June 24, 2024


Website about Jazz and Blues

The two groups of women and men: Jazz and Blues. The Burney Sisters and Fred Davis – Cleveland Blues: Videos, Photos

The Cayamo Cruise, an Americana music festival at sea, is a pretty big deal. One of the events produced by music cruise specialists Sixthman, this year’s sailing marks the 15th edition of the event and will take place aboard the Norwegian Cruise Line ship Pearl Feb. 10-17, 2023 as she sails from Miami to the Caribbean destinations of Tortola in the British Virgin Islands and St. Maarten. 

Aboard will be a stellar group of performers including the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Jeff Tweedy, Patty Griffin, Neko Case, Andrew Bird, Trampled by Turtles, Shovels & Rope, Adia Victoria and dozens of others. Taking part in Cayamo this year for the first time ever will be the Burney Sisters: Olivia, Emma and Bella, an up-and-coming trio of actual sisters from Columbia, Missouri.

The Burney Sisters earned a spot on Cayamo by being one of three winners of the Cayamo Soundcheck competition. The young ladies (Bella is not yet a teen) were well set going into the contest, being veterans of festivals like Twangfest, Moccasin Creek, and their annual hometown blowout Roots N Blues – and having otherwise shared stages with the likes of Sheryl Crow, Brandi Carlile, and the Avett Brothers to name a few.

All three girls sing, and their songs are harmony-filled, backed by guitar from Olivia; guitar, bass, fiddle, cello, keyboards, banjo and you-name-it from Emma; and bass from Bella. The Burney Sisters have a very full sound in concert and on their recordings.

Fred Davis was a legend, but only in my living room. My Dad told me about him. He could play like T-Bone Walker and sang in a high, keen voice like J.B. Lenoir.

In the summer of 1969, while the Cuyahoga river fire burned, he worked alongside my Dad at Harco, the Cleveland factory where my grandfather was an executive. They became friends, bonding over the Bobby Bland records blaring from the AM radio on the factory floor.

Fred taught my Dad the rudiments of blues guitar, but his style. Fred could play up and down the neck and, even when he played and sang just by himself, he sounded like a full band. Or, at least, so the legend went. These were only foggy memories from thirty years previous, passed down from a father to a son.

But then we found the tape, a quarter inch reel in a plain white cardboard box. Recordings of Fred that my Dad had made in my grandparents living room more than 50 years ago. The idea was that maybe if there were some recordings of Fred that he could use them to get booked on the nascent college blues-revival circuit, but it wasn’t to be.

My Dad went on to college in Boston and Fred stayed in Cleveland, fronting his own band ‘Dave & The Blues Express’ until he met a tragic end: Shot and killed during a stickup at liquor store. If it weren’t for the tape, Fred ‘Dave’ Davis might be forgotten, but with its release, the legend can finally go behind the confines of my living room and, with any luck, to the whole world.

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