Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Blind Gary Rev Davis|
Meet You at the Station: The Vintage Recordings (1935-1949)
Genres: Country, Blues, Folk, Pop
Listen to Samples
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Absolutely Peerless !
Curtiss Clarke | Calgary, Alberta Canada | 12/27/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Gary Davis (later to be Reverend Gary Davis) was a country blues/gospel ragtime guitarist and singer of the highest order (no pun intended). His influence is immeasurable; not only the obvious one on Blind Boy Fuller who aped many of Davis' playing mannerisms, but on legions of white artists who matured during the early-mid 60's folk music boom.
While Davis' musical roots are traced to the south-eastern blues tradition of the early 20th century, his superior picking technique (excepting Willie Walker & Blind Blake) and harmonic developments transcended almost all other guitarists who recorded during the first 50 years of the 1900's. Born around 1896 in South Carolina, Davis was an active musician and likely a vituoso before he reached his early teens. The recordings in this set begin with his first sides for ARC in 1935.
Being fundamentally religious, Davis preferred to perform gospel numbers although the producer of the session coaxed 2 blues out of him for his first titles (Throwin' Up My Hands, Cross and Evil Woman Blues). After that the remaining titles from these earliest sessions (July 23-26, 1935) are strictly gospel. This fact should not dissuade listeners from purchasing this music as most of Davis' gospel material was of blues-based song form with sacred lyrics.
Unfortunately the record company was more interested at the time in capturing secular blues and likely for this reason, Gary Davis would not record again for 10 years. Of course none of these early sides were commercial successes and as a result, were poorly distributed.
Davis had a very hearty voice and on many of his sides, exudes the shouting style of a street preacher. In some titles, he begins to recite the lyrics in the form of a sermon, being transfixed on delivering his message to the Lord. Admittedly, his singing style does take some getting used to (akin to that of delta musician Charley Patton) but the force with which much of this music is delivered is unparalleled.
An added bonus on this CD is the inclusion of 3 sides (one a Sousa march played solo on guitar which is quite incredible to hear) for the Asch and Lenox labels recorded between 1945 and 1949 by which time Davis had moved New York.
This CD competes with a similar title from Yazoo records but this one gets the nod by virtue of some missing titles on the Yazoo set (which does not contain the complete early recordings). Secondly, this Document CD has better sound than the Yazoo.
The music from this set surely ranks in the top 20 country blues recordings of all time. Truly amazing.