Noted blues musician Little Sammy Davis dies in Middletown at 89
Renowned blues musician Little Sammy Davis died Friday at a Middletown nursing home. He was 89.
His nearly 60-year career spanned Mississippi, Chicago and the Hudson Valley. Davis often jammed with drummer Levon Helm in Woodstock.
Highlights of his career include playing for millions on “Imus in the Morning,” winning a W.C. Handy award and having a full-page portrait in the coffee-table book “State of the Blues.”
Davis began playing harmonica as a boy in Winona, Miss.
He was raised by his grandmother in a one-room shack and learned to play the instrument that would become his livelihood from listening to Sonny Boy Williamson tunes on a crank-up Victrola.
In 2011, Davis was inducted into the New York State Blues Hall of Fame.
Fellow hall of famer Fred Scribner, a former member of the Levon Helm Band and a driving force behind Davis, remembers his longtime friend as funny and inspiring.
Scribner said Davis had a “magical” personality, and there was a charm to him that brought positivity and good luck wherever he went.
“He was a very precious treasure to the community and to the blues world and to the world in general,” Scribner said. “He made the world a better place.”
Scribner called Davis’ death a huge loss for music.
“He was just an incredibly creative human being,” Scribner said. “I watched him create things on the spot that were just pure art.”
Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.
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