Melvin Davis - His Story by Rob Moss
Around 2004 I was running a website for Melvin Davis . It was set up to promote his short Uk tour and also a cd that had been released by Hayley Records. Am sure that anyone who met him and his son when they were over would agree with me when I say that he is a great genuine guy. So when Rob Moss asked if wanted to use the sleeve notes for this section it was a no brainer.
The sleeve notes are from the cd entitled Melvin Davis - His Greatest Recordings and though released in 2004 I think it is still availble, either via the usual outlets or indeed thru the Hayley website.
Also featured is a radio interview that is up in the refosoul radio section (see end for link), from the same Uk visit, it features both Melvin and his son being interviewed by Dean Anderson on his Boundary Sound Radio show.and is well worth a listen.
The latest news on Melvin from Rob W, is that he may be visiting these shores again soon, and recently had some good news as a cover version of "Chains of Love " was featured in an award winning film, which should mean that some well deserved royalties will be winging their way to both Melvin and also JJ Barnes.
Anyway back to the main thrust, here's the sleeve notes from the cd from Rob Moss which as you can read the depth and background do justify renaming from "sleeve notes" to the Melvin Davis - His Story...
Melvin Davis - His Story By Rob Moss
Melvin Davis is one of the most gifted individuals to emerge from the Detroit music scene of the early 1960’s. His talents are prestigious, encompassing almost every aspect of the recording and performing process, and directly contributing to the wealth of material that came out of the city in the last five decades. From his first recording for the tiny Jackpot label in 1961, as a teenager, to the latest collection ‘Melvin Davis — His Greatest Recordings’, the quality and consistency of Melvin Davis’ music is of the very highest standard.
Melvin Davis was part of a generation of Detroit musicians and performers who made an indelible impression on the development of music in America, throughout the latter part of the twentieth century, and well into the new millennium. Like many of his contempories, Davis grew up steeped in the jazz, blues and R&B stylings that the city had become famous for in the 1940s and 1950s. By 1960 several local artists had gained national prominence, among them Jackie Wilson and Marv Johnson, and Berry Gordy's fledgling Motown set up was beginning to establish itself as a successful and lucrative operation. Many local entrepreneurs saw an opportunity to emulate Gordy's success, and scores of small record labels emerged, eager to audition and record the huge pool of musical talent that abounded. Melvin Davis’ love for music grew and developed throughout his childhood and early adolescence — by his late teens the natural talent he possessed had been transformed into a tangible musical output. “I always had my own band, even from the early days. There were lots of guys who wanted to perform when we were young. Not all of them could cut it though.” Davis recalled in a 2003 interview.
As the leader of his own musical group, The Jaywalkers, he had not only mastered keyboards and guitar, but had become something of a principal on his preferred instrument, the drums. The line up of The Jaywalkers gives a fascinating insight into the depth of talent that existed in Detroit at that time — Leroy Emmanuel, Cornelius Grant (who would late become The Temptations’ musical director), Clyde Wilson ( Steve Mancha), Tony Newton (latterly a Motown staff bassist and 8th Day member) and vocalist David Ruffin would all treasure the invaluable experience they gained in the group during those early days. “We had so much fun back then. We would squeeze all of us and all of our instruments into my station wagon and we’d go and play somewhere. In town or around the State. We would play all over.” Enduring friendships were developed as The Jaywalkers played at almost every ski lodge, local dance hall and college campus throughout rural and urban Michigan, particularly between Davis, Wilson and Ruffin. “They used to call us the ‘Three Amigos’ ‘cause we were so tight. We did everything together. We used to share the driving but had to ban David in the end. He was a crazy driver. Two separate times he drove into a snow bank!”
note from the soul source team - sorry but all Robs non-current articles are now clipped due to a future book release - watch out for news of that!