30 April 1896, Laurens, South Carolina, USA, d. 5 May 1972, Hammonton, New Jersey, USA. This highly accomplished guitarist was self-taught from the age of six. Partially blind from an early age, he lost his sight during his late twenties. During the Depression years, he worked as a street singer in North Carolina, playing a formidable repertoire of spirituals, rags, marches and square dance tunes. In 1933, he was ordained as a Baptist minister and continued to tour as a gospel preacher, recording several spiritual and blues songs for ARC in the mid-30s. After moving to New York in 1940, he achieved some fame on the folk circuit and subsequently recorded for a number of labels, including Stinson, Riverside Records and Bluesway Records. Harlem Street Singer, released in 1960, was an impressive work, and one that emphasized his importance to a new generation of listeners. Davis taught guitar and greatly inspired Stefan Grossman, and among Davis other devotees...
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