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Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis

Say No to the Devil The Life and Musical Genius of Rev Gary Davis Who was the greatest of all American guitarists You probably didn t name Gary Davis but many of his musical contemporaries considered him without peer Bob Dylan called Davis one of the wizards of mod

  • Title: Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis
  • Author: Ian Zack
  • ISBN: 9780226234106
  • Page: 155
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Who was the greatest of all American guitarists You probably didn t name Gary Davis, but many of his musical contemporaries considered him without peer Bob Dylan called Davis one of the wizards of modern music Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead who took lessons with Davis claimed his musical ability transcended any common notion of a bluesman And the folklorist Alan LomWho was the greatest of all American guitarists You probably didn t name Gary Davis, but many of his musical contemporaries considered him without peer Bob Dylan called Davis one of the wizards of modern music Bob Weir of the Grateful Dead who took lessons with Davis claimed his musical ability transcended any common notion of a bluesman And the folklorist Alan Lomax called him one of the really great geniuses of American instrumental music But you won t find Davis alongside blues legends Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Despite almost universal renown among his contemporaries, Davis lives today not so much in his own work but through covers of his songs by Dylan, Jackson Browne, and many others, as well as in the untold number of students whose lives he influenced The first biography of Davis, Say No to the Devil restores the Rev s remarkable story Drawing on extensive research and interviews with many of Davis s former students, Ian Zack takes readers through Davis s difficult beginning as the blind son of sharecroppers in the Jim Crow South to his decision to become an ordained Baptist minister and his move to New York in the early 1940s, where he scraped out a living singing and preaching on street corners and in storefront churches in Harlem There, he gained entry into a circle of musicians that included, among many others, Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, and Dave Van Ronk But in spite of his tremendous musical achievements, Davis never gained broad recognition from an American public that wasn t sure what to make of his trademark blend of gospel, ragtime, street preaching, and the blues His personal life was also fraught, troubled by struggles with alcohol, women, and deteriorating health Zack chronicles this remarkable figure in American music, helping us to understand how he taught and influenced a generation of musicians.

    • Free Read [Travel Book] ↠ Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis - by Ian Zack ✓
      155 Ian Zack
    • thumbnail Title: Free Read [Travel Book] ↠ Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis - by Ian Zack ✓
      Posted by:Ian Zack
      Published :2018-08-04T15:25:30+00:00

    1 thought on “Say No to the Devil: The Life and Musical Genius of Rev. Gary Davis

    1. I am only rarely drawn to read biographies of musicians, but this one was a keeper, and deservedly shines the spotlight on an under-heralded musician. I was no stranger to the music of Reverend Gary Davis before reading this book, and while it likely does help to have at least a passing acquaintance with the songs, you could also do as I found myself doing: listen to the old recordings in sequence as the book progressed through Davis' life. I was struck by just how many familiar names popped up [...]

    2. Well-written, well-researched and very sympathetic without ever becoming patronising. Interesting to have a fuller account of the religious aspects of his work, for him the most important part, although he was pragmatic enough to play more blues (especially when in Europe). A classic example of a musician the recognition of whose art has been hampered by it falling between two stools - not really considered enough of a blues man but almost completely ignored as a gospel singer. Having read the f [...]

    3. I didn’t need to read a book ABOUT Reverend Gary Davis to know what a giant in music he was, and still is. It was Gary Davis, channeled through the first Hot Tuna album in 1970 that got me started listening to this guitar genius. Jorma of Hot Tuna was playing songs like “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” and “Hesitation Blues,” and I just had to find out who this Davis guy was who was credited with the songs. A somewhat novice guitar player at the time, I had no idea how Rev. Davis did what [...]

    4. The Reverend Gary Davis was blind, black and a preacher. For most of his life he preached, with his guitar, on street corners. He was also one of the most outstanding, original guitar players of a century dominated by that instrument. Yet he's fairly marginal in most histories of popular music. This is an excellent biography. It's well-written and enjoyable to read. Zack not only writes well but refuses to sanitise Davis. The book is both entertaining and informative and as one of the blurbs sug [...]

    5. I would have given 5 stars just because this book exists, but it gives terrific insight and fills in a lot of holes I had in the good Reverend's history. And I can't help but think that the biography of at least one old blues cat should be mandatory reading in American history classes. Regardless, it is amazing to see how close this man came to huge reward, and either by choice or chance never hit it big. But he seemed to have found his place in the world. A list of his students is all the testi [...]

    6. An exceptional biography of the preeminent blues guitarist and street preacher who taught and influenced thousands of musicians, famous and unknown. A rich, colorful, insightful portrait of a fascinating, complicated man.

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