He was one of the key architects in the development of the soul music we so love today!
Davis Jr decided to move to
In a typically brilliant move, Leonard Chess, with a growing interest in the Soul market which was dominated mainly by Motown and Stax at the time and well aware of the strength of Billy Davis’s previous success with Berry Gordy, decided to offer him a contract to develop a strong R&B division at Chess, in line with Motown and Stax.
present in the creative role as
producer, songwriter and arranger in the Chess organisation, the opportunity
arose to create a more soulful sound and to move the label away from the
Blues-dominated sound of the label up to then. He persuaded Leonard Chess to hire musicians with a
Jazz background and arrangers for long term session work. Maurice White once said about Billy: Davis
“He taught me how to break down a song and build it up again”.
The co-founder and musical architect of Earth, Wind & Fire
The production skills
Davis Jr greatest achievement was to produced the first and only number-one R&B and Soul hit on the Billboard Hot Soul Singles Chart for a female artist at Chess Records The single “Rescue Me”, recorded by Fontella Bass, which arrived at the R&B summit on the 30th October 1965. “Rescue Me” typified the new Chess: built on a bed-rock of Satterfield’s bass and White’s drums, powered by Gene Barge’s horn section, and propelled by the call-and-response of singer and background vocalists.
This record became a hit in several major Europe markets including the
Researched and compiled by
Mr K Tomlin Music Historian
©RCM Music/Signaturesoundsonline 2013