CeDell Davis Biography

Ellis Davis, 9 June 1927, Helena, Arkansas, USA. An excellent slide guitar and harmonica player, the crippling effects of childhood polio denied Davis the full use of his hands. He adapted his style to use a butter knife for a slide. Davis began playing around the Mississippi Delta, performing briefly as a member of the King Biscuits Time entertainers in the early 50s with Sonny Boy ‘Rice Miller’ Williamson. He joined leading slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk’s band in 1953, a valuable association that lasted over ten years. Tragedy struck in 1957, however, when Davis was badly injured in a stampede at a St. Louis tavern, crippling him even further and confining him to a wheelchair. In 1961 he moved back to Helena, and then to Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and continued to work locally and occasionally with Nighthawk, who along with Tampa Red, was a predominant influence on his guitar playing. In the 90s, having only previously appeared on compilation sets, Davis was signed as a solo artist by Fat Possum Records. In 1994, he released the acclaimed Feel Like Doin’ Something Wrong, produced by blues journalist Robert Palmer. Another fine set, The Horror Of It All, followed in 1998.

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

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