The Melody Man: Joe Davis and the New York Music Scene, 1916-1978
Author: Bruce Bastin
Publication date: 2012
American Made Music Series
University Press of Mississippi
Joe Davis, the focus of The Melody Man, enjoyed a fifty-year career in the music industry, which covered nearly every aspect of the business. Not well-known to the general public, Davis was one of those individuals who enabled greats to emerge. He hustled sheet music in the 1920s, copyrighted compositions by artists as diverse as Fats Waller, Carson Robison, Otis Blackwell, and Rudy Vallee, oversaw hundreds of recording sessions, and operated several record companies beginning in the 1940s. Davis also worked fearlessly to help insure that black recording artists and song writers gained fair treatment for their work.
Much more than a biography, this book is an investigation of the role played by a versatile music entrepreneur during much of the twentieth century. A musician, manager, A&R man, record executive, and publisher, his long career reveals much about the nature of the music industry and offers insight into how the industry changed from the 1920s to the 1970s. By the summer of 1924, when Davis was handling the "Race talent" for Ajax records, he had almost ten years to his credit and more than five decades of musical career ahead of him. This book is an incomparable look behind the scenes of music creation and dissemination.
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