D’Mar & Gill

D’Mar & Gill
Airtight

By Lady K
November 2011

D’Mar & Gill = Derrick “D’Mar” Martin (drummer – 15 years with Little Richard – and leader of Nu Funk) and guitarist, singer and songwriter Chris Gill (formerly with the Sole Shakers); now together as a Mississippi blues duo. Real Good Friend is the acoustic blues result of what these two put together, and contains 9 original tunes and a cover of “My Babe,” by Little Walter.

Real Good Friend sounds as though it was born of a much bigger band than ‘merely’ D’Mar and Gill; but it’s a 2-man production, with Gill doing ALL of the guitar honors – lead, rhythm, slide, bass, plus lead vocals; and D’Mar providing dazzling percussion, plus back-up vocals. The result is an exciting, old-fashioned sounding blues album; the type of music you might hope to hear during a Sunday afternoon bar-hopping excursion – if you were really lucky (and didn’t wander into a karaoke bar by mistake – God forbid!!).

Little Walter’s blues shuffle “My Babe,” a la D’Mar & Gill, has a funky Latino beat, with appropriate percussion and some vocal magic tricks, so that the tune sounds like there are multiple vocalists, all ‘taking turns’ on the lead vocals. Lady K happened to be using headphones during a recent listen, and the vocal nuances were impressive.

And, Lady K’s favorite track is the slow-blues, country-ish (seriously – no twang here) “Real Good Friend.” Chris Gill performed some heavy-duty slide-guitar, and did some name-dropping throughout this track (Muddy, Robert Johnson, Howlin’ Wolf, Honeyboy Edwards to name a few); and they were, no doubt, proud to be included on this poor-man’s travelin’ tune. His “Real Good Friend” travels everywhere with him - it’s his guitar. He and his guitar “Ride these rails, jump off, find a little hobo-town; and those hobo buddies, they love to hear ‘my gal’ get down.”

“Maybe Baby” is up-tempo, with nearly hypnotic drum leads, about man’s best friend, missing the lady of the house. “Dog won’t wag his tail, Baby, since you been gone. All he does now is keep whining, like he’s sick.”

Real Good Friend has so far included tracks about a guitar, and a dog, so it sorta makes sense that there be another non-human lauded on this Mississippi-based album; and it just MUST be crawfish (or “mud-bugs” – ick . . . ). “Crawfish Boogie” is a celebration of the time of year when this Delta delicacy becomes part of the party – when the “country boys just love to see the southern girls swish their tails doing the ‘Crawfish Boogie”’. The tune even includes specifics on how to enjoy those mud-bugs: “Suck their head, pinch the tip – juice running out the side of your mouth” . . . who knew?

The poignant and lonely slow-slow blues tune, “Tore Down” is another track that caught Lady K’s attention: “Lately, I’ve been running in circles, getting’ used to no you;” “I’m tore down, down on the ground, the hurt is still so new” – made me sad.

The promo sheet that arrived wrapped around the CD Real Good Friend says that “International Blues Stomp” is a nod to the annual band competition in Memphis. That’s a reasonable addition to this CD, because D’Mar & Gill are 2011 International Blues Challenge Semi-Finalists. Well-deserved!! Go find yourself a copy of Real Good Friend and enjoy some Delta blues!!!!

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