Reverend Gary Davis
(April 30, 1896 - May 5, 1972)
The unparalleled guitarist and singer was born in Laurens County, South Carolina. Though his mother bore eight children he was the only one to live to adulthood, with most of his siblings dying in infancy. He became blind early in life and was raised by his paternal grandmother due to extreme maternal neglect. When he was ten years old his father was killed in Birmingham, Alabama. He later moved to Greenville, South Carolina, where he sang and played guitar on the streets, being influenced by Willie Walker, Baby Brooks and Sam Brooks. Unlike most other blind street singers, Davis traveled extensively by himself, without the aid of a lead boy. He moved to Durham, North Carolina in the mid 1920's where he taught Blind Boy Fuller and often performed with Bull City Red. Around 1933 Davis converted to Christianity and he soon became an ordained minister. This had a profound effect on his playing and caused him to eschew, but not entirely abandon the blues. His recording career began in 1935 when he cut several songs for the American Record Corporation. By the mid 40's, the music scene in Durham began to slow down and Davis moved to New York City, where he taught lessons, preached, and played music on the streets of Harlem and around the city to support himself and his wife, Annie. These years were marked by considerable poverty and for a time he reluctantly accepted a welfare check to help make ends meet. He soon found real success in the folk revival of the 1960's, performing at the Newport Folk festival to rave reviews. The long list of his students and those whom he influenced included Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary, the Grateful Dead, Taj Mahal, Larry Johnson, Stefan Grossman, Ernie Hawkins and Jorma Kaukonen. Royalties from a song credited to him and recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary allowed Davis to buy two houses and live comfortably for the first time in his life. He continued recording and performing right up until passing away from a heart attack in 1972. His reputation as one of the greatest blues, gospel and ragtime guitarists to have ever lived is secure. It simply doesn't get any better than Reverend Gary Davis!
The Blues People Illustrated Official Jacket
.: 100% Polyester
.: Full front zipper closure
.: Two lined welt pockets at front
.: Dark blue polyester lining