Too Many Daves

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At first it felt like vanity, but over time its become increasingly clear this is not in my mind.  Here at Hymie’s there are

The fact is that Hymie’s has more regular Daves than it does Steves, Stuarts or Sebastians. Hell, we’ve only got one Niko and as far as we know not a single Van. But we do have nearly a dozen Daves.

The track above is “Daves I Know” from the TV series “The Kids in the Hall”, sung by Bruce McCullough. Even up in Canada, there are TOO MANY DAVES.

This weekend we thought we’d pay them a little tribute and offer a TEN PERCENT DISCOUNT IF YOUR NAME IS DAVE. In the meantime, we compiled a little collection of tracks for you that feature some of our favorite Daves and Davids (And even a few imposters).

We’re just listening to songs by Daves today, so various Dave-related songs like the Kink’s great track “David Watts” will not be included (My favorite Dave-related song is Woody Guthrie’s “Gypsy Davy”, which was also recorded by his son Arlo).  We made an exception for Bruce McCollough’s Dave-related song because, well, he knew a lot of Daves.  We’ve also left out some of the great Daves, including Dave Clark and David Lee Roth, but we celebrate their Dave-ly legacy as well.

This first track is “Rock, Roll, Ball and Wail” by Big Dave and his Orchestra.

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Nobody here at the record shop knows anything about Big Dave except his enthusiasm for rockin’, rollin’, ballin’ and wailin’. I guess you could call him an “everyman”.

David, a Hebrew name meaning “Beloved”, is a very old name.  King David’s name appears more times in the Bible than any name except Moses and Abraham.

My old boss at Al’s Breakfast called me Habib because he believed it was the Arabic form of David, but it is in fact an entirely different name also meaning “Beloved”.  The Arabic form of David is Daud.  Other variations include the Welsh Daffyd and the Israeli Dudi.  The shortened version Dave is at least four hundred years old.

Before doing a little research, we didn’t know much about several of our favorite Daves – Including this next one who’s not actually a Dave or David at all. He’s Davis, although we know him as David Ruffin.

Ruffin’s performances with the Temptations on tracks like “My Girl” and “Ain’t to Proud to Beg” made him one of soul’s most heard performers.  Here is “A Day in the Life of a Working MAn” from from his first solo album, David Ruffin.

[Incidentally, Laura thinks David Ruffin is cute.]

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This next David issued some of his first records as “Davie Jones”.  You’ll probably recognize his voice.

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“I’m Not Losing Sleep” was the B-side to a 1966 single by David Bowie with the Lower Third. The A-side, “I Dig Everything”, was a flop and got them dumped by their label. Although the single was just a tiny step in Bowie’s slow climb to fame, he was already a charismatic performer.

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These two songs are too good for one man alone to perform, even a Dave. “Soothe Me” and “When Something is Wrong with my Baby” were both singles by Sam & Dave during their successful tenure with Stax Records. Sam Moore and Dave Prater recorded together for two decades, but a short string of middle 60s hits for the legendary Memphis label. Another amazing Dave fact: All of the Stax hits by Sam & Dave hits were written by David Porter and Isaac Hayes!

King David is said to have been a fine musician, whose playing soothed Saul and who is credited with composing more than half of the psalms.  He never made a record, though.

George Carlin’s first half dozen (Excluding his debut Take Offs and Put Ons) were issued on the 70s label Little David.  Included were many of his most beloved routines, like “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television”, “Baseball/Football” and (One of my favorites) “Class Clown”.

This next selection features saxophonist David Murray and is from an album he recorded with percussionist Kahlil El’Zabar.  There are a couple of skips during this track, but this is the only copy I’ve ever seen.

Here’s “Golden Sea”:

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A lot of my favorite jazz performers are in fact Daves. Here are two more records by favorite jazz performers.

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Dave Holland is a bassist who has made a variety of recent albums with a great quintet. This song is called “Down Time” and I took it from a 2000 ECM disc titled The Prime Directive. Robin Eubanks played the trombone.

This second track is by trumpeter Dave Douglas. His 2003 album Freak In is one of my favorite jazz albums of the 00s. Sadly, not all of Dave’s albums are as good as this gem – I admire the sincerity he puts into each work, including his tribute to Mary Lou Williams (Soul to Soul) and his album about silent film comic Fatty Arbuckel (Keystone) but they’re not great records. Some of it fails, but its all well performed jazz. This Dave is memorable because he’s willing to explore the various boundaries of our definition of jazz.

We couldn’t celebrate the Daves of jazz without hearing from Dave Brubeck, in his ninth decade but still touring and recording (He’s playing three nights at New York City’s Blue Note in November). Dave’s style is sophisticated but expanded jazz’s audience exponentially by making it accessible. Although his most famous recordings were with alto saxophonist Paul Desmond (Who, of course, wrote the endlessly lovable 5/4 piece “Take Five”) I’ve always liked the records he made with Gerry Mulligan. Something about the equally refined baritone brought out Dave’s bluesiness. Here’s a great example: “Blues Roots”, from their album of the same name, even features Dave credited not for “piano” but “honky tonk piano”.

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This next Dave is a local favorite whose legacy on Minneapolis music is huge, but *GASP* he’s not actually a Dave. Dave Ray was named James David Ray (“Snaker” came later). Hard as this is to do, we’re going to let this sad fact slide – The Koerner, Ray & Glover records are like the meat and potatoes of Minneapolis music, and Dave’s production work on other local classics like Bonnie Raitt’s first album and Honey from the Bees just further endears his legacy. The fact is you couldn’t ask for a better local boy to brag about.

Here’s Dave on his 1967 Elektra album Fine Soft Land playing and singing the Sleepy John Estes tune “How You Want Your Loving Done”:

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I first heard this David Crosby song many years ago during the album’s brief residency in the cut-out bins of Sam Goody and Musicland. I bought a cassette for 99 cents and kept it for nearly ten years before I finally found an LP. David Crosby’s second solo LP (eighteen years after If Only I Could Remember My Name) was called Oh, Yes I Can. After years of looking I found a copy for a couple bucks – Buy this album if it catches your eye. Here’s “Tracks in the Dust”:

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We found this next track somewhere out in the nebulous internet years after seeing it on television – Here’s Dave Grohl singing “Tiny Dancer” after Almost Famous elevated the previously anonymous Elton John track into notoriety.

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While we’re listening at some overlooked 70s rock classics, we couldn’t possibly leave out Dave Mason’s first album Alone Together. There’s not a bad track on this record – Here’s the first, which was later a hit for Eric Clapton and for Delaney and Bonnie.

Alone Together came out on the great (And sadly short-lived) Blue Thumb label, and some of the original copies were pressed on beautiful swirly vinyl.

A few of the Daves we recommend, but just haven’t got the time to hear from today are:  David Lee Roth, Pink Floyd guitarist David Gilmour (Who seems like the kind of David that wouldn’t let you call him Dave) and Talking Head David Byrne.  There was also a short-lived 80s group called David & David that later appeared on Sheryl Crow’s first album.

Many of the great metal bands have Daves, including Megadeth, Slayer and Metallica.  And you may be surprised to learn that U2’s The Edge was in fact not born with that stupid, stupid name but was actually David Evans before he became a jackass.

Its hard to imagine a better way to leave this subject than with David Allen Coe’s “You Never Even Called Me by My Name”:

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2 comments

  1. admin’s avatar

    For a guy named Steve you’re pretty smart. And sometimes you’re just right.

  2. Steve’s avatar

    You could have played ‘David Watts’! It’s played by Ray and, wait for it, Dave Davies. How much more ‘Dave’ did you need? 🙂

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