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Davis Rogan: The Real Davis 

Davis Rogan

The Real Davis

(Sousaphonk)

click to enlarge Real_davis.jpg

The Davis McAlary character on the HBO series Treme provokes extreme reactions. No matter how sympathetically he may be written, some find him an affected, arrogant, drunken, talentless dilettante. Davis Rogan, one of the people upon whom McAlary is based, may have some similarities with the Treme Davis, but talentless is not one of them. His new CD, The Real Davis, is full of witty songs and clever turns of phrase about his current state of affairs. There is sarcastic commentary about Lower 9th Ward gentrification and American arrogance as well as a great song detailing his weakness as a "bourbon-based life form" for Kentucky's finest on "Damn You, Sweet Bourbon." And there's a sexy cooking number with TV-theme horns called "Bones in the Bouillabaisse." One might expect the record to be pretentious, but Rogan sings and writes in a down-to-earth manner that will not confuse anyone about his position on having a TV character based on him. Rogan's self-deprecating commentary helps him keep it real. Some of the highfalutin material is so over-the-top it's funny, such as the guitar rave-up Rogan combines with a monologue about trying to get a table in a restaurant at the end of the song "Fame." The band makes classic 1950s and '60s New Orleans rhythm and blues sound contemporary, and that makes the album cohesive and is one of its strengths. Rogan combines the pounding piano-playing of Professor Longhair, turns of phrase reminiscent of Allen Toussaint tunes and the sassy, irreverent humor of Huey "Piano" Smith. The horns punch their notes like the classic Dave Bartholomew band at Cosimo Matassa's studio. Few musicians turn to these old hits these days, and fewer are making them sound as contemporary as The Real Davis. — David Kunian

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