Cyril Davies... British Blues Harp Pioneer

Richard Thompson's Memories

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The song, 'Cooksferry Queen' was inspired by a big jazz, R&B and blues pub in the area where Richard grew up in North London: "It's the first song I've ever had a blues harmonica on" he laughs, "just to set the scene! Well, you know--the North London diet in those days--in terms of live music, the stuff you could see--was a real mixture of styles.

And we used to go see the Who at the Marquee club, and the Yardbirds, and the Nice, and anybody else who happened to be playing down there. And the John Mayall Blues Band would be playing reasonably locally; they'd be playing at the Manor House, or Klooks Kleek, Cook's Ferry Inn, all these clubs around North London.

©Strange Affair - The Biography by Patrick Humphries

Cooksferry Queen captures him as a full-blooded rocker. Opening with a melody strongly reminiscent of Lefty Frizzell's Long Black Veil, the track quickly picks up in intensity evolving into a rollicking uptempo rave-up partially inspired by the grandfather of the British blues revival, Cyril Davies.

He did a song called Country Line Special," recalls Thompson, "which was sort of an up-tempo country blues, harmonica jam thing. Cooksferry Queen rhythmically deliberately comes fairly close to that as a quote from the British blues era. That's probably the first really blues thing that I've done but it was for a reason. It was to invoke an era, a time and a place.

Liner notes 'Action Packed: Best of the Capitol Years'

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