Fred Davis Cleveland Blues

Release date:
November 17, 2023
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"Fred Davis was a legend, but only in my living room. There was always music around myhouse, but as a teenager, I started digging deeper and deeper in to the blues records in myDad's collection. That was when I started to get the Fred Davis story in fits and starts. Fredcould play like T-Bone Walker and sang in a high, keen voice like J.B. Lenoir, he said. He usedto front a jump band in Kansas City, before something went down that sent him to prison atLeavenworth. In the summer of 1967, he ended up working alongside my Dad at Harco, theCleveland factory where my grandfather was an executive. They became friends, bonding overthe B.B. King and Bobby Bland records blaring from the AM radio on the factory floor.Fred taught my Dad the rudiments of blues guitar, but his style. Instead of barring with his firstfinger, he wrapped his thumb around the back of the neck. That left his other fingers free tocreate big, ringing voicings that imitated the Kansas City horn sections he heard in his youth.Fred could play up and down the neck and, even when he played and sang just by himself, hesounded like a full band. Or, at least, so the legend went. These were only foggy memories fromthirty years previous, passed down from a father to a son.But then we found the tape. A quarter inch reel in a plain white cardboard box, hiding on a shelfin the attic. My Dad explained how it came to exist: He found some friends (acquaintancesreally) who had a band and some equipment. They setup in my grandparents living room wherethe upright piano was, and he invited Fred over to record some of his songs with the bandbacking him up. Invited him over, to play loud music, in his boss's living room. Sounds likesomething I would have done. The idea was that maybe if there were some recordings of Fredthat he could use them to get booked on the nascent college blues-revival circuit, but it wasn't tobe.We found a place nearby that could dub the tape and put it on a CD for us. When we finally gotthe transfer back, the legend became real. Fred really COULD sing like J.B. Lenoir and play likeT-Bone Walker. He really DID have his own style. And that style had now been passed on tome. Without even realizing it, I had learned to play like Fred Davis. Even now, when I sit down toplay the guitar or write a song and I wrap my thumb around the neck, I'm playing like he did.With this music now professionally transferred and remastered, I can only hope that Fred Daviscan finally receive the acclaim that he deserves; that he never received in his lifetime. Thelegend can finally go behind the confines of my living room and, with any luck, to the wholeworld."- Eli Paperboy Reed, fall 2022

  • 1. Wine Hop
  • 2. Drifting Blues
  • 3. Express Train
  • 4. Midnight Is Falling (Acoustic)
  • 5. Piano Boogie
  • 6. Time When You Say You Love Me
  • 7. Midnight Is Falling
  • 8. Euclid Avenue
  • 9. Five Long Years
  • 10. Wine Hop (Acoustic)
  • 11. Tell Me Pretty Baby

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