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I cut him with my Barlow, I kicked him in the side, I stood there laughing over him, while he wallowed 'round and died - Bessie Smith, Send Me To The 'Lectric Chair

Author Topic: Cedell Davis in Little Rock Friday December 18  (Read 1283 times)

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Cedell Davis in Little Rock Friday December 18
« on: December 15, 2009, 02:04:27 PM »
I am honored to play behind Mr. Cedell Davis on Friday, December 18, 2009 at the Whitewater Tavern in Little Rock, Arkansas.  Cedell is a classic MUST SEE.  Davis is most notable for his distinctive style of guitar playing. Davis plays guitar using a table knife in his fretting hand in a manner similar to slide guitar, resulting in a welter of metal-stress harmonic transients and a singular tonal plasticity. He uses this style out of necessity. When he was 10, he suffered from severe polio which left him little control over his left hand and restricted use of his right.[1] He had been playing guitar prior to his polio and decided to continue in spite of his handicap, and developed his knife method as the only way he could come up with of still playing guitar.

Davis was born in Helena, where his family worked on a local plantation. He enjoyed music from a young age, playing harmonica and guitar with his childhood friends.

Once he sufficiently mastered his variation on slide guitar playing, Davis began playing in various nightclubs across the Mississippi Delta area. He played with Robert Nighthawk for a ten year period from 1953 to 1963. While playing in a club in 1957, a police raid caused the crowd to stampede over Davis. Both of his legs were broken in this incident and he was forced to use a wheelchair from then on. The hardships resulting from his physical handicaps were a major influence in his lyrics and style of blues playing.

In recent times, Davis' music has been released by the Fat Possum Records label to much critical acclaim. His 1994 album, produced by Robert Palmer, Feel Like Doin' Something Wrong, received a 9.0 from Pitchfork Media who called it "timeless."

The Best Of CeDell Davis (1995) was also released, with help from Col. Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit. The Horror of It All followed in 1998. Davis took time away from recording after these releases, and spent the next four years writing and performing. When he returned to the recording studio, he drafted musicians like R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and The Screaming Trees' Barrett Martin. The final results, When Lightnin' Struck the Pine, arrived in 2002.[1]

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Cedell Davis in Little Rock Friday December 18
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2009, 12:43:53 AM »
Pleased to hear he's still out there doing his thing.

FWIW between March and May 1976 Louis Guida travelled throughout Arkansas recording a variety of then as yet unrecorded bluesmen one of whom was Davis. In 1980 Rooster Records released many of these including several by Davis. Guida's interview with Davis was published in Living Blues 32 (May-June 1977) and covered six pages with photographs.

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