A distinctive club performer who was the brother of Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, famed tenor sax man, Davis was popular in late 1940’s Brooklyn where he performed as Preacher Carl Davis in a robe, stove-top hat and lens-less glasses as part of his shtick.

For some inexplicable reason however when he was signed by Savoy Records from neighboring New Jersey on the strength of his local reputation they didn’t have him pursue that persona on record, maybe thinking too much would be lost without the accompanying visuals, or depending on the nature of the act perhaps not wanting to rile the all-powerful church-sponsored legions of decency which still held great sway in censoring anything they found objectionable.

As a result the records issued from his two sessions in the winter of 1949 – the second of which featured his brother on sax – came out under three different names: Chicago Davis, Carl Davis and King Karl. As might be expected from such inconsistency in promotion none of the sides were successful at the time and while he did have vocal limitations – a rather nasal sounding squawk – his enthusiasm was genuine and the spirit of the compositions were firmly within the rock parameters. In the winter of 1950 he sang lead on three sides cut by his brother for Birdland Records in a slightly more jazzy vein, although with his typical roughshod vocals front and center with him using his preacher persona on the intro to one cut.

It is believed he died sometime in the early 1950’s shortly after these records were made and based on his brother’s 1922 birth it would stand to reason that Carl was somewhere around thirty years old himself, making him a rather early casualty in the rock pantheon.
CARL DAVIS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

(Savoy 5560; March, 1949)
As Chicago Davis… A serviceable song thematically that has plenty of crude enthusiasm by Davis but is bolstered significantly by the work of Hal Singer on saxophone, giving this a good roadhouse feel. (5)

(Savoy 5560; March, 1949)
As Chicago Davis… A rather obvious appropriation of Jimmy Liggins’s style but without the attention to detail his records featured and which is further hampered by the conflict between the lyrics and music, one being up while the other down before reversing course. (3)

(Regent 1011; January, 1950)
As King Karl… A somewhat fun and modestly rousing song that features Carl squawking and brother Eddie blowing, both to fairly good effect though the record never attempts to be more than generic. (5)