Rolling Fork to Gallows Point

Rolling Fork to Gallows Point by David Essig

Rolling Fork to Gallows Point by David Essig

Featuring Chris Whiteley, Tobin Frank and Alan Cameron
Delta Blues in the Tradition

In 1985 in Ontario, I recorded a vinyl LP of traditional blues called “Whose Muddy Shoes” for Appaloosa/IRD. The album was released in Europe and North America just as CDs were becoming the prevailing medium for recorded music. Consequently the album garnered a small but loyal following and was soon taken off the market.
Over the years, fans and friends have asked me to re-issue “Shoes,” on CD. I was finally persuaded but decided that, instead of re-issuing the old recordings, I would re-record new versions of the same exact body of songs here in our studio on Protection Island, BC. In the Spring of 2007, my dear friend and musical compatriot, Chris Whiteley, was passing through on tour. I invited him to join us for a Sunday of the blues. We recorded half a dozen of these songs live off the floor on that inspired afternoon. I added the remainder of the material on my own over the intervening years. I finally completed the project in Spring, 2011 – 26 years after the original LP was recorded.

Rolling Fork is Muddy Waters’ birthplace in Mississippi. Gallows Point is the view out our front window on Protection Island, British Columbia.

Roots Music Canada review: 2 November 2011

Penguin Eggs Review: Winter, 2011

If you’ve ever pigeonholed David Essig as a tired old folkie, you’d be wrong. In the business for 40 years with 10 recordings (sic) to his credit, the Nanaimo native has blown the soot out of the ol’ smokehouse with this one. Don’t let the gentle beginning fool you as a group spiritual, Waitin’ On You, is delivered a cappella by Essig and players Chris  Whiteley, longtime bassist Tobin Frank and drummer Alan Cameron. A recreation of a long-out-of-print ’85 release, Whose Muddy Shoes, Essig has created, with the help of expert, like-minded players, a rough’n’tumble blues record.

The revival-esque If I Had Possession (a harp and slide showcase) joins Candyman, a pure , Steve Goodman-like folk tune with a warm, sit-around-the-house feel. However, Cypress Grove is a slow, slippery ride with gently blazing electric guitars and a dark blues attitude. Casey Jones ups the folk/storyteller ante while If You Got a Good Friend presents a great harp and guitar workout – Essig delivers an exceptional lead guitar solo and a dead-perfect vocals. The laidback, rough edges this album presents supplies its significant charm, from the extra-greasy vibe of Come On In My Kitchen, (with great harp from Whiteley) to the slippery splendor of Keep Your Lamp Trimmed and Burning. Essig’s songwriting prowess is on full display with the intimate Jackie’s Blues, an old-time marriage of piano and electric guitar in loving tribute to a dear friend. Keep ‘em coming, David, and take this show on the road!

–          By Eric Thom

Click on the tracks below to listen:
Jackie’s Blues If I Had Possession Cyprus Grove