Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Carl Davis, Chicago Soul’s Greatest Producer, Dies at 77


You’ve never heard the name Carl Davis. But the great Chicago soul producer died yesterday at age 77. He was the man behind the sound of Jackie Wilson, the Chi Lites, the Dells, and many other artists. The classic singles Davis was responsible for included Wilson’s “Higher and Higher”–and lots more of his recordings; the Chi Lites’ “Oh Girl” and “Have You Seen Her?” as well as the song that was heavily sampled to become Beyonce’s “Crazy in Love”; plus a slew of recordings for Curtis Mayfield including Major Lance’s “Monkey Time” and “Um, Um, Um, Um, Um.” He also produced Barbara Acklin’s great records, “Love Makes a Woman” and “Am I the Same Girl (You Knew Before).” http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qzuifcwDqIo

For me, Davis’s crowning achievement was the Dells’ “Stay in My Corner,” a stunning six minute classic that showcases the transition from doo wop to R&B. It’s maybe the best R&B record ever made, most especially the long version. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zPJKRRbjw0U

Davis was close friends and associates with Jackie Wilson and Eugene Record, and a huge part of the great Brunswick Records legacy. Of course, he’s not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and never will be. It’s a badge of honor at this point.


Carl Davis appears briefly in “Only the Strong Survive,” the film I made with DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus, with the Chi Lites in the recording studio. (The Dells would have appeared in the movie, but Chuck Barksdale, a member of the group, refused to allow it.)

See Dave Hoekstra’s excellent piece from the Chicago Sun Times: http://www.suntimes.com/entertainment/14373356-418/producer-carl-davis-architect-of-the-chicago-sound-dies-at-77.html



Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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