In the best traditions of surrealism I had a chance encounter with Oscar in a bookshop yesterday morning (who’d have bet on Oscar and me in a bookshop?) after which I popped into WH Smiths where I spotted that the latest Record Collector happened to have a piece on an album called The Basement Tapes and another called “Birth of the British Blues” which told in more detail than usual, the story of Cyril Davies, Alexis Korner etc. It’s a very fine piece with some great photos at least one of which I’ve never seen before and – if you remember those TV clips that were found on Youtube – confirmation that the black female chorus performing with the Cyril Davies All-Stars was called either the Velvets (as on a poster at the time) or the Velvettes (in the article). They were South African and had been in the UK in a musical called King Kong. There’s also information about a recent Cyril Davies compilation called The Cyril Davies Memorial Album on GVC which purports to have every track he ever recorded on.
(PS – by coincidence, and you know I love coincidences, Cyril ‘presented himself’ to me yesterday in Commercial Road on the 52nd anniversary of his untimely death. And it was around around then that in Commercial Road I bought my first harmonica in Courtney & Walkers just after purchasing the legendary Cyril Davies EP in Lake Road. Reality is clearly circular)