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James B. Davis (Born 6th June, 1916)

PostPosted: Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:58 am
by john poole
James Bodie Davis - born one hundred years ago today - 6th June, 1916 (Greenville, South Carolina) [died 17th April, 2007] In 1928 when aged twelve he was the founder of the Sterling High School Quartet, renamed the Dixie Hummingbirds in the following year.

Ira Tucker (who joined in 1938/9), James Walker, and Willie Bobo (bass) had a higher profile but Davis combined being their business manager and “disciplinarian” while continuing as a member of the group until he retired in 1984. The others were fined should they be caught "cursing", drinking alcohol, or “socialising” with women - Davis claimed that he once fined himself $20 after he played a Muddy Waters record by mistake on a jukebox instead of an intended gospel song. One of the group - Paul Owens - was dismissed in 1952 after being spotted at a racetrack betting on the horses and he only rejoined towards the end of the 80s after Davis’ retirement.

‘I’ll Live Again’ - the only Davis composition I could find; released on the Okeh label in 1952 before the Hummingbirds signed to Peacock Records
Ira Tucker; Paul Owens; Beechy Thompson (tenor); James Davis (baritone); Willie Bobo (bass)

Previously on SoTW - CG recalled seeing the group at the Apollo in 1965; and probably the only occasion that they were ever compared to the Barron Knights (there's one for the teenagers ...)