Cow Cow Davenport Vol 2 1929-1945
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Cow Cow Davenport
Complete Recorded Works (1 October 1925 1945)
Vol. 2: 22nd May 1929 to 1945
Featuring the recordings of:
Cow Cow Davenport, piano solo / speech on 1. Cow Cow Davenport, piano solo. Memphis Sam And John: Sam Tarpley, Cow Cow Davenport, vocal duet on 5; Sam Tarpley, Ivy Smith, vocal duet on 6; accompanied by Cow Cow Davenport, piano. Charlie Davenport And Ivy Smith: Cow Cow Davenport, Ivy Smith, vocal duet; accompanied by Cow Cow Davenport, piano. Cow Cow Davenport, vocal, accompanied by Joe Bishop, flugelhorn; Sammy Price, piano; Teddy Bunn, guitar / vocal on 14; Richard Fullbright, stand-up bass Cow Cow Davenport, piano / vocal on 15, 16.
Genres: Blues, Jazz, Boogie-woogie, Alabama Blues, Country Blues, Blues Piano, Female Blue, Blues Violin, Blues Guitar, Country Blues Guitar, Female Blues, Jazz Guitar, Piano Solo
Abridged from this albums original booklet notes. 1928 and ’29 were the good years for Cow Cow Davenport. He was on the staff of Vocalion Records, paid $ 85 a week as a composer, owned a large apartment at 35th & Wabash and had money in the bank. Further he claimed he was even owed $ 3000 royalties on his Paramount sessions. The road beckoned again and with Iva (possibly her correct name?) Smith he put together “Cow Cow’s Chicago Steppers” review. Sinking all his money into it but charging the bus to Paramount, against the owed royalties. He hired musicians, acrobats, comedians and showgirls and, on the eve of the Depression, took to the road. Kansas City was a successful first stop but when they moved down South to Dallas, “things began to break bad”. With no money left the show broke up in Mobile and Cow Cow, who’d pawned the bus several times, ended up in jail and with pneumonia. On release, six months later, arthritis set in and he lost the use of his right arm. Still trying, he joined up with Haeg’s Circus in Florida as a minstrel and eventually made his way to his sister’s in Cleveland. Gradually, he started to play again and when he met Peggy Taylor, a performer who did a dance with snakes and had a show in the city, Cow Cow couldn’t resist. “When you see shows, you always want to join them” he said. He introduced himself as a comedian and he was off on the road again. There was still trouble – this time with the snakes, police and, not surprisingly, landladies. Back in Cleveland, Peggy went to work for the city and Cow Cow kept writing Mayo Williams, now at Decca, who set up the 1938 session. With Sam Price and a bunch of New York musicians he recorded two earlier songs he’d written for Sam Theard; I Ain’t No Ice Man and That’ll Get It and, of course, the vocal version of Cow Cow Blues. (Incidentally the original “Iceman” was the precursor of Bo Carter‘s All Around Man.) Despite the good songs it was not a happy session. Cow Cow only sang (Teddy Bunn remembered Don’t You Loudmouth Me, and Davenport as a loudmouth too) and one can imagine Cow Cow Davenport the old-fashioned, once famous entertainer down on his luck, and desperate for a comeback but his brilliant piano-playing just a memory, trying to impress a slick New York house-band. Cow Cow Davenport was to play piano again, from time to time, in small clubs and jobs engineered by collectors, while working as a washroom attendant and on record for J. H. Alderton Jr‘s Comet label in 1945. A vocal session with Peggy for Rudi Blesh‘s Circle label remains unissued. His last years of poverty on Scoville Avenue in the heart of the Cleveland ghetto have a depressing familiar ring to them. Local jazz enthusiasts had persuaded A.S.C.A.R to admit Cow Cow as a member and there was a small royalty cheque each month – but not from “Cow Cow Boogie”, a pop song he’d signed away to Leeds Music for $500 in 1942.Mike Rowe Copyright 1993 Document Records