OCT 27 - The Jewel  - Omaha, NE

DEC 10 - BB'S Jazz Blues & Soup - St Louis MO





If you aspire to be a blues legend, it helps to have a nickname that begins with the letter B. Consider one James “Boo Boo” Davis.

He was born James Davis, but that name didn’t last long. “I’ve been ‘Boo Boo’ as long as I’ve been in this world,” Davis told me earlier this week. “I got my name from my father; he gave me that name. I had three uncles – one was named James, one was named Boo-Jack and one was named Davis, so I became James ‘Boo Boo’ Davis.”

Davis is a blues survivor, pioneer and indeed a legend.

Davis is an old-school blues master. He belongs to the last generation of musicians who experienced an often hard life in the Mississippi Delta. Actually, he was born in the heart of the Delta, in Drew, Mississippi. But home for Davis is now East St. Louis, which has known its share of hard times, too.

“My father was a musician, and my mother was a Christian. She went to church; that’s where I started, singing gospel. I started out with spirituals. Well see, another thing is, music is in my blood, because my father was a musician. My mother and my brother and sister were all musicians, too.”


My father wasn’t nothing but a blues man. He played it around the house, too, way before my time. He tap danced – chicka chicka chicka – I used to dance good when I was a young man. I used to dance with a guitar; I did it all. I played the drums, too.”

“I played blues all up and down Illinois before I came here. My older brother brought me to St. Louis; I didn’t have no problem getting started here. I sang with Doc Terry and Elmore James and all those guys. When I got up here, Doc Terry heard about me and I started with him and his band.”


“My mother had a wonderful time with Jesus and the church and I did, too. He gave me a gift, so I always thank the Lord for that gift. My mother, when she was laying on her dying bed, her friends from church were all there — these old ladies — and she saw me and said, ‘There’s my baby, he sings my songs,’ and I never forgot that.”


“I was always just doin’ my thing my way. I wasn’t doin’ it the same old way. You can only do the blues one way, and that’s from the soul. A lot of people say, ‘Oh, he can play the blues,’ but you don’t really don’t know what the blues is all about if you ain’t had no hard times.”

 “A lot of old school people come out who’ve heard me singin’ for a long time. I’ve always been an entertainer. That’s what I’ve been doing all my life. And I’m still at it. I’m goin’ on 81 years young.”

What he knows – “Just the blues — that’s my life, that’s all I know how to do. I do it all, but the blues, that’s my life.” - Bill Motchan