TDR-Roots Special: CeDell "Big G." Davis passed away last week at 91, his story is a tribute to those who are determined to make music no matter what their physical problems. You see when he was 10 years old CeDell had a bout with polio that left his left hand unusable and his right hand barely fumctioning. Mr. Davis had been learning to play the guitar before his illness and figured out a way to continue, he took a butter knife and used it on the frets in place of fingers.
Basically, he was now playing slide guitar, and started to play Night Clubs in the Mississippi Delta, and during the 50's was featured on the radio show, "The King Biscuit Flour Hour." Then one night in 1957 the police raided the unlicensed bar he was playing in causing a stampede of the guests out of the joint, unfortunately they knocked CeDell down breaking both his legs.
Determined to continue to perform Davis began to play in a wheelchair, while using the butter knife to make up for his useless hand; this my friends is a man singing the Blues with lyrics about his handicaps. His music was discovered in the 90' s and picked up by Possum Records, the critics loved both his playing and his story.
In 1994 Robert Palmer produced an album with "Big G." called: "Feel Like Doin' Something Wrong," that got rave reviews, one reviewer called it "Timeless" and gave it a 9.0 out of a possible 10 score, and the New York Times called it, "A welter of metal-stress harmonic transients and a singular tonal plasticity." (I don't quite understand that either.)
CeDell Davis died from an heart attack in Hot Springs, Arkansas at age 91, but Scott found a video with the man known as the "Last of the Hill Country Bluesmen" playing the Slide Blues in Boston in 1983 and explaining why he's called, "Big G". @therealdonrocks