When Cyril Davies died on 7th January 1964, the British Blues scene lost one of its leading lights and, as his long-time musical collaborator, Alexis Korner stated, ‘by far the finest blues harmonica player in Britain.’ Born in Denham in Buckinghamshire, on 23rd January 1932, Davies developed a fascination with American Blues music from an early age, and grew up idolising artists such as Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Lead Belly. Starting out as a banjo and guitar player, Davies soon discovered that he was an exceptionally talented harmonica player, and by the 1950s, he had begun touring with Steve Lane’s Southern Stompers, before creating his own skiffle band with fellow Blues musician Korner in 1955.
To promote their own music, as well as the Blues acts they loved, Davies and Korner founded The London Blues and Barrelhouse Club together. The pair frequently gigged at some of the most respected Blues clubs in the country and Davies continued to play guitar and harmonica, as well as providing vocals for Korner’s new group, Blues Incorporated. So impressed was the trombonist Chris Barber after hearing the instrumentals they had supplied for his wife, the singer Ottilie Patterson, he asked Korner and Davies to provide the guitar and harmonica for his album Chris Barber’s Blues Book and also offered them a regular slot at the Marquee Club, a popular Jazz nightspot on Oxford Street. Continue reading