So it's no surprise that this is the first John Mayall tribute album. While singer/guitarist Debbie Davies may not be a marquee name, she's been on a roll since working with John's wife in Maggie Mayall & the Cadillacs over 15 years ago. Between touring as Albert Collins' right-hand woman and her decade-long solo career, Davies has defined herself as a dedicated blues performer who, like Mayall, has paid her dues working with many of the better musicians of her electric blues genre.
On Key to Love, Davies dusts off the boogie-woogie "Light My Fuse," "Nature's Disappearing" and other Mayall obscurities, along with popular near-classics such as "Hard Road" (featuring a galvanizing Taylor solo) and the zippy "Room to Move." She never hogs the spotlight, keeping the vibe loose yet thumping, and letting guest stars James Cotton and Green shine.
While her rugged cover of Memphis Slim's "Steppin' Out" (one of the first Clapton/ Bluesbreakers showcases) is impressive, it, like the rest of this project, mainly encourages the listener to search out the original.
Debbie Davies plays Blind Willie's Wed., Feb. 12.
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