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george davis

George Davis

credit: Bill Roberts

b. George Richard Davis Jnr., 30th March 1938, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

d. 10th September 2008, Liburn, Georgia, U.S.A.

George Davis was a New Orleans musician/arranger.

He played guitar, bass, saxophone and oboe and was a composer and label owner.

During his career he worked with Allen Toussaint, Aaron Neville, Larry Williams, Sarah Vaughan, Duke Ellington, Buddy Rich, Wardell Quezergue, Earl King and Ernie K-Doe.

Born in New Orleans in 1938, George co-wrote and produced Aaron Neville's 1967 million-selling ballad 'Tell It Like It Is.'

George Davis was a childhood friend of Aaron Neville and his brother Art.

He was a member of the Hawketts, who recorded the classic Crescent City hit 'Mardi Gras Mambo.'

Art Neville joined the group, while Aaron Neville began recording with producer Allen Toussaint.

George later teamed with saxophonist Alvin 'Red' Tyler, and ex-school teacher Warren Parker, to start a production company.

Aaron, who hit a 1960 number hit with 'Over You' on Minit Records, was the first act signed to the imprint.

George's writing partner, bandleader Lee Diamond, was a member of Little Richard's Upsetters.

They were a house band for the Cincinnati, Ohio-based King Records imprint.

Lee Diamond passed on a partial piece of work to George, which developed into the full song titled 'Tell It Like It Is' which became one of four songs recorded by Aaron at Cosimo Matassa's studio in 1965.

At the sessions were pianist Willie Tee, trumpeter Emery Thomas, guitarist John Moore, background vocalist Tami Lynn, tenor saxophonist Tyler, baritone saxophonist and Davis himself.

Tell It Like It Is

George began to promote the recording of 'Tell It Like It Is' to various record labels in New Orleans then in New York, however, it was received with a limited enthusiasm.

In 1966, he and his partners started Parlo Records and pressed about 2,000 singles of 'Tell It Like It Is' and forwarded it to various local radio stations.

As the songs poularity grew, recording studio owner Matassa handled orders for the song.

'Tell It Like It Is' held the number one R & B spot for four weeks and went to number two pop on Billboard's charts in early 1967.

The flip side was the song 'Why Worry'.

A follow-up to the hit never materialised and Parlo shortly folded thereafter.

Aaron Neville, said he never received a gold record plaque for 'Tell It Like It Is'.

The song was, however, awarded one from Collectables Records on a segment of The Arsenio Hall Show during the late '80s.

Aaron received a gold record with 'Don't Know Much,' a 1989 number two Pop hit on Elektra and a 1991 number eight pop hit with his cover of the Main Ingredient's gold 1972 number two R & B / number three pop hit 'Everybody Plays the Fool' on A & M.

George sadly died from heart failure in 2008.

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