The Melody Man
Joe Davis and the New York Music Scene, 1916-1978

By Bruce Bastin
With Kip Lornell

336 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 40 b&w illustrations, appendix, discography, index

978-1-61703-276-9 Printed casebinding $55.00s

978-1-61703-277-6 Ebook $55.00

Printed casebinding, $55.00

Ebook 978-1-61703-277-6, $55.00

The story of a New york record man whose extraordinary career spanned jazz, blues, rhythm & blues, rock, country, ethnic, and pop music

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 entrepeneur 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.

This book was never released in the United States and was available only in a very limited print run in England. The author, noted blues scholar and folklorist Bruce Bastin, has worked with fellow music scholar Kip Lornell to completely update, condense, and improve the book for this first-ever American edition.

Bruce Bastin, East Sussex, England, is managing director at Interstate Music, Ltd. His books include Crying for the Carolines and Red River Blues: The Blues Tradition in the Southeast. Kip Lornell, Silver Spring, Maryland, is a member of the faculty at The George Washington University. This is his fourteenth book about American music, including three others with University Press of Mississippi.

336 pages (approx.), 6 x 9 inches, 40 b&w illustrations, appendix, discography, index