Just a head's up that I'll be out of town the next couple of weeks so there will be no new shows. We will be running some older shows those weeks so tune in live or to the stream. Also make sure to listen to the new “Jazz90.1 Swing & Blues” stream (see the previous post).
Wed 20 Jul 2016
Jazz90.1 WGMC-FM is pleased to announce they will launch a brand new internet radio station beginning this summer. The new stream, “Jazz90.1 Swing & Blues”, will feature 108 hours of classic and new blues music each week from 6 a.m. Monday – 6 p.m. Friday, and big band music all weekend long from 6 p.m. Friday – 6 a.m. Monday. The new internet station is expected to launch by Aug. 1, streaming live on www.jazz901.org and via its free mobile app for iPhone and Android. The station will include rebroadcast programs already enjoyed on Jazz90.1 FM, such as Sinatra and Co., Dick Robinson’s American Standards by the Sea, Big Band Friday, Blues Spectrum, Big Road Blues and more. Click here for the program schedule. Stayed tuned as we announce the link to the new stream soon.
If you have the Jazz90.1 app for your iPhone or Android device you can be one of the first to check out the new Jazz90.1 Swing and Blues internet radio station! On Monday July 25 at 9 a.m., those with the app can tune in and enjoy our brand new station before anyone else! You can download it for free in the iTunes app store or Google Play Store.
Sun 17 Jul 2016
|Maxwell Davis||Bristol Drive||Wailin' Daddy|
|Geechie Smith||T-Town Jump||Wailin' Daddy|
|Helen Humes||It's Better To Give Than Receive||Wailin' Daddy|
|Jo Jo Adams||When I'm In My Tea||Jo Jo Adams 1946-1953|
|Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown||Without My Baby||Wailin' Daddy|
|Effie Smith||Effie's Boogie||Wailin' Daddy|
|Maxwell Davis||Belmont Special||Wailin' Daddy|
|Gene Phillips||Rock Bottom||Drinkin' And Stinkin'|
|Lloyd Glenn||Jumpin' With Lloyd||Wailin' Daddy|
|Betty Hall Jones||The Same Old Boogie||Wailin' Daddy|
|Little Miss Cornshucks||Cornshuck's Blues||Wailin' Daddy|
|Jimmy Liggins||Homecoming Blues||Jimmy Liggins and His Drops of Joy|
|Jimmy Witherspoon||Money Eyes Woman||Jimmy Witherspoon 1947-1948|
|Big Joe Turner||Rainy Weather Blues||Tell Me Pretty Baby|
|Maxwell Davis||Boogie Cocktails||Wailin' Daddy|
|Crown Prince Waterford||Love Awhile||Wailin' Daddy|
|Felix Gross||Peaceful Lovin'||Wailin' Daddy|
|Amos Milburn||I'm Gonna Tell My Mama||The Complete Aladdin Recordings|
|Maxwell Davis||Cool Diggin'||Wailin' Daddy|
|Charles Brown||Seven Long Days||The Complete Aladdin Recordings|
|Joe Liggins||Going Back to New Orleans||Wailin' Daddy|
|Percy Mayfield||Strange Things Happening||Percy Mayfield 1947-1951|
|Peppermin Harris||I Sure Do Miss My Baby||I Got Loaded|
|Floyd Dixon||Real Lovin' Mama||Wailin' Daddy|
|Eddie Johnson||Mr. Juice Head||Wailin' Daddy|
|T-Bone Walker||Alimony Blues||The Complete Recordings of T-Bone Walker 1940-1954|
|Maxwell Davis||Thunderbird||Wailin' Daddy|
|Little Willie Littlefield||Real Fine Mama||Kat On The Keys|
|Mabel Scott||Wailin' Daddy||Wailin' Daddy|
|Calvin Boze||Blow Man Blow||Jumpin' Like Mad|
|Ray Hawkins||It's Hard||Bad Luck Is Falling|
|Jimmy Nelson||Cry Hard Luck||Wailin' Daddy|
|Maxwell Davis||Rocking With Maxie||Father of West Coast R&B|
|Etta James||Crazy Feeling||The Complete Modern and Kent Recordings 1955-1961|
|B.B. King||Dark Is The Night||The Vintage Years|
Today's show is inspired by Wailin' Daddy: The Best of Maxwell Davis 1945-1959 a great 3-CD compiled by Dave Penny for the Fantastic Voyage label a few years back. Several other sax themed shows will follow in upcoming weeks. Unsung hero is term often thrown around but in cases like Maxwell Davis it certainly fits. Outside of hardcore collectors he's little remembered today which I suppose is the fate of a musician who stayed largely in the background. Up until the Fantastic Voyage release he was not well served on reissues; there was the Ace release in the 80's, Father Of The West Coast R & B and Official issued Maxwell Davis and his Tenor Sax around the same time. Singles under his name were issued during his heyday, some released as a 10" in 1954, there were a couple of albums he did that paid homage to the big bands and the oddball 1966 album, Batman Theme (reissued in 2000 by BGP Records under the title Batman And Other Themes By Maxwell Davis). There has been little written about Davis as well, outside of a few Encyclopedia entries and it doesn't seem he was interviewed before his passing in 1970.
As legendary songwriter Jerry Leiber said: "I think Phil [Spector] made some good records, but I know a lot of people who made better records and more of them, and no one knows who they are! Maxwell Davis…I doubt if you’ve ever heard that name – but Maxwell Davis made records, he was the quiet producer/arranger for the Mesner brothers at Aladdin, the Bihari brothers at Modern and Art Rupe at Specialty. Maxwell Davis must have made a hundred hits, not 12 or 17. And nobody knows who Maxwell Davis is today!" Among those hits were Percy Mayfield’s “Please Send Me Someone to Love”, Joe Liggins’ “Pink Champagne”, Amos Milburn’s “Chicken Shack Boogie” and “Bad, Bad Whiskey” and Peppermint Harris' “I Got Loaded.” Davis' work as a saxophonist, bandleader, arranger and producer has earned him the title "Father of West Coast R&B." The labels with which Davis was associated represent a stunning role call of the major players in Post war R&B: legendary indies such as Aladdin/Philo, Modern/RPM, Imperial/Colony, King/Federal, Exclusive/Excelsior, Specialty, Down Beat/Swing Time and Black & White, as well as major labels like Capitol, Decca/Brunswick, Mercury and RCA Victor, and smaller operations like Supreme, Pacific, Miltone and Chesterfield. He can be heard on hundreds of records by artists such as Gatemouth Brown, Gene Phillips, Jimmy and Joe Liggins, Amos Milburn, Charles Brown, Floyd Dixon, Etta James, B.B. King, T-Bone Walker, Percy Mayfield and many, many others. Davis also cut some fine singles under his own name. Today's show focuses less on the well known songs, spotlighting more of the lesser known gems from Davis' vast catalog.
Maxwell Davis originally hailed from Independence, Kansas where he was born in 1916. By the age of twelve he was practicing hard on the saxophone having already tried the violin and piano. A few years later he had formed his own group and at the age of seventeen earned a berth in the territory band of Gene Coy. In 1937 he moved to Los Angeles and began working with the Fletcher Henderson Orchestra before forming a small group for club gigs. As the war came to an end, the Los Angeles R&B scene boomed and Maxwell worked as a freelance musician and arranger for the numerous record companies which were springing up on the West Coast. Among his earliest sides on record are from 1945 where he backed artists like Helen Humes and Geechie Smith.
In 1948 he signed a contract with Aladdin Records which within a year became the top selling R&B label in the country. He recorded with Jo Jo Adams for Aladdin Records in 1946 on several numbers. Davis also recorded "Guitar In My Hands" and "Without Me baby" with Gatemouth Brown for Aladdin. Davis begins the year 1950 on the Swing Time Records label backing artists such as Felix Gross, Big Speed McDaniel, Lowell Fulson and others. In January of 1951 Modern Records releases a Maxwell Davis record from the masters of Swing Time, the tunes "Belmont Special" and "Boogie Cocktails." In August of the year Peppermint Harris records with Maxwell Davis & His All Stars cutting "I Got Loaded" and "It's You Yes It's You" on Aladdin. "Loaded" became a huge hit and Davis became in high demand as a music arranger and session musician. During this time Modern records issued another two tunes under Davis' name:"Bristol Drive" and "Resistor."
In 1952 several Davis singles were released by Aladdinincluding "Glory Of Love" and "Blue Tango" and "Blue Shuffle" and "Popsicle." In October Swing Time released "Little White Lies" and "Don't Worry About Me." In 1955 Davis left Aladdin Records after almost five years and moved to Modern Records becoming musical director. In December 1952 Davis waxed two instrumentals,"Thunderbird" and "Bluesville" on Modern's RPM subsidiary.
As John Broven wrote in his book Record Makers and Breakers: "By now, Maxwell Davis was in charge of the Modern sessions and, with a coterie of high-caliber musicians, was giving the productions an indelible stamp of class. His arrangements owed much to the swing-band era sounds of Fletcher Henderson (for whom he played tenor saxophone), Duke Ellington, Jimmie Lunceford, and Artie Shaw. Recalled Joe Bihari, 'Maxwell had been in Florida where Louis Jordan had lost his book of songs, all his arrangements. So Louis called Maxwell to rearrange all his songs. When he came back, somebody rammed Maxwell’s car head-on. He was okay, but he was in [the] hospital for a while . . . not good for a black man in Georgia. It wasn’t his fault; he was all cut up. He needed a job, and that’s when I hired Maxwell. We had used him before. He did the arrangements for Gene Phillips [Modern] in the late ’40s, he did a lot of Amos Milburn things for Aladdin, and [he] played sax on Ray Anthony’s ‘Idaho’ on Capitol [in 1952]. Maxwell had a very definite sound with the saxophone, [a] great big sound. He was a very fine musician and a wonderful man, wonderful family.'
The value of Maxwell Davis to the Bihari organization cannot be overstated, even if at times, said Joe Bihari, he coasted lazily on his abundant talent and did tend to hit the bottle. But in assimilating rhythm and blues music with rock ’n’ roll, he was a black A&R man who was making as much creative impact as Henry Glover at King, Jesse Stone at Atlantic, and Dave Bartholomew at Imperial. B. B. King was Maxwell Davis’s premier assignment. 'He was so good at writing [arrangements], so good,' said King. 'I don’t think I’ve ever met anybody that could write a blues [song] like Maxwell Davis, before or since. He was unknown outside the industry, but he made a lot of records for a lot of people.'”
In the late sixties Davis was working on Modern’s re-activated Kent label, producing blues hits by Lowell Fulson, Z.Z. Hill and B.B. King. He was still working when he died of a heart attack in September 1970.