Born at St Mildred's, 15 Hawthorn Drive, Willowbank, Denham, Buckinghamshire, near London, he was the son of William Albert Davies, a labourer, and his wife Margaret Mary (nee Jones). Cyril had an elder brother named Glyn, and the family is believed to have come from Wales.
Davies began his career in the early 1950s first within Steve Lane's Southern Stompers, then as part of an acoustic Skiffle and Blues group with Alexis Korner. He began as a banjo and 12-string guitar player before becoming Britain's first Chicago-style blues harmonica player.
In 1962, Davies and Korner opened a club called the Ealing Club in London, adding bassist Jack Bruce, saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and drummer Charlie Watts, to form the electric band Blues Incorporated, and they recorded the album R&B from the Marquee.
Many budding young musicians visited the Ealing Club and 'guested' with Blues Incorporated, including Rod Stewart, Paul Jones, Ronnie Wood, Keith Richards, Eric Burdon, Mick Jagger, Brian Jones and Ginger Baker.
Soon there was musical tension in the band, as some members wanted to play crowd-pleasers like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley tracks while Cyril Davies was a blues purist who wanted to play what he saw as only genuine Chicago-style R&B. Following the dissolution of Blues Incorporated in October 1962, Davies formed the Cyril Davies All-Stars in November 1962 and recorded five tracks for Pye Records, who had announced an R&B label featuring music imported from Cyril's favourite Chicago musicians ("Country Line Special", "Chicago Calling", "Preaching the Blues", "Sweet Mary" and "Someday Baby"). The original line-up, largely recruited from Lord Sutch's Savages, was later subject to frequent changes, particularly after Cyril's untimely death. A number of 'R&B All-Stars' tracks with various line-ups, including Carlo Little, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Nicky Hopkins, are to be found on different labels and anthologies - the name apparently continuing for several years. Davies died in 1964 (frequently reported as of leukaemia but some accounts suggest it was pleurisy and others small cell lung cancer). The core band was taken over by Long John Baldry and formed the basis of his 'Hoochie Coochie Men'.
When steel drums play, crowd feels like dancing ; Twenty-five bands put on a show of Caribbean percussion for hundreds of Yarmouth spectators.
May 07, 2007; ELBERT AULL Staff Writer Portland Press Herald (Maine) 05-07-2007 When steel drums play, crowd feels like dancing ; Twenty-five...