sometimes Shines”) and even militant performance art (“The Blues Came To Canada.”) One weakness is Cox's lame effort to be a crooner in "Born to Be Blue" but even this gets redeemed by another splendid guitar solo. His backing band is versatile all the way. Their relaxed delivery of Leadbelly's murder ballad "Black Girl" (aka "In the Pines") confirms why this CD is solid value, quality music with lots of entertaining variety. While Cox is essentially a sophisticated pan-stylist, Gogo's set is more rough-hewn with several minimalist gems for those who prefer their blues raw, stark and unadorned. Gogo's startling fuzz bass distinguishes his cover of Don Van Vliet's "Crazy Little Thing" (from Captain Beefheart's classic Clear Spot) while his superb solo ballad "All Over Town" showcases atmospheric slide guitar worthy of Ry Cooder at his most inventive. If the rest of this largely acoustic set of duos and trios were as adventurous, this would be a stunning CD. As it is, Gogo's strong covers of artists as distinctive as Beefheart, Bob Dylan and Tom Waits, indicate a Canadian player whose individualism merits attention.
(Cordova Bay)

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