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Mel Bay Publications is proud to present "Oh What a Beautiful City": A Tribute to Reverend Gary Davis by Robert Tilling.

British journalist and writer Robert Tilling lovingly compiled this touching tribute to the great American guitar genius Reverend Gary Davis. His enthusiasm for the Reverend's powerful music started after seeing him on his first UK concert tour in 1964. Reverend Gary Davis, "Blind Gary Davis, " born April 30, 1896 was an African American blues and gospel singer and guitarist. His fingerpicking style was extremely influential; his students in New York City in the 1960s included Stefan Grossman, Roy Bookbinder, Woody Mann, and Ernie Hawkins. He was born in South Carolina and became blind soon after birth. He took to the guitar and assumed a unique multivoice style, playing not only ragtime and blues tunes, but traditional and original tunes in four part harmony. His ordination as a Baptist minister inhibited his blues playing (blues being the Devil's music) and his preference was clearly for inspirational gospel. 

He migrated to New York City in the 1940s and by the 1960s he had become known as the Harlem Street Singer, and the person to see if you wanted to learn how to play guitar. He achieved serious recognition during the folk revival of the 1960s, with an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival and the recording by Peter, Paul and Mary of his original, "Samson & Delilah", also known as "If I Had My Way." His musical influence extends throughout modern American music from the Grateful Dead and Bob Dylan to Keb Mo and Olabelle.

"Well thought out and beautifully illustrated with dozens of rare photographs. "Oh What A Beautiful City" is a welcome addition to the library of any true blues lover." – Brett J. Bonner "Living Blues"

"Reading this book makes you want to hear the man's music and if that is Tilling's objective then he has done the Rev. Davis proud." – David Lands "Jazz Journal" "

If you have an interest in blues, in gospel singing and in guitar playing of the highest order do not miss this book which is very highly recommended." – JerryWhitehead"Storyville"

For over twenty years Robert Tilling has regularly contributed to various folk and blues magazines in both Britain and the US. He has lectured at universities, colleges and at blues festivals. Since 1968 he has been living and teaching in Jersey, Channel Islands, and is married with two daughters. Robert Tilling is also a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, and has held over twenty solo exhibitions of his work.

For more information on "Oh What a Beautiful City": A Tribute to Reverend Gary Davis from Mel Bay Publications, visit: http://www.melbay.com

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