The Melody Man: Joe Davis and the New York Music Scene, by Bruce Bastin, Kip Lornell

By Bruce Bastin, Kip Lornell

Joe Davis, the focal point of The Melody Man loved a 50-year occupation within the song undefined, which coated approximately each point of the company. He hustled sheet track within the Nineteen Twenties, copyrighted compositions by means of artists as varied as fat Waller, Carson Robison, Otis Blackwell, and Rudy Vallee, oversaw 1000s of recording consultation, and operated a number of checklist businesses starting within the Forties. Davis additionally labored fearlessly to assist insure that black recording artists and music writers won equivalent remedy for his or her work.

Much greater than a biography, this publication is an research of the position performed by means of track publishers in the course of a lot of the 20 th century. Joe Davis was once now not a song "great" yet he was once a type of people who enabled "greats" to emerge. A musician, supervisor, and writer, his lengthy occupation unearths a lot concerning the nature of the song and provides perception into how the replaced from the Nineteen Twenties to the Seventies. via the summer season of 1924, whilst Davis used to be dealing with the "Race expertise" for Ajax files, he had already labored within the tune company for many of a decade and there has been greater than 5 many years of musical profession sooner than him. the truth that his interesting lifestyles has long gone see you later under-appreciated is remedied via the book of by no means promote A Copyright.

Originally released in England, in 1990, by no means promote a Copyright: Joe Davis and His function within the manhattan song Scene, 1916-1978 was once by no means published within the usa and to be had in a truly constrained print run in England. the writer, famous blues student and folklorist Bruce Bastin, has labored with fellow track student Kip Lornell to totally replace, condense, and enhance the publication for this first-ever American edition.

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Additional info for The Melody Man: Joe Davis and the New York Music Scene, 1916-1978

Example text

As often occurred, such comments told us more about the biased views, tastes, and ignorance of the music by Edison staff than they did about the artists auditioning. Nevertheless, Miss Jordan did return (October 11, 1922) to produce a test recording, which remains unissued. As confirmation that she was the missing Joe Davis artist, the title was “Baby’s Got the Blues” with Sam Wooding as the cowriter. Thus, by the autumn of 1923, Joe Davis had established himself firmly at all the major record companies issuing race records.

This comment underscores the problem that faced many record company executives over the years; they didn’t understand the music, but could they sell it? They were, after all, a commercially viable business largely dedicated to selling phonograph records. We must be thankful that so many times they thought they could, and issued material, when with hindsight we know they didn’t have a chance. Perhaps, as far as Edison was concerned, the Baxter-Coleman contact over “She Walked Right Up and Took My Man Away” was purely concerned with Triangle’s publication of the song and that Davis’s first serious contact with Josie Miles’s occurred with her initial appearance there on April 21, 1924.

By the time of this review, Peggy English had recorded half a dozen sessions for Vocalion, featuring Rube Bloom on most if not all the discs. Isn’t there just the hint of a plug in this review? Could it have been written for The Billboard by Joe Davis, just to plug his singing star? If you think that is fanciful, just remember that English had recorded “Bubber” Miley’s “Sweet Man” for Vocalion just three months before.

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