Tribute performance to Little Sammy Davis on his induction into the Blues Hall of Fame®.

Sunday, May 22, 2011
by Susan O'kane

Musician friends and blues fans packed Brian’s Backyard BBQ in Middletown, New York, for an afternoon of musical celebration to pay tribute to blues harmonica legend, Little Sammy Davis, on his induction into the Blues Hall of Fame as a “Great Master Blues Artist”.

l to r, (top row) Papa John Mole, Brad Scribner, Fred Scribner, John Bendy
(middle) Joe Louis Walker, Rhett Tyler, Roxy Perry, Bobby Kyle, Bob Fusco
(bottom) Pete Hop, Little Sammy Davis, Brian Remaly, Dave Keyes
Born November 28, 1928 in a one-room shack in Winona, Mississippi, Davis began playing harmonica at the age of eight. The harmonica became his key to a journey across the country and into the world of blues music. During his career, Davis played with the likes of blues legends, Pine Top Perkins, Albert King, Earl Hooker, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Ike Turner. His travels took him to Poughkeepsie, New York, where, after the death of his wife, he took a long hiatus from music. After some time, his career found resurgence as he became a member of the band, Midnight Slim and the Strangers (with guitarist, Fred Scribner). In 1996, Davis released his first full-length album, “I Ain't Lyin” (Delmark Records), which was nominated for a W. C. Handy Award.
The idea of a tribute performance to mark Davis’ Blues Hall of Fame induction developed as Davis’ close friends realized that due to his declining health, the time was now to honor and celebrate the man and the musical gifts he so generously shared with everyone throughout his lifelong career. Brian Remaley, venue owner and event manager, arranged to have the 83-year old Davis, transported for the day’s festivities from the nursing home where he resides. Plans quickly took shape with the collaboration of drummer, Papa John Mole, acting as music coordinator, and vocalist / harp player, Roxy Perry, as event producer and promoter, Mole and Perry also both being long-time friends and colleagues of Davis. Videographer, Oscar Rivera, was on hand to record the momentous event.   click to view video from the event

Davis, arriving in his wheelchair, was seated at an entrance table, so with the help of his aide, he could greet guests as they began to stream into the club. A “guest book” had been prepared, and throughout the day, its pages became filled with autographs, remembered times and well wishes for the guest of honor.

Artists, all friends and colleagues of Davis, gave their performances to pay tribute, celebrate their common musical connection, and to entertain patrons who came out to enjoy an afternoon of delectable barbeque and amazing blues. The impressive roster of talent was a blues fan’s dream list. The comment was even offered that perhaps we had all landed in blues heaven; a light hearted reference to the prior day’s end-of-world prediction that had saturated the media.


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