Carl Davis Biography

Carl Adams, 4 April 1934, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Davis was the prime mover in the flourishing of Chicago as a soul centre during the 60s and early 70s. In 1961, while moonlighting from his Columbia Records promotion job, Davis, in partnership with Bill ‘Bunky’ Sheppard, established the Nat/Pam/Wes label complex. Shortly afterwards, he established himself as a producer to be reckoned with when he produced Gene Chandler’s million-selling ‘Duke Of Earl’. Columbia, seeing his talents were misplaced, in 1962 hired him as a producer, first for some acts on its own imprint and later on their moribund OKeh label. Within a year Davis had OKeh thriving again, producing hits with the help of Curtis Mayfield compositions and Johnny Pate arrangements. Notable artists that he made into national hitmakers were Major Lance, Billy Butler And The Chanters, Walter Jackson, and the Artistics. Meanwhile, independently from OKeh he produced several hits for Gene Chandler on Constellation as well as Mary Wells’ classic ‘Dear Lover’. In 1965 he moved to the faltering Brunswick Records label and revived it with hits for Chandler, Jackie Wilson, Barbara Acklin, Tyrone Davis, and the Chi-lites. Davis established his own Chi-Sound label in 1976, but it was less successful as Davis struggled to keep up with the rapidly changing soul market, where vocal groups and stand-up southern-style soul singers were losing market share to self-contained funk bands. Davis still managed to place a few hits on the charts by old reliables such as Chandler, the Dells and Walter Jackson. Since the closing of Chi-Sound in 1984, Davis attempted several times to resurrect the company without success.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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