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Li'l Dave Thompson

1969 - 2010


David Lonzo Thompson was born in Hinds County, Mississippi May 21, 1969. Lil Dave's exposure to music came early and has always been a way of life. His father, the late Sam Thompson played with Willie Foster, Asie Payton, Paul Wine Jones, Eddie Cusic, James Son Thomas and others.

Lil Dave's list of influences reads like an anthology of the blues. His family was burned out in legendary Moorhead, MS (Where the Yellow Dog Crosses the Southern) and moved to B.B. Kings hometown of Indianola, MS. But it was in Leland, MS, (Hellhole of the Delta) and home of James "Son" Thomas and other blues legends that Dave, at the age of 14, formed his first band. He, along with drummer, Dell Cusic and bass player, Allen Hite called themselves The Delta Blues Band. As a teenager, Dave played with various blues, Rand B, Reggae, and gospel bands in the delta area until he met and toured with the late Booba Barnes in 1990.

So at the age of majority, 21, Lil Dave's life, music and experiences away from the delta began

talked with Dave on a sweltering delta day in July of 2003 as we sat on the roadside of the Holly Ridge Plantation overlooking the gravesites of Charlie Patton, Willie Foster and Asie Payton.

Dave looks like a young man of 34, but his wisdom and experiences belie his age. He is in a light mood today, assuring me that my fear of stepping on a snake is not necessary because they are somewhere cooling off and teasing me about being able to handle a shovel, which I take as a compliment.

But as we clean gravesites and he kneels beside headstones for pictures, he tells me he feels old. After two successful CDs and nominations for two Handy awards in 1996, he says he is ready for something major

A third or fourth generation Mississippi delta blues guitarist and vocalist, Thompson has come full circle with the blues. He has lived it, learned it and now seems to appreciate the rich legacy and his responsibility to the blues, this region and his fellow blues artists, past, present and future.

Mississippi guitarist/vocalist Dave Thompson returns to recording with a bang after a six-year hiatus. In 1996 he burst onto the scene with his Fat Possum debut, then quickly disappeared. Now he's re-emerged with a 14 song slab of modern, original soul-blues that are remarkable mature for a player under 35. His visceral, unvarnished music exude swagger, and there's plenty of variety: shuffles, slow blues, junk, Southern strollers, and even a light jazz instrumental.

It's hard to pick favorites, but grabbers include "Standin' In The Rain." Reminiscent of early Robert Cray; the smoky, low-key funk plea "Caught Up in a Crossfire"; the fiery stop-time shuffle "Strung Out"; and two Southern soul duets with fellow JSP labelmate Mary Taylor: the Memphis stroller We Can Make It If We Try" and the loping Tyrone Davis-style dancer "My Baby Won't Change" (both penned by producer/saxist Bruce Fiener). The most anomalous track is "Cuttin' Loose," an instrumental in the style of George Benson or Phil Upchurch, while the slow-burn title track pas tribute to some to Thompson's fellow Mississippi bluesmen past and present and to the city of Greenville.

Thompson's confident, aggressive guitar solos combine the buzz-saw snarl of Albert King and the sweet, metallic sting of Little Milton, and his unpretentious vocals seem equally influenced by blues and soul. This is an important album, and a triumph of sorts by a major young talent who didn't atrophy into semi-obscurity.

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