Guy Davis is an actor, writer, modern blues player with a strong sense of history, a great harmonica and acoustic guitar player and a tremendous songwriter.Davis’ influences clearly are his parents, Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee. Beyond that, the bio at his site cites Pete Seeger, Big Bill Broonzy, Lightin’ Hopkins, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Blind Willie McTell and Leadbelly. Davis has a special affinity for Terry.
Considering his lineage, it is not surprising that Davis also is a writer and actor. He had a lead role in “Beat Street” opposite Rae Dawn Chong in 1984 and a two-year stint on the soap opera “One Life to Live.” Davis was on Broadway in “Mulebone,” a musical written by Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. The production featured the music of Taj Mahal. Among other acting ventures, Davis wrote “In Bed with the Blues: The Adventures of Fishy Waters,” which ran off Broadway and, according to Wikipedia, was praised by critics. The Wikipedia profile highlights several writing projects as well.
Below is “Like Sonny Did,” performed with Fabrizio Poggi, an Italian harmonica player which whom he has toured and produced an album.Above is “That’s No Way to Get Along” by the blues player Robert Wilkins. The song was changed significantly by The Rolling Stones and became “Prodigal Son” on the “Beggar’s Banquet” album. It’s a great song, but the changes are deeper than the lyrics. Davis alluded to it during a performance last weekend at The Third Annual Folk Festival at Morgan Park in Glen Cove, which is on Long Island. It raises some interesting issues and I am going to put in my two cents soon.