Cyril Davies... British Blues Harp Pioneer

Guestbook - email us your memories and photos.

May 26, 2006 - It would please me to see your honest opinions here as well as any additional information you might supply. Many thanks. Todd

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  • December 9, 2007 - Billy Dean - Cairns, Australia - I was talking to my teenage son recently about the 60's, he'd asked me what all the fuss was about. There's an old saying that if you remember the 60's you weren't really there.

    I don't remember much, and I wondered to my son as to why things you do remember stick in your memory, when so much fades. The example I gave him was that Country Line Special by Cyril Davies was A1 on the jukebox in the L'Auberge Coffee Shop in Richmond.

    Why do I remember that? Could it be because Cyril Davies was a god to us mods?

  • December 7, 2007 - Ian Hamilton - Surrey, England - I was a callow youth of sixteen when, in 1963, a friend recommended going to Eel Pie Island in Twickenham to see a new group, the Rolling Stones. Needless to say I was blown away by the venue, (a heaving mass of sweaty humanity dancing ourselves silly to the raucous sounds of Brian, Bill & Co.) I became a regular on those balmy Wednesday evenings until someone said that if I liked this sort of music, I should try a more genuine version on Sunday evenings.

    Cyril Davies with his Rhythm and Blues Allstars could not have been more different. First impressions were not favourable for this superficial youth. This was an old man (31 at the time!), scruffy and decidedly uncool. But then the band began to play! This was raw, driving, authentic rhythm and blues. The band played as though their lives depended on it, Cyril standing at the side of the stage blowing like a whirlwind. Compared to Jagger's harmonica efforts, this was going from the ridiculous to the sublime. I was hooked. Every Sunday, Cyril Davies didn't just introduce me to real American blues, he also introduced me to visiting American musicians - Howling Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Hubert Sumlin and, of course, his very own soinger, Long John Baldry. (I still maintain that one of Baldry's subsequent bands, The Steam Packet is the best live ensemble I've ever seen and heard).

    Sadly Cyril was not well in '63 and towards the end of his stints at the Island he had to relinquish his harp and vocals but still played guitar. Often irascible, always committed, sometimes 'cheerful', Cyril Davies led his band with energy and conviction. He also led the rhythm and blues, with the emphasis on the blues, emergence in the South of England.

  • November 28, 2007 - Danny Thompson - Wotcher Todd…I never saw Cyril play in any situation, during those times I was seriously into developing my Jazz career and joined I Blues Incorporated in 1964, I think.

    Obviously "Blues" was my first inspiration and I was well aware of Cyril and his work, only later, after I had established some sort of success as a player I was able to play with greats such as Josh White, Little Walter and John Lee. I would have loved to have worked with Cyril but it was not my time......pity for me!! Danny Thompson's website

  • October 23, 2007 - Danny Altieri - Buenos Aires, Argentina - As a BIG FAN of Nicky Hopkins (I am a R&B keyboard player )I want to send you a big THANK YOU and keep the good work it s a great page…all the best.

  • October 15, 2007 - Richard Forcey - Tasmania - As an art student at Guildford in the early sixties, I remember fondly the regular Friday night 'dance' put on by the students union reps. We only had three records, 'Country Line/Chicago Calling', 'R&B from the Marquee' and Bill Doggett's 'Honky Tonk Parts 1&2'! Never mind, who needed more than that at the beginning of what was a revolution, musically and socially, the like of which has never been experienced since.

    We were privileged to be part of it, and dear old Cyril was there in the vanguard. He played locally on a regular basis, both with Alexis, and subsequently the ex - 'Savages', at the Ricky-Tick Club (Guildford Plaza), and various local venues including, if memory serves correctly, a gig at Worplesdon Village Hall, billed as "The Cyril Davies All-Stars featuring Long John Baldry and Rod 'the Mod' Stewart", which would seem to contradict the "meeting on the station" story told by Rod Stewart researchers. Perhaps the ed. can shed some light on this.

    Needless to say, all of us were inspired to purchase harps, and 'Country Line', however badly rendered, was considered the pinnacle of achievement!

    A lot of years have passed since those heady days. I'm a codger now, and living in beautiful Tasmania, but I still have those wonderful records, and still play them at every opportunity. I can recall clearly the day that Cyril passed, the news flashed round the town like an electric current. When people ask me "Do you remember what you were doing when Elvis died?" I reply, "No, but I remember what I was doing when Cyril Davies died!"

  • October 8, 2007 - Will Heard - Birmingham, U.K. - I am so glad that you have put Cyril Davies on the map as never before. Your web site has got some fascinating detail in it. I do not have any personal memories about Cyril Davies but as a 16 year old (born 1946) I was into that wave of black blues that came to Britain just as jazz was on the wane and before the Stones.

    I lived near Nottingham and had no money so had few records and an old tape recorder but I did manage to go to a number of events in Nottingham - saw Long John Baldry's band a number of times (one memorable occasion was at the Nottingham University Students Union when Rod Stewart was in the band and Humphrey Lyttleton's band was playing in the next room so you could cross over between the two. Also the Steam Packet at the Dancing Slipper in West Bridgford (also known as the Hobbling Clogs).

    It is possible that I saw Cyril Davies with Long John Baldry at Nottingham University because I must have been no more than 17 when I saw LJB for the first time but at the time it was LJB who made the greatest impression. I did not know of Cyril Davies then. I think Rod Stewart did not join the Hoochie Coochie men until after Cyril's death (your site recollections of Geoff Bradford) so I think I must have seen them with L J Baldry when he took over.

    I first heard the Cyril Davies EP with 'Country Line Special' on it when I was 18 - also 'Sweet Mary'; it just knocked me out! Since then I have gathered together as many recordings as I can from the limited number that are available (I do not have any original recordings apart from 'R n B at the Marquee') and made a CD for my own use.

    Any chance of a professional CD with all known recordings featuring Cyril?

  • September 25, 2007 - Roger Dean - I'm afraid I don't have that many memories of Cyril, as in those days we were gigging seven nights a week...there wasn't much time for going to see other people at work.

    One particular night however does spring to mind. Myself and Bernie Martin (Nu Notes drummer) had a free night and decided to potter down to Soho to see what sort of action we could find. I remember that we had already had a couple of beers in the A+R club (I think that's right!!) in Tin Pan Alley, and were around the Oxford Street area. We heard these great sounds coming out of the back door to the old Marquee club. The back door was open because it was mid-summer and very hot - of course we nipped smartly in, as there was no-one to stop us. Cyril was raving away with a tremendous band behind him, Nicky Hopkins (piano), Carlo Little (drums), my predecessor in 'The Bluesbreakers' Bernie Watson on guitar, I think the late Cliff Barton on bass, and Long John Baldry on vocals.

    The place was jam packed and the band were roaring. When Bernie launched into his solo on 'Countryline Special', I swear you could hear my jaw drop in Glasgow!! Anyway, it was a night that I have remembered for over 40 years. That's how good 'Cyril Davies Allstars' were. I have never forgotten them. Roger Dean interview and web site.

  • September 25, 2007 - Colin Richards - One incident that does come to mind, we (ed. CD & The R&B All-Stars!) had a roadie (Mad Harry Jeffries) who used to be a male nurse in the army...Cyril had known for some time the he had Leukemia and was given a month to live by the hospital. He asked Harry how long he would give him? Harry replied two weeks. Cyril died two weeks to the day. Not something that is generally known. He had been playing brilliantly the night he died, at Eel Pie Island as memory serves, when he came off stage he was rushed to hospital and died that night.

    We're going back forty odd years now so memory is a bit sketchy, especially since I was not a regular with the band but the line up was mostly John Baldry, Rod Stewart, either Ian Armit or Johnny Parker on piano, who incidentally, was the pianist on "Bad Penny Blues" (Humphrey Lyttelton), Cliff Barton on Bass, Dick Heckstall-Smith (Saxophone). I can't remember the name of the drummer and I never met their regular guitar player. I was more into traditional jazz in those days.

    I seem to remember going up and down endless motorways and kept meeting "The Graham Bond Organization", as we played the same circuit.

    Please forgive me for not coming up with more at this time, as I've played with dozens of bands since as I did mostly "deps" jobs with all sorts of different types of bands. I first met Roger Dean on a cruise ship when he was with The Joe Loss Big Band. I have played with everything from Big Bands, Rock Bands, Country Bands, and Latin Bands etc. I even worked with an African Hi-Life band.

  • September 23, 2007 - Clive Murray-White - Australia - Sadly, not many tales to tell just as an art student in England 1963/4. Cyril was a legend, and we used to see him play regularly with the CD All-Stars. I was an art student in Guildford, and like every English Art Student of the time could play Cyril Davis' Country Line Special. We used to go to the local Ricky Tick Club; the regular bands on that circuit other than the old black guys that were going around were The Rolling Stones, original Yardbirds, Cyril Davies, Animals, Graham Bond Organisation. Zoot Money, Pretty Things, Manfred Mann, Georgie Fame and so on. We also used to go to Eel Pie Island to see Long John Baldry and up to town to see the Downliners Sect. http://www.cowwarr.com/CliveMurray-White

  • September 12, 2007 - Alan (Fred) Pipes - Brighton, UK - I never actually saw Cyril Davies play, but do possess that amazing EP, one of the first I ever bought! 'Country Line Special' was played regularly by the DJs at the Manchester clubs I frequented in my late teens - such as the Twisted Wheel - where I saw many other blues players, like Sonny Boy Williamson!…I (had) read a rave review of Alexis Korner's R&B from the Marquee (1962) and ordered it from Boots on the Rock. In record shops I also found a couple of EPs with Alexis Korner on guitar called 'Chris Barber presents Jimmy Cotton' in the jazz section, and an LP called 'Murderers' Home' on Golden Guinea - recordings of prisoners' work songs by Alan Lomax ('Early In the Morning' was covered by Alexis Korner and Graham Bond amongst others).

    Eventually I found the classic blues EP, 'The Sound of Cyril Davies' with the amazing 'Country Line Special' - there's no line-up listed on the sleeve. Every harmonica player wanted to play 'Country Line Special' like Cyril!

    I bought Alexis Korner's Blues Incorporated at the Cavern and also found an old Alexis Korner Skiffle Group EP in a bargain bin, called Blues From The Roundhouse Volume 1 (was there ever a Vol. 2?) also starring Cyril Davies (recorded in 1957 and featuring Cyril Davies on 12-string guitar and harmonica and Mike Collins on washboard!). www.fredpipes.com, http://www.geocities.com/fredpipes/blues.html

  • August 12, 2007 - Nick Beeton - Salisbury, UK - Being a veteran (at the age of 18!) of the "trad band era" (heroes Chris Barber, Ken Colyer and Lonnie Donegan) and having mastered the rudiments of string bass playing in a local New Orleans style jazz band I was approached by an acquaintance to see if I was willing to jump ship and join in the creation of a rhythm'n'blues group. Being curious, I went along to the inaugural practice session where this guy had a Philips portable tape machine (size of a suitcase with 3" reels on the top, maximum record/playback time approx 10 minutes!) and played this fantastic harp track - "Country Line Special" by Cyril Davies. I was knocked out by the raw energy and became an instant convert. Our version became the show opener for our band "The Bohemians" and a showcase for our harp playing vocalist. Our band never got around to recording, although the pirate radio station "Radio Caroline" took an interest in us at the time, mainly because of us having a string bass instead of a bass guitar in the line-up and also because we played a less commercial version of the blues every week in our very own blues club 'The Walkin' Dog'.

    Some years later I tried to locate a copy of Cyril Davies, but with no success. Paul Jones played a couple of Cyril Davies tracks on his Thursday Radio 2 Blues programme which I recorded on to reel-to-reel. Then in 2002 Indigo Records put out a 4 CD set "Hoochie Coochie Men - A History of UK Blues and R&B 1955-2001" (IGOBX2501) with two Cyril Davies tracks - 'Country Line Special' and 'Sweet Mary' - Heaven at last! I still play bass, still playing the blues, but nowadays a more manageable 5-string fretless acoustic bass guitar.

  • August 7, 2007 - Jon Wilks (Assistant Editor, Japanzine) - Japan - Firstly, WONDERFUL SITE! Great that you've uncovered so much on Cyril Davies - so much more than "professional" biographers seem to have managed.

    Secondly, I'm currently researching the Ealing Blues Club for a book project, and I'm keen to find firsthand accounts and anecdotes from those who were actually there. Thanks again for all you fellows have already done. Great research! www.japan-zine.com

  • July 22, 2007 - Robin Mayhew - West Sussex, England - …it's great that you are putting this site together. Unfortunately I never had the privilege to see Cyril in action though, of course, we as a band (The Presidents) were aware of his fantastic contribution to the blues scene in the UK. I will ask Eric Archer, who played harmonica for our band, he used to get out more in those early days and was a great follower of traditional jazz here in the UK. He may have a story to tell - I'll get him to contact you if that's so.

    Also our original bass player Colin Golding who, as you may have read on our site, played bass for The Rolling Stones on some of their early gigs before Wyman joined, was a great friend of the late Ian Stuart - the Stone's pianist - he may have some snippets to tell re: Cyril. Again I'll see what I can find out. http://www.the-presidents.org.uk.

  • June 18, 2007 - Barry Marshall - South Harrow, UK - Sadly, and to my ever-lasting regret - I never saw Cyril Davies perform "live" (but I did see Screaming Lord Sutch several times).

    But I still remember the day in 1963 (I was seventeen) when I bought 45rpm single "Country Line Special/Chicago Calling" on the red and yellow-labelled Pye R&B series. Up to that point I had bought Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley on that label - so with the little knowledge to hand - that Cyril Davies was BRITISH, but also on that label, told me that he must be very special.

    And the sound of that harp played over a driving rhythm resonated through my head as the single was played non-stop for many days. I also loved "Chicago Calling" - but at that time was really a nut for instrumentals, so the "A" side got played most!

    I also bought "R&B from the Marquee" around the same time...and the next thing I heard was that Cyril had died.

  • May 2, 2007 - John Joyce - North Vancouver, BC, Canada - 'Cyril Davies had the island blues'- There is famous picture of the late Boris Yeltsin dancing at a rock concert. He was wearing a tie and looked square. Most of the pictures I have seen of Cyril Davies he is wearing a tie and looking square. He was most decidedly un-hip but then he was much older than the mega stars that he influenced. Cyril was about 31 and they: Paul Jones, Mike Jagger, Brian Jones and Rod Stewart were about 19. The latter except for Rod Stewart were from the bohemian, beatnik pseudo student world. We know Cyril Davies was a pioneer of the British Blues and left his mark.

    I saw him play one Wednesday evening on Eel Pie Island. It was the first Wednesday after the Rolling Stones had left, probably early September 1963. The dimly lit dance hall was half empty and there was a sense mourning about the place. The Rolling Stones had left the island. The music that Cyril Davies played was difficult to listen to but I do remember the electrical harmonica playing. I recall him sitting in a chair snapping his fingers and drinking from his pint glass. We drank cider in those days. He may have been smoking a cigar.

    I have always been attracted to the blues harmonica and even studied here in Vancouver for several years. I do a fair opening to Little Walters' 'Duke'. I think Brian Jones and Mike Jagger influenced me most with the blues harp who in turn were pupils of Cyril Davies. The name Cyril Davies is certainly a name from my youth. © John Joyce http://members.shaw.ca/altusarts/

  • April 28, 2007 - Allan Bowley - Costa del Sol, Spain - I was just listening to 'Spider and the Fly' by the Stones on our local Radio Station, REM FM (I am a Technical & Production Manager there), and I harked back to 1964 at the Plaza Ballroom in Guildford watching the Stones playing that track and remember the night that Mick Jagger played a tribute to Cyril Davies, who had passed away a few weeks earlier. Joining him on the stage that night, Sonny Boy Williamson, Long John Baldry, Zoot Money and Jeff Beck...if my memory serves me well. I saw Cyril a few months earlier in Croydon and immediately went and got myself a harmonica and learned to Play Countryline Special…starting a Blues Band a year later - CROW JANES, wow! What a fabulous era that was. I am still trying to find the Countryline Special track; no success so far. I had a 45 of it and it was stolen along with my red label Beatles and a copy of the first pressing of 'Come On' by the Stones too: Life sucks but the music never dies. www.rem.fm

  • April 20, 2007 - Ray Jackson - Oxfordshire, UK - The music that influenced me greatly was mostly on the Pye R&B label…Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley and Cyril Davies. The song that I remember most clearly of Cyril's was Chicago Calling and I still have the single somewhere in my attic. He was probably the most authentic of British white blues harmonica players of the time but died quite early in life, robbing us of further waxings. Sadly I never saw him perform, being in my early teens and too young to visit London music clubs. He however, paved the way for the likes of Paul Jones to carry on where he left off. http://rayjacksonart.co.uk

  • April 11, 2007 - Zoot Money - London, UK - Sorry but I never met Cyril Davies. Didn't even see him live - reget not being able to help. I have my own opinions on harp players and I think Paul Jones is pretty good. Used to like Max Geldray...but that's another story (Radio days). Good luck! http://www.zootmoney.org

  • April 10, 2007 - Tim James - Coventry - UK - What a great idea! I have, from cyrildavies.com, learned more about Cyril in the last couple of hours than I knew was there. The links are all great, especially the Carlo Little site. The Savages were indeed a legendary, hard hitting British Band with no competition other than the Pirates and (later) Dave Berry's Cruisers.

    I first heard Cyril Davies on the BBC Light Programme radio show 'Pop Goes the Beatles', where the boys themselves played live tracks from 5 pm every evening and featured musicians they liked and admired. Having just returned from doing my paper round, aged 16, I heard John Lennon open the show by introducing Cyril as "one of the best blues harmonica players in the world, and he's British" and then playing the Countryline Special single. Up until then I was aware of mouth organs featuring heavily in the Charts ('Love me Do' & 'Please Please Me' both featured harps) but I had never heard anything like this. I was astounded by the 'funky violin sound' and the sheer guts of the track. I went upstairs to my bedroom, dug out a mouth organ, and, a couple of hours later, I'd cracked it! Then along came the Stones, Paul Jones with Manfred Mann, and the whole 60's blues boom of which I was now a part, soon playing my first gig as a blues singer & harpist with a Coventry band called the Boll Weevils at a local Youth Club. I also was indoctrinated in authentic blues, such as Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee by a local friend and collector called Pete Waterman who later went on to find (huge) fame in far more commercial projects (e.g. Kylie Minogue) for his sins.

    I discovered the 'Sound of Cyril Davies' EP and Cyril with Alexis Korner and Dick Heckstall-Smith on 'R&B at the Marquee' LP. I borrowed the EP and (reel to reel) taped it (paper boy school kids don't earn much money) - what I would now give for a copy! But before I knew it Cyril was dead - and I never got to see him - I later saw & played support to all of the great names of the era including Alexis Korner, a real gentleman who always tried to help youngsters like me, but I missed ever witnessing the person who had inspired me to start playing. I'm still playing now, 43 years later, I sing, play alto & tenor sax, keyboards and a little guitar but the harp is still my favourite instrument and, to me, my greatest stylistic influence was Cyril Davies.

    I have, over the years, played all sorts of music - including blues, rock & roll, heavy metal, avant-garde jazz and all styles of harp but … when I play harp these days that's the way it comes out (Cyril Davies inspired); and still, after all these years people, remembering Cyril, will come up and ask me to play Countryline or Chicago Calling. I REST MY CASE - HOW SAD THAT HE HAD SUCH A SHORT CAREER - BUT HOW GREAT THAT HE LEFT HIS MARK. I should love to hear of your progress with this project, please stay in touch. p.s. Do you have any idea where one can get hold of a copy of 'The Sound of Cyril Davies' in whatever format might be available? http://www.timjamesblues.com

  • April 5, 2007 - Bob Cummings - UK - "The Club (the Twisted Wheel) was a coffee bar during the day and a 'beat club' at night. One legend who was due to appear but never made it was Cyril Davis. His signature tune was a harmonica instrumental called `Country Line Special' which was attempted to be copied by many of the young boys who had bought their 'Echo Vamper' harmonicas in the futile hope that the tune would just sort of appear - it rarely did. He was due to appear in January 64'. I already had his EP and we managed to get tickets but Cyril died before he got to the Wheel as a result his "Country Line Special" became even more popular." http://www.soulbot.com/The-Twisted-Wheel.htm

    Soulbot was put together by myself and Dave Phillips who wrote much of the stuff. As a result of hearing one of my friends copy Country Line Special note for note, I have never lost my love of the harp - I have a Lee Osker that I pull out now and again - usually when there is no one else in the house. I have been known to play it publicly but only very rarely! I am still in awe of Sonny Boy Williamson who I saw when I was about 15 and find that some of his harp playing is still unbelievable - 'Bye Bye Birdie' and 'Bring it on Home' for example.

    Everyone at the time was shocked by Cyril's untimely death - we just couldn't believe it at first. We used to regularly see Alexis Korner perform solo - just him and his guitar, when he had a regular spot at the Old Twisted Wheel. What a pity we didn't have the confidence at the time to talk to him.

    [Ed. - This quote was taken from a John Gray & Steve Holmes interview with John Baldry (for the Rod Stewart Fan Club 'Smiler') in 1993 - "More than often we'd perform all night long. Someone reminded me in Nottingham a few days ago, that we did the night Cyril died. The night after we played the late show at the Twisted Wheel in Manchester. We went on stage at midnight and came off at six in the morning! It just went on and on for six hours! When I was in Nottingham the guy had all sorts of pictures from the night." To bad we didn't have those pictures!] http://www.soulbot.com/home.aspx

  • April 5, 2005 - Mike MacKechnie - Like your site very much. We have linked Nick Simper's web site to yours. I spoke to Nick the other day re: All-Stars bassist, Cliff Barton - if only we had some photos of the man! We've searched everywhere and can't find a single one. Let me know if you find one! Nick never really knew Cyril, the only connection he had with him is that his mother was the cleaning lady at the office where Nick used to work when he was a teenager! http://www.nicksimper.com.

  • March 26, 2007 - Fred Fox - UK - Last Friday we had a glimpse of Cyril Davies on the BBC4 transmission of a tribute to Long John Baldry - it was from the 'Hullabaloo' sessions, I think. It was all too brief and Cyril was predictably behind his harmonica for the whole time.

    I first heard Countryline Special in a Coffee Bar in Nottingham some time in 1963 - it blew my 15 year old mind. Soon after I hitch-hiked to London and saw him perform - brilliant, inspiring! I taught myself blues harmonica and cajoled the band I was with to let me do Countryline Special. They finally agreed and I even managed to squeeze in 'Mannish Boy' and a few more of Muddy Water's numbers - the deal was I had to sing soul for we were a bread and butter Tamla-Soul outfit. But I tell you I enjoyed nothing more than playing Countryline Special to big audiences in the Miners Welfare circuit of Notts, Derbys and Yorks. It seemed to go down well - bless you Cyril.

    I only blow and suck a few notes for my own amusement these days - but Countryline Special always seems to pop out!!

  • March 23, 2007 - Alan Pitt - U.K. When I was about 15 (and so were my friends), we decided to start a blues band. This was on the basis of having a record of Howling Wolf and, most importantly, a record of Cyril Davies doing Country Line Special; this started me playing blues harmonica which has been a source of untold pleasure to me ever since (I am now 58). Cyril Davies is, and always will be, my primary source of the wonderful world of blues music -not withstanding my admiration for the great American originators. Thank you Cyril! Love, Al {blowdaddy} Pitt.

  • March 18, 2007 - Eric Sandiford - UK - I have read with interest your excellent web site devoted to Cyril Davies. I have a web site for Grimshaw guitars; as you are probably aware Cyril used a 12 string Grimshaw in the fifties. The reason for my e-mail is to ask if you would be kind enough to look into your archives for any photos, etc. of Cyril using the Grimshaw - and also to ask if it would be possible to reproduce on my web site. Any help you can give would be gratefully received. I will also add a link to your web site with your permission. www.grimshawguitars.co.uk

  • February 23, 2007 - Chris Fosbrook - Hayling Island - U.K. My interest in the blues stemmed from about the age of 9 when I saw Sonny Terry and Brownie Magee on a program featuring American Blues artists that were over in the UK on tour. I first became aware of Cyril Davies in the early 60's, barely a teenager, when I saw him on a TV program on a Saturday evening, playing Country Line Special and I was hooked on his playing style. Unfortunately I never got to see him play live, but purchased his Sound of Cyril Davies EP shortly after his death and it was a long time before I took it off my record player. I still have the recording today, but unfortunately no longer own a turntable.

    I also remember seeing the renamed All Stars as the Hoochie Coochie Men in the mid 60's and was disappointed when Long John Baldry didn't show…not too disappointed though as his up and coming understudy, Rod Stewart, sung and played for the whole evening. We were lucky in Portsmouth (and still are!) to have a good Blues following and many of the top Blues bands of the day played here regularly e.g. Graham Bond, Downliners Sect, Mann Hugg Blues Band, John Mayall and many more that I've forgotten.

    I was excited when I first heard about this site via the NHL and was pleased that so many people have good memories of Cyril and have documented them for current and future generations of people wishing to learn about the birth of British Blues. Keep up the good work.! http://www.fossy7.com/index.html

  • February 22, 2007 - Geoff Bradford - Enfield, UK - Hi Todd, brilliant piece of work - a much needed filling of a yawning gap. Is there an Emmy for web sites? If not there should be! There is a video about Jack Elliot about, and on it there is footage of the Roundhouse; he would always drop in if he was in England. Hope you are well. Regards, Geoff.

  • September 10, 2006 - Giselle Rawlins - Peterborough, UK - Hi, I've just taken a look at your site and I'm amazed I haven't come across it before! Has it only just gone online? It's fantastic, and about time someone dedicated a site to Cyril!!! Well done. UPDATE: January 29, 2007 - I've just been reading through your site. It's very good, well done -it's so well researched. I have just made a Myspace page for Carlo www.myspace.com/carlolittle . You should do one for Cyril.

    Carlo told me that during the Hoochie Coochie Men time, the guys in the band had a roadie called Reg (Dwight). He later became Elton John. Carlo said he was a geek and all the guys in the band were mean to him, making him do all the jobs. He also said they all knew he was desperate to be given a chance in the band but none of them took him seriously.

    I have been uploading music onto Carlo's site via mp3 streaming. You can hear the Carlo Little All Stars remake of Country Line Special and Chicago Calling on there. Art Wood sings Chicago Calling and his brother Ronnie is playing lead guitar on Country Line Special www.carlolittle.com/discography/disc-2000s.htm#clas

  • January 29, 2007 - Roger Emmerson - Edinburgh, Scotland. I was too young for Cyril Davies (15 when he died) and too far away (Edinburgh) though a friend had a copy of one of his records which encouraged us all to take up the blues harp. I met Alexis Korner at a Blues Convention in London in 1968 but was too shy to play for him. How I regret that now. Still, I have become, in turn, an old (though not remotely as celebrated or talented) bluesman still gigging, still consumed with the music. www.thebluesfather.com.

  • January 23, 2007 - Graham Shazell - I just came across the site and will read it all at my leisure later. Trying to remember when I saw Cyril Davies & the All Stars? probably when I was about 15, about 43 years ago. I was a member of the 1st Wandsworth Common scout group and once a month we ran the Trinity Jazz club in the church hall of St Mary Magdalene, very near to a Surrey tavern pub (too young to go in there!!). My brother before me helped run the club & they used to have trad jazz music inc the Temperance Seven. Anyway, I remember Cyril with his small suitcase full of harmonicas. Long John Baldry was there...what fun & no alcohol in the church hall, just those old fashioned bottles of coca cola. Other people to play there: Georgie Fame, Graham Bond Organisation, Mann Hugg Blues Brothers and the Downliners Sect. Very good/special memories. They also had a group called Them who changed their name to Themselves due to Van Morrison & his Them!! I have a copy of the country line special/chicago calling vinyl 45 in my loft - red & yellow paper cover - if I had a record deck I would play it. Did Pye ever release the 5 tracks he recorded? available on CD???

  • January 22, 2007 - Richard Thomas - Kansas City, Missouri, USA - I first saw the band at the Marquee in the 60's, I still have a copy of Country Line Special I bought at the club. It was an amazing time, I tell my kids the who's-who of the Marquee, the players the stand-ins, what a place, what a time. Anyone out there still remember those days?

  • January 4, 2007 - Terry Rowe - Is there a recording of 'Country Line Special' anywhere? I bought about 5 copies (separately) in 1963/64 and they all got stolen - nothing else, shows the value! I grew up in Surrey, England, so Cyril Davies was the best around! I remember hitch-hiking with my best friend to Richmond Jazz Festival just to see him. Ended up in a pretty small tent watching an unknown band called The Rolling Stones. Sadly my 'gap year' - wasn't called that then - took me out of GB and when I got back Cyril Davies had died, still don't really believe it. Haven't really got into music since - some opera mainly.

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