Jesse "Ed" DAVIS – Jesse Davis 1970

Jesse “Ed” DAVIS – Jesse Davis 1970


Swamp Rocker the best albums of the 1st Jesse Ed Davis. I think that hides board and 70s rock. Earthy scent drifts across the album. Lazy vocals are the best guitar exquisite touch. Eric Clapton, Leon Russell, in addition to John Simon, luxury and great performances by the guest, as well as roots rock fan, I would recommend the piece for all music lovers.
This first solo release from session-guitarist extraordinaire Jesse Ed Davis celebrates the ethos of early-’70s album making; namely, renting a studio for a weekend, supplying lots of drugs and alcohol, and then inviting a few dozen of your closest friends over to record. The album itself is filled with cameos by Davis’ musician pals: Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, and Gram Parsons among them. However, it does neither the all-star backing musicians, nor Davis, much credit. With the exception of Van Morrison’s “Crazy Love,” most of the album was penned by Davis, and in spite of some strong rockers (“Every Night Is Saturday Night for Me,”) the downplaying of Davis’ exemplary soloing ability does the guitarist a disservice.
By Steve Kurutz, All Music Guide.
Born in Norman, Oklahoma, Davis began his musical career in Oklahoma City. His father, Jesse Ed Davis II, was Muscogee Creek and Seminole while his mother’s side was Kiowa. He graduated from Northeast High School in 1962.

Davis began his musical career in the late 1950s playing in Oklahoma City and surrounding cities with John Ware (later Emmylou Harris’ drummer), John Selk (later Donovan’s bass player), Jerry Fisher (later Blood, Sweat & Tears vocalist) Mike Boyle, Chris Frederickson, drummer Bill Maxwell (later Andrae Crouch and Koinonia) and others.

By the mid 1960s Davis had quit the University of Oklahoma and went touring with Conway Twitty.

Davis eventually moved to California, where, through his friendship with Levon Helm, he became friendly with Leon Russell. He became a session player before joining Taj Mahal and playing guitar and piano on his first three albums. Davis played slide, lead and rhythm, country even jazz during his three-year stint, making an appearance with the band as a musical guest in The Rolling Stones Rock and Roll Circus. Davis later went on to work closely with ex-Beatles John Lennon and George Harrison, playing guitar on several of their solo albums.

The period Davis spent with Taj Mahal was the closest he came to being in a band full-time, and after Taj Mahal’s 1969 album Giant Step, Davis performed session work for David Cassidy, Albert King and Willie Nelson. In 1970 Jesse played on and produced Roger Tillison’s one and only LP for Atco Records (a division of Atlantic). Jesse and Roger (a fellow Oklahoman) were joined at The Record Plant by Bobby Bruce, fiddle; Larry Knechtel, organ & harmonica; Stan Szeleste, piano; Billy Rich, bass; Jim Keltner, drums and Sandy Konikoff, percussion. Don Preston & Joey Cooper took care of the vocal accompanists. “Roger Tillison’s Album” was recorded live. This album was finally released on CD by Wounded Bird Records in 2008, with Davis on electric guitar, bottleneck (slide) guitar and banjo. The Woody Guthrie-penned tune, “Old Cracked Looking Glass,” has become a standard for Oklahoma bands.

Davis recorded his first solo album when Atco Records signed a contract with him to record two albums with the label. The result of that engagenment was the self-titled album Jesse Davis (1971), which featured backing vocals by Gram Parsons and appearances by Leon Russell and Eric Clapton, among others. Later in 1971, Davis produced and played on Gene Clark’s second solo album, White Light. Two more solo LPs followed, Ululu (1972) and Keep Me Comin,” occasionally listed as Keep On Coming (1973).

Prison Minister and former band manager, Marty Angelo writes about his experiences with Jesse Ed Davis in his book, “Once Life Matters: A New Beginning” (ISBN-0961895446 pages 85-87). Angelo states he was introduced to Davis by drummer, Gary Mallaber in 1972 while Davis was living in Marina Del Rey, California. Davis then introduced Angelo to John Lennon who in turn introduced Angelo to heroin.

Davis also added guitar to Clark’s No Other album (1974). Davis played on LPs by John Lennon, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Leonard Cohen, Keith Moon, Jackson Browne (Davis played the guitar solo on Doctor My Eyes), Steve Miller, Harry Nilsson and Van Dyke Parks, and was a featured guest in George Harrison’s The Concert for Bangladesh on August 1, 1971 at Madison Square Garden, New York City.

In and out of clinics, Davis disappeared from the music industry for a time, spending much of the 1980s dealing with alcohol and drug addiction. Davis played in The Graffiti Band, which coupled his music with the poetry of American Indian activist John Trudell.

In the Spring of 1987, The Graffiti Band performed with Taj Mahal at the Palomino Club in Hollywood. At this show, George Harrison, Bob Dylan and John Fogerty rose from the audience to join Davis and Taj Mahal in an unrehearsed set which included Fogerty’s “Proud Mary” and Dylan’s “Watching the River Flow” and “Blue Suede Shoes”, “Peggy Sue”, “Honey Don’t”, “Matchbox”, and “Gone, Gone, Gone”.

On June 22, 1988 Jesse Ed Davis collapsed and was pronounced dead in a laundry room in Venice, California. Davis had various drugs in his system and his death is commonly attributed to as a heroin overdose. He was 43 years old.
Jesse Ed Davis- Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards
Eric Clapton- Guitars
Joel Scott Hill- Guitars
Larry Knechtel- Keyboards
Leon Russell- Keyboards
John Simon- Keyboards
Ben Sidran- Keyboards
Larry Pierce- Keyboards
Billy Rich- Bass
Steve Thompson- Bass
Chuck “Brother” Blackwell- Drums
Steve Mitchell- Drums
Bruce Rowland- Drums
Alan White- Drums
Patt Daley- Percussion
Sandy Konikoff– Percussion
Jackie Lomax- Percussion
Pete “Big Boy” Waddington- Percussion
Johnnie Ware- Percussion
Alan Yoshida- Percussion

Jerry Jumonville- Tenor Sax, Solo
James Gordon- Bariton Sax, Clarinet
Darrell Leonard- Trombone, Trumpet
Frank Mayers- Tenor Sax

Gram Parsons
Merry Clayton
Vanetta Fields
Gloria Jones
Clydie King
Maxine Willard
Nikki Barclay
Bobby Jones
01. Reno Street Incident-Jesse Davis (4:11)
02. Tulsa County-Pamela Polland (2:11)
03. Washita Love Child-Jesse Davis  (3:49)
04. Every Night Is Saturday Night-Jesse Davis (7:14)
05. You Belladonna You-Jesse Davis (6:29)
06. Rock ‘N’ Roll Gypsies-Roger Tillson (4:14)
07. Golden Dun Goddess-Jesse Davis (4:50)
08. Crazy Love-Van Morrison (3:42)

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2 Responses to “Jesse "Ed" DAVIS – Jesse Davis 1970”

  1. This is another one that I bought brand new and still have in the vinyl collection. I like it now better than I did when it first came out, and it still seems to me too much like the Delaney and Bonnie show with Leon Russell and Eric Clapton hanging out in the wings. Davis does shine through at times, but there’s more clutter than I would like to have seen. I assume that the famous names helped sell the record and I really like Davis’ sense of humour and the general feel of the tunes. It’s a fine document.

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