Jesse Edwin Davis is a favorite musician that I know almost nothing about. I have two records that feature him: TaJ Mahal's first album, and the second, entitled "Take a Giant Step." Having struggled at various times to learn some slide guitar I read with profound jealousy once that Davis first played slide for the album "Taj Mahal." (That sort of talent is alarming.)
Here he is, first day on slide (or so the story goes, and I like the story) playing a version of "Statesboro Blues" that was later copied by the Allman Brothers Band. (They didn't even come close.)
I remember Davis as a charming figure in "The Concert for Bangladesh," which he evidently inserted himself into when some more famous guitarist failed to show. But Davis was famous among the famous-- a star among stars. Recently I saw a short news feature about a fabulous collection of photographs and snapshots of rock and roll royalty-- Beatles and Stones and the like, caught at parties, at the beach, hanging round. A beautiful middle aged woman was showing the photographs that had been her private collection. And standing or sitting next to all of those legends? Jesse Edwin Davis. It turned out that the woman was his old girlfriend.
But the real beauty of the man was his guitar playing. Check out my favorite bits from Taj Mahal's version of "Six Days on the Road."
Turns out that I am far from the only one to admire Davis's guitar in this song. While looking for video of Davis himself playing, I stumbled into this beautiful deconstruction of his introduction to the song.
I barely know the man, of course-- just a few albums, a few movies, a few youtube tidbits. Taj Mahal knew him.
Check out the Taj Mahal group (with Jesse sounding like Hubert Sumlin) in this beauty: