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Cyril Davies

Cyril Davies was born on 23/01/1932 in Denham, Buckinghamshire, England. In the early 1950s, Davies started his career in Steve Lane's Southern Stompers. Davies had a day job as a panel beater and would run an unsuccessful skiffle club.
In 1955, Davies formed an acoustic skiffle and blues group with Alexis Korner. They also opened a London Rhythm and Blues club called England's Firstest and Bestest Skiffle Club, which was later called London Blues and Barrelhouse Club. The club would host musicians such as Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Memphis Slim. Originally Davies played the banjo and 12 string guitar before he switched to playing Chicago blues-style harmonica. Davies and Korner would both work as session musicians and would often back Ottilie Patterson during her set with husband Chris Barber's band. For those sets, they would play using amplified instruments which were frowned upon by their blues purist audience. When they closed the club, Davies and Korner went separate ways and Davies formed an electric blues band.
In 1961, Chris Barber recruited Davies and Korner to accompany his band at twice weekly sets at the Marquee Club a jazz club in London. Davies and Korner wanted to focus more on blues and R&B. They formed their own rhythm and blues group and Barber offered them the intermission slot at the Marquee once a week. Korner recruited musicians for the rhythm sections and Davies recruited Art Wood and Long John Baldry as vocalists. The new group was called Blues Incorporated.
In 1962, Davies and Korner formed the Ealing Club. The club was formed so that they put on Blues Incorporated sets, as clubs were wary of electric guitars at the time and also to put on Trad jazz outfits. It attracted future stars such as Mick Jagger and Eric Burdon. In June 1962, they recorded R&B from the Marquee (recorded in Decca Record's studio). They then went on a UK tour. In October, Davies left the band. The band had been split over the music they wanted to play. Some members wanted to play a greater variety of rock and roll numbers, whilst Davies and others wanted to play only genuine Chicago R&B.
Davies then formed Cyril Davies All-Stars. The members were mostly recruited from Screaming Lord Sutch's Savages and had both Long John Baldry and Davies on vocals. The lineup would frequently change over time. They recorded five tracks for Pye Records.
In 1963, Davies contracted pleurisy. He started to drink heavily to numb the pain.
On 07/01/1964, Davies collapsed and died at a nightclub on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham, London. The official cause of death was endocarditis.

The Music History Calendar is written by the Blues Rock artist Marshland Pete
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