James “Thunderbird” Davis

Real name: James Louis Huston
Born: November 10, 1938, Richard, Alabama
Died: January 24, 1992, Saint Paul, Minnesota

 


SINGLES

DUKE 187 – JAMES DAVIS
What Else Is There To Do / Come To The Rock And Roll (5/1958 US)
(Note: possible unissued, any actual copies have not been discovered yet)

DUKE 343 (yellow & brown label promo, reissue) – JAMES DAVIS
What Else Is There To Do / Come To The Rock And Roll (12/1961 US)
(Note: the matrix codes FR 3065/FR 3066 indicate these recordings to year 1958)

DUKE 343 (yellow & brown label, reissue) – JAMES DAVIS 
What Else Is There To Do / Come To The Rock And Roll  (12/1961 US)

DUKE 359 (purple label promo) – JAMES DAVIS
I’m Gonna Tell It On You / My Precious Darling (2/1963 US)

DUKE 359 (orange label) – JAMES DAVIS
I’m Gonna Tell It On You / My Precious Darling (2/1963 US)

DUKE 368 (purple label promo) – JAMES DAVIS
Blue Monday / Sing (9/1963 US)

DUKE 368 (orange label) – JAMES DAVIS
Blue Monday / Sing (9/1963 US)

DUKE 374 (purple label promo) – JAMES DAVIS
Your Turn To Cry / Chains Around My Heart (2/1964 US)

DUKE 374 (orange label) – JAMES DAVIS
Your Turn To Cry / Chains Around My Heart (2/1964 US)

DUKE 392 (purple label promo) – JAMES DAVIS
Bad Dream / Ain’t It Great (3/1966 US)

DUKE 392 (orange label) – JAMES DAVIS
Bad Dream / Ain’t It Great (3/1966 US)


In addition, James Davis that appears as a lead singer on 45 rpm single Peacock 3181 (“Sing A Song” / “This Little Light Of Mine”) accompanied by The Soul Revivors in 1970 (but very likely recorded a few years earlier), as well as on 1965 LP “The Lord Is Sweet” (Peacock PLP-130) by The Hi-Way Que C’s (a.k.a. The Highway QC’s) is actually James Lee Davis (as credited on both 7″ and 12″ labels as a songwriter). It has sometimes been speculated that the vocalist on these sides might be James Bodie Davis, the founding member of Peacock’s famous The Dixie Hummingbirds, but any known historical facts do not support this view.

There also exists an unnumbered acetate release “Sing A Song” / “Live Right” by The Soul Revivors on Boddie Recording Co., recorded at the Cleveland, Ohio based studio led by Thomas & Louise Boddie. In a comment section of Youtube video “Sing A Song” (Peacock version), Towanna Burrous states that the members of The Soul Revivors were in fact her father Clarence Burrous and her uncles John and Cleveland Burrous. This claim has not yet been confirmed. Again, some printed sources (including The Gospel Discography compiled by Cedric J. Hayes and Robert Laughton), connects The Soul Revivors with The Kansas City Soul Revivers a.k.a. The Kansas City Gospel Singers, but these two groups probably had nothing to do with each other.

In a similar way, James Davis on 45 rpm single Sivad-J 1002 (“You Gotta Say Yeah” / “Pillow Talk”), released in the early 1970’s (and obviously pressed by Houston Records – the Houston, TX based company owned by Gasper Puccio) is another artist.

And then there were several other singers named James Davis in the 1950’s-1970’s gospel and rhythm’n’blues field, including Prof. James W. Davis (Savoy Records & HOB Records), Prof. James Davis of The Cloud Davis Singers (Ark Records), James Davis of The Soul Stirrers, and James C. Davis, the saxophone player of James Brown’s and Hank Ballard’s orchestras who also recorded solo material for e.g. Federal, Argo, Chess and New Day labels. James “Thunderbird” Davis’ real name was James Louis Huston.


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ALBUMS

BLACK TOP BT-1043 [LP]/CD BT-1043 [CD] – JAMES “THUNDERBIRD” DAVIS AND THE BLACK TOP ALL-STARS: CHECK OUT TIME (1989 US)
I’m Ready Now / You Did Me Wrong / Hello Sundown / Check-Out Time / What Else Is There To Do / If I Had My Life Over / Your Turn To Cry / Come By Here / I Should’ve Known Better / A Case Of Love / Bloodshot Eyes / Dark End Of The Street
(recorded at Southlake Recording Studio, Metairie, LA with Anson Funderburgh:gtr, Clarence Hollimon:gtr, Ron Levy:pno/org, Grady Gaines:ten.sax, Kaz Kazanoff:bar.sax, Tony Klatka:tp, Lloyd Lambert:bs, David Lee:dms + George Porter:bs, Earl King:gtr)
– UK lp edition: Demon FIEND 149, 1989 / cd reissue: Demon FIENDCD 149, 1993 GER/UK –


_____________________________________________

COMPILATIONS AND GUEST APPEARANCES

PEACOCK PLP-2000 [LP] – V/A: THE BIG ONES FROM DUKE AND PEACOCK RECORDS  (1967 US)
Blue Monday

ABC YS-8062-AB [LP] – V/A: BIG BLUES FROM DUKE & PEACOCK – BLUES ANTHOLOGY, VOL. 2  (1978 JPN)
Blue Monday / Your Turn To Cry

ROUNDER 2031 [LP] – V/A: ANGELS IN HOUSTON – THE LEGENDARY DUKE BLUES RECORDINGS (1982 US)
Blue Monday / Your Turn To Cry / Bad Dream

ACE CH 154 [LP] – V/A: IF IT’S NOT A HIT I’LL EAT MY HAT (1985 UK)
Blue Monday

BLACK TOP BT-1045 [LP]/CD BT-1045 [CD] – V/A: BLACK TOP BLUES A RAMA #2 – LIVE AT TIPITINA’S, NEW ORLEANS (1988 US)
Lemon Squeezin’ Daddy (Nappy Brown with James “Thunderbird” Davis on harmony vocals) / Bye Bye Baby (Nappy Brown with James “Thunderbird” Davis on harmony vocals) / Get To Gettin’ (Nappy Brown with James “Thunderbird” Davis on harmony vocals) / Blue Monday Blues / Further On Up The Road / If I Had My Life To Live Over / Hello Sundown

KENT 074 [LP] – V/A: SURE-SHOTS (1988 UK)
Ain’t It Great

BLACK TOP BT-1053 [LP]/CD BT-1053 [CD]/BT-1053 [CS] – HUBERT SUMLIN FEATURING JAMES “THUNDERBIRD” DAVIS, RONNIE EARL, DARRELL NULISCH: HEALING FEELING (1989 US)
I Don’t Want To Hear About Yours / I Don’t Want No Woman
(recorded at Southlake Recording Studios, Metairie, LA, May 5-6, 1989 with Hubert Sumlin:gtr, Ronnie Earl:gtr, Richard “Dickie” Reed:org/pno, Darrell Nulisch:hca, Steve Gomes:bs, Per Hanson:dms)
– cd reissues: Demon FIENDCD 193, 1990 FRA/UK / Shout! Factory DK 31157, 2005 US –


BLACK TOP BTS 1 [LP]/BTS CD 1 [CD] – V/A: THIS IS BLACK TOP… PAVING THE WAY TO YOUR SOUL (1989 UK)
Hello Sundown (1989 recording)

BLACK TOP CD BT 002 [CD]/C-BT 002 [CS] – V/A: BLACK TOP BLUES-A-RAMA – A BUDGET SAMPLER (1990 US)
Check Out Time / Come By Here (1989 recordings)

BLACK TOP CD BT-1056 [CD] – V/A: BLACK TOP BLUES-A-RAMA, VOLUME 3 (1990 US)
Theme Song And Introduction / Next Time You See Me / Your Turn To Cry / Don’t Want No Woman / When There Is No Way Out / You Did Me Wrong
(recorded at Tipitina’s, New Orleans, LA, May 4, 1989)

BLACK TOP CD BT-1066 [CD] – V/A: BLACK TOP BLUES COCKTAIL PARTY! (1991 US)
What Else Is There To Do? (1989 recording)

MCA MCAD 10667 [CD]/MCAC 10667 [CS] – V/A: THE BEST OF DUKE-PEACOCK BLUES (1992 US)
Blue Monday
– European cd edition: MCA MCD 10667, 1992 –

BLACK TOP CD BT-1071 [CD]/BT-1071 [CS] – CAROL FRAN & CLARENCE HOLLIMON: SOUL SENSATION (1992 US)
Bring It On Home To Me – Old Folks Jam / This Little Light (Carol Fran with James “Thunderbird” Davis)
(recorded at Ultrasonic Studios, New Orleans, LA, September 1991)

BLACK TOP CD BT-1075 [CD]/BT-1075 [CS] – V/A: BLACK TOP BLUES PAJAMA PARTY (1992 US)
If I Had My Life To Live Over (1989 recording)

BLACK TOP CD BT-1078 [CD] – V/A: SOUL SURVEY – A BLUES SAMPLER (1992 US)
The Dark End Of The Street (1989 recording)

BLACK TOP CD BT-1116 [CD] – V/A: BLUES COSTUME PARTY (1995 US)
What Else Is There To Do / I Don’t Wanna Hear About Yours (Hubert Sumlin with James “Thunderbird” Davis & Darrell Nulisch) (1989 recordings)

ST. CLAIR ENTERTAINMENT GROUP, INC. EXL20352 [CD]/CBL25262 [CD] – V/A: THE GREAT SINGERS, VOL. 2 (1997 CAN)
Bring It On Home To Me – Old Folks Jam (Carol Fran with James “Thunderbird” Davis) (1991 recording)

BLACK TOP ECONO-LINE BTEL-7005 [CD] – V/A: BLACK TOP – BAYOU STATE BOOGIE (1997 HOL)
Case Of Love

DISKY DOU 882502 [2-CD] – V/A: BLUES FOR YOU (1997 HOL)
Blue Monday

TIME LIFE MUSIC R859-17 [CD] – V/A: TEXAS & WEST COAST BLUES CLASSICS (1998 US)
Blue Monday

HIP-O HPD-40125 [CD] – V/A: ONE NATION UNDER THE BLUES (1998 US)
You Did Me Wrong

EASYDISC ED CD 7058 [CD] – V/A: BLUES JOINT (1998 HOL)
Check-Out Time (1989 recording)

EASYDISC/CRS ED 7071 [CD] – V/A: SWING IS THE THING (1999 HOL)
Bloodshot Eyes (1989 recording)

BLACK CATS BCCD 155 [CD, unofficial release] – V/A: IT’S A SOUTHERN SOUL THING, VOL. 10 (200? CAN)
Your Turn To Cry

DUKE CD-408 [CDR, unofficial release] – V/A: THE DUKE OF SOUL, VOLUME 8 (200?)
Chains Around My Heart / Your Turn To Cry

STYLETONE CD-399 [CDR, unofficial release] – V/A: I HAVEN’T GOT A FRIEND – 60’S BLUES OF LONELINESS AND MISERY (200?)
Blue Monday

SOUL FROM THE VAULTS SFTV 5 [CD, unofficial release] – V/A: A DEEP DIP INTO TEXAS SOUL, VOL. 1 (200?)
Ain’t It Great

GOLDMINE SOUL SUPPLY GSCD194 [CD] – V/A: NORTHERN SOUL OF TEXAS (2006 UK)
Ain’t It Great

P-VINE PCD-93157 [CD] – HUBERT SUMLIN: HUBERT SUMLIN’S BLUES PARTY (2008 JPN)
Cathy Marie (Hubert Sumlin with James “Thunderbird” Davis:vcl)

BEAR FAMILY BCD 16923 CP [3-CD] – V/A: PLUG IT IN! TURN IT UP! – ELECTRIC BLUES – THE DEFINITIVE COLLECTION! PART 3 – 1960-1969 (2011 GER)
Blue Monday

YAMA TNR-031 [CD, unofficial release] – V/A: R&B HUMDINGERS, VOLUME NINE (2011 US)
Come To The Rock’n’Roll

ONE DAY MUSIC DAY3CD043 [3-CD] – V/A: I PITY THE FOOL – THE DUKE RECORDS STORY (2011 UK)
I’m Gonna Tell It On You

ROCKBEAT RBCD3269 [2-CD] – V/A: BLACKTOP BLUES-A-RAMA – LIVE FROM TIPITINA’S NEW ORLEANS 1977-1989 (2014 US)
If I Had My Life To Live Over (1988 live recording)

HISTORY OF SOUL HOS3 [LP] – V/A: TEXAS SOUL ’64 (2015 UK)
Chains Around My Heart

HISTORY OF SOUL HOS6 [LP] – V/A: TEXAS SOUL ’65 (2016 UK)
Your Turn To Cry

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© Compiled by Pete Hoppula

Published sources: The Blues Discography 1943-1970 (Les Fancourt & Bob McGrath, 2006)

Online sources: http://www.ebay.com | http://www.popsike.com | en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_%22Thunderbird%22_Davis | http://www.allmusic.com/artist/james-thunderbird-davis-mn0000133249/biography | http://www.discogs.com/artist/1368292-James-Thunderbird-Davis | http://www.45cat.com/artist/james-davis | http://www.78discography.com/Duke.htm | https://www.discogs.com/The-Soul-Revivors-Sing-A-Song-Live-Right/release/18083830

Note: The contents of this website are informative only! All the corrections/additions are welcome. E-mail: petehoppula @ hotmail.com

Revised on June 4, 2021

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