For Tales from the Austin Motel, Debbie Davies temporarily ditched her touring band and teamed up with drummer Chris Layton and bassist Tommy Shannon, better known as the rhythm section of Stevie Ray Vaughan's legendary supporting group, Double Trouble. The intention was to craft a tribute album to their influences and collegues -- namely, the Texas blues giants Albert Collins, Stevie Ray Vaughan. The trio tackles a number of covers, including such standards as "I Want to Be Loved" and "I Just Want to Make Love to You," but the majority of the album is devoted to Davies originals. They're all solid, journeyman songs -- nothing too special, but nothing bad, either. (Although these ears did hear something out of the ordinary -- a lift from "Remember You're a Womble" on the instrumental "Percolatin." But that probably wasn't intentional.) The main reason to hear Tales from the Austin Motel is to listen to Davies play with Double Trouble, and the results do not disappoint. Some may quibble that the recording is a little too crystal clear to really capture the nasty Austin sound they strive to achieve, but the trio does have a dynamic interplay. It serves as a reminder of what a good rhythm section Layton and Shannon are -- they make an already excellent guitarist sound like a successor to SRV, which is no mean feat. But that's not to take anything away from Davies. Over the course of her four previous albums, she established herself as a formidible talent, but her work on Tales affirms that she holds a prime place in the modern electric Texas blues pantheon.
Share this page
AllMusic Review by Stephen Thomas Erlewine