We’ve heard of Son of Dave — he’s being going for 20 years — but heard nothing by him until now. Or at least no solo work; he was in Crash Test Dummies for a spell. Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm.
He plays beat-box and harmonica-driven blues, and the sound and DIY ethos are reminiscent of Seasick Steve, just less guitar and with Tom Waits on vocals.
Dave (aka Benjamin Darvill) was born in Winnipeg but moved to London in 1998 and stayed. He’s been on Later…with Jools Holland and had a track on Breaking Bad.
This new album opens with Get a Strut On, which does really strut, courtesy of the kick drum, shaker and harmonica; organ and guitar come in later. Daddy Was A Wolf Man opens like a lost 78 from a veteran blues man who recorded in a tunnel, but sounds more modern as it trundles on.
Six Weeks is a more conventional song but has a pronounced bluesy beat and more harmonica. Po Wow has a rock-solid drum beat, whistling and ska-style “tch tch-ing”. So it goes.
He offers catchy riffs and plenty of groove and harmonica, but nothing to make this more than entertainment; if you heard his music on a television — for which it is ideally suited — you’d probably Shazam it, love the song and be disappointed in the album. If you like the blues and play music at work it’s probably ideal, demanding no mental attention whatsoever after the first play.
He probably makes a nice living from residuals, playing live and licensing the songs for games and television. We’re not so sure about a whole album’s worth but then we think the same of Seasick Steve. Out on Goddamn Records.