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Great Vintage Blues 18: Reverend Gary Davis

Like Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Rev. Gary Davis, also known as Blind Gary Davis, played in the graceful Piedmont blues style of the southeastern U.S., rather than the rawer blues favored in the Mississippi Delta. Completely self-taught, Davis mastered a delicate and expressive fingerpicking style on the guitar, and played with such fluency that he never performed a song exactly the same way twice.accomplishing this despite a slightly maimed left hand which had been broken and badly set when he was young. “I don’t play the guitar,” he once said, “I play with the guitar.” Davis’ parents were both ill-suited to raising a child (“there was no confidence to be put into my mother,” Davis told his student Stefan Grossman in this short interview), and so he was brought up by his grandmother instead, growing up in rural South Carolina. He built his first...

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