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Rev. Gary Davis was one of the most talented of the original bluesmen whose careers were re-energized by the folk revival of the 1960s. Born in 1896 in South Carolina and blind since early childhood, Davis was a monumentally influential purveyor of the Piedmont style of blues, which incorporated Appalachian country and folk sounds into the Delta blues template. (Davis was also proficient on banjo.) His fingerpicking style—with his thumb striking down on the bass notes and his fingers plucking out melodies and accompaniment—would compel players from Taj Mahal to Bob Dylan.
Today’s vault entry was recorded on Jan. 4, 1969, at the Ash Grove club in Los Angeles—the West Coast capital of folk and blues from 1958 to 1973. Here we find Gary Davis performing the God-fearing blues standard “You Gotta Move,” which was first recorded by Mississippi Fred McDowell and later popularized by The Rolling Stones on 1971’s Sticky Fingers.
For a deeper dive into Paste’s archive of exclusive blues recordings, check this out.