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Oh, What A Beautiful City

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  • Compiled by: Robert Tilling Publisher: Alfred Publishing
    Hard Copy   $24.95  Item Number:  22156

    Oh, What A Beautiful City

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    Description

    A Tribute To Rev. Gary Davis

    1896 – 1972

    Compiled by Robert Tilling

    “Well thought out and beautifully illustrated with dozens of rare photographs. “Oh What A Beautiful City” is a welcome addition to the library of any true blues lover.”  – Brett J. Bonner/Living Blues

    “Reading this book makes you want to hear the man’s music and if that is Tilling’s objective then he has done the Rev. Davis proud.”   – David Lands/Jazz Journal

    “If you have an interest in blues, in gospel singing and in guitar playing of the highest order do not miss this book which is very highly recommended.”  – Jerry Whitehead/Storyville

    "British journalist and writer Robert Tilling lovingly compiled this touching tribute to Reverend Gary Davis. His enthusiasm for the Reverend's powerful music started after seeing him on his first UK concert tour in 1964. In 1993 a limited edition of this book was released. We are happy and proud to announce that it is once again available.

    The book presents a kaleidoscope of images (to quote from Paul Oliver’s perceptive and enlightening introduction). Rotating around a host of black and white photographs (spanning 1952 to 1972) the reader is presented with a biographical chronology, colourful anecdotes from fellow musicians and record producers (John Townley’s recollections are fascinating), concert reviews (favourable and otherwise), selected record reviews, obituaries and a discography. This inventive approach brings to the page a vividness of character that standard format biographies can often fail to achieve. Thus, via Tilling, we learn from others that Gary Davis was by turns a switch-blade-carrying street musician, a compassionate man of God (braving a white’s only hospital ward to preach over the dying Woody Guthrie) as well as a guitarist with the ability to ‘teach a slug to use silverware’ (to quote a former pupil of Davis). The all pervasive impression created by Tilling with his use of this material is that, although the book is about a guitar playing gospel singer whose name happens be Gary Davis, it is the story of a ‘universal human being’ (to paraphrase Buffy St. Marie)." – Alan Balfour/Blues & Rhythm 78

    Review: You - along with Blind Boy Fuller, the Grateful Dead, John Cephas, Jackson Browne, Taj Mahal, and legions more have been soni_ cally baptized by Rev. Gary Davis , virtuosic ragtime guitar and hellfire bark. You've, hopefully, witnessed the blind master in action (most recently, courtesy of the Davis Video Collection DVD). And you now have a new and improved field-guide to both the man and his music in Oh, What A Beautiful City. By lovingly compiling its 166 pages worth of collective memories and facts, Robert Tilhng succeeds in conveying the magic which still captivates generations. Chapters are portioned into chronological life events (1896-1972); personal reminiscences from scores of musicians, friends, students, and even the guy who sold Davis "Miss Bozo," his 12-string guitar; vintage concert reviews; album and video reviews (from the day up through 2009); original obituaries; a discography; a bibliography; and an over-stuffed appendix of all-things-musically Davis. Historical documents, concert posters, Davis quotes, and photographs galore add extra zing. It's all here: from a '61 New York Times distillation of the Harlem Street Singer LP through revelations about the good reverend's quick draw with a knife or his pipe's knack for unknowingly setting carpet fires. – Dennis Rozanski/BluesRag


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