An Afternoon With Reverend Gary Davis; Allegheny College, Meadville, P.A., 1964
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Rev. Gary Davis: vocal, guitar, banjo, harmonica.
Genres: blues, ragtime-guitar, blues harmonica, banjo, Piedmont
Informative booklet notes by Gary Atkinson
The Reverend Gary Davis was one of the best known and most well received artists of the concert stage during the blues and gospel revival period of the 1960s and 70s. His pre-war recordings remain as outstanding examples of the “Guitar Evangelist” genre. Not only was he a fine ragtime and blues guitarist but he was also fearsome singer with the voice of preacher and street singer. With many studio albums and countless concert appearances behind him it was in the role of a music teacher that he excelled. Among his earliest pupils was Blind Boy Fuller!
This CD captures the Reverend in the relaxed atmosphere of an afternoon workshop at Allegheny University, Pennsylvania , playing his guitar, harmonica and banjo to an enthralled audience. Within days of this concert the Reverend announced to an audience at the University of Indiana:
“I just want to show you a little about the guitar. If you happen to come to New York. If you happen to come there look for 3826 Park Avenue. If you want to learn how to play the guitar don’t come calling me “Honey”, bring your money! And then I teach you how to play. I don’t promise to give you no brains. Now, if you ain’t got no brains, don’t come to me because I’m too big a fool, myself. You see, and if you come with some brains then you and my brains get together then and help me be able to teach you what you want. It ain’t but five dollars, you see, and I guarantee you that it’ll be worth ten dollars to you. Come to me. I’m asking you to come to me because I got what you need. I ain’t got what you want but I got what you need, you see. Because some of you all want to come out in life, get out of life in music and if you come to me I’ll take pain to teach you. I don’t teach for five dollars an hour but bring me five dollars and I guarantee you that you will know something before you leave (even) if it’s no more than I took your money! That’s right. I’m be sure that you tell somebody that I took your money. You tell somebody that. But I’m going to be sure to do something for that money, if I take it, you understand. How about that?”
For so many, who watched, listened and learned at the hands of the Reverend Gary Davis, “that” was just fine.