Rev. Gary Davis – Ragtime Guitar


We haven’t heard any ragtime for a while. It was one of the more recent popular American forms before the recording industry, so it doesn’t have quite the ancient quality of traditional pieces that are rooted in Africa or England or colonial times. But there is a quality of movement to it, an aliveness that keeps you on your toes, never staying in one chord for too long. It’s one of those musical forms (like Choro) that sits equally well in classical and folk traditions. Being blind, you can bet Gary Davis never read the sheet music for these pieces though, and you know he was improvising as he went too. This music is every bit as idiosyncratic, virtuosic, dynamic, and complex as Joseph Spence’s. You can see why he was so revered as a teacher — a whole school of guitar playing developed in the 60s and 70s based on Gary Davis’ ragtime guitar pieces, which he rarely performed, using them instead as teaching tools for his guitar students. You’ll hear a very raw quality to these pieces, and the recording as well. It may not have the smooth precision of Stefan Grossman or Woody Mann, but it has a life that those more technical players never attained.

For more Gary Davis, see the post in the archives


Rev. Gary Davis – Ragtime Guitar
Label/Year: Kicking Mule 106 (1974) / Transatlantic 244 (1971)
rec. 1962 – 1970 at Rev. Davis’ house

Side A:
– Cincinnati Flow Rag
– West Coast Blues
– Buck Rag
– St. Louis Tickle
– Two Step Candyman
Side B:
– Walkin’ Dog Blues
– Italian Rag
– C-Rag
– Waltz Time Candyman
– Make Believe Stunt

from vinyl | mp3 256 cbr | 61mb
get your candy

note: i’m trying out rapidspread, which gives more options than sharebee. but it may go the way of massmirror and shareonall, so whenever you download, post the direct link in the comments and then we’ll have a backup if rapidspread goes belly-up.

originally posted by sussex i think. big thanks!

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6 Responses to Rev. Gary Davis – Ragtime Guitar

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you.Do you have any thing of arvella gray (though beside the name they share nothing in common)?

  2. nope. hadn’t heard of him till now. Looks interesting though – “The Singing Drifter”. If I come across any I’ll post it. You do the same, k?

  3. DJC says:

    thanks for this….i actually saw it recently – i think he plays banjo on it, but i dont recall….either way, it was like $25 or some such craziness.blind arvella gray is really an acquired taste. his version of “john henry” is supposedly the basis for more modern versions of that song – it clocks in at 7 minutes or so. but the song “more pretty girls than one” is bloody brilliant….

  4. Anonymous says:

    Oh mister DJC would you please share it with us.

  5. Time2 says:

    Megaupload is currently the only link on “this Rapidspread site” that has any uploaded file. So use that one.

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