Cyril Davies... British Blues Harp Pioneer

Remembering Brian Knight and Cyril Davies

Musicians' recollections of Cyril Davies
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Remembering Brian Knight, Page One.
Remembering Brian Knight, Page Two.
Remembering Brian Knight, Page Three.

Brian Knight - A Recollection by Stephen Carter - 2011.

The following Q&A occurred in April 2011 with the generosity of Stephen Carter. Steve was Brian's manager for 10 years and during that time Steve's record label, 'Lost Moment', released three titles by Brian Knight.

Steve is currently playing bass for 'Alternative TV' (often referred to by fans as ATV), an English rock band, formed in London in 1976. Their punk rock and post-punk sound has proven influential for several musical artists. Lost Moment Records released the 2001 studio album, "Revolution", followed in 2003 by the official bootleg album "Viva La Rock'n'Roll - comprising of live performances recorded in the UK, France, Germany and the US.

Todd Allen (TA) - When and how did you meet Brian Knight?
Steve Carter (SC) - I first met Brian around 1989, my band BLACKREIGN were recording at his studio in Bushey UK.

TA - So, you are a musician?
SC - Yes, I play guitar and bass. I currently play bass for 'art punk' legends ALTERNATIVE TV.

TA - Did Brian ever talk about his days working / learning with Cyril?
SC - Yes occasionally, though Brian was a strong person and very talented himself. I think Cyril was his 'mentor' and Brian would occasionally talk about what Cyril did or would've done in a certain situation.

TA - Was Brian a 'glass half full', optimistic type of person?
SC - Brian had a few 'hard knocks' career wise over the years but remained generally optimistic if things were happening.

TA - You worked as Brian's manager and he recorded for your label as well - what years did this involve?
SC - I worked with Brian for 10 years from 1990 till 2000.

TA - What was the gigging schedule like during this period?
SC - Gigs were quite sporadic over the period, Brian refused to play for ' little' or nothing, at a time when lots of bands were doing so, and who can blame him.

TA - What was the circuit, if any…?
SC - The gigs he generally played were good venues / festivals in the UK and Europe including a great gig with BB King at The Gosport Festival in the South of England.

TA - Did Brian have other work / day job?
SC - Not a 'day job' in the common sense of the term, though he did own a car mechanics business and a recording studio over the years.

TA - Did Brian like being a band leader? Could he have just been a guitarist for a band or was he the type to run his own band.
SC - I think he probably preferred being a band leader.

TA - What would a casual acquaintance say about Brian vs. someone who knew him as a friend - or would they see the same person?
SC - I think they would probably see the same person, though a very casual acquaintance might only have seen his ' tougher ' side.

TA - What was Brian's "tougher"' side like?
SC - Brian could be a little bad tempered if he thought things weren't right, but was not generally an angry man. I remember once, shortly after I started dealing with Brian, he got angry with me over the phone, I got angry back, I think gaining Brian's respect, and after that we had a mutual respect for each other.

TA - I get the impression Brian's home life was important to him, is this right? Brian's wife, Marie, is often said to be a quiet and gentle (sweet) person; did she travel with Brian or attend any shows?
SC - Brian's home life and family were very important to him, quite right regards Marie, she is a very gentle and considerate, lovely person. Marie would travel to some UK shows, especially if they were local.

TA - Can you assess Brian's prowess as a musician?
SC - Brian had quite a unique 'attacking' style of slide and harmonica playing, not sure I've ever heard anyone play quite the same 'live'.

TA - Was Brian an ambitious person / musician?
SC - Brian wanted to further the popularity of the 'Blues' more than anything else. He lived and breathed the ideal that Blues was 'the' music.

TA - Was he happy just to play or did he want more (and more) success?
SC - I think he wanted more recognition than success as such, but was generally happy just to play; though on his terms.

TA - Can you tell me a little about Lost Moment Records and your motivation(s) behind starting a record company?
SC - In my teens I played in a band that almost literally made our own record. We financed everything ourselves from recording to pressing, even stuck the sleeves together. We sold enough to finance our next batch of recording. When that band split I was at 'a loose end' and decided to start my own label with the knowledge I'd gained. The band called the label LAST MOVEMENT which I changed to LOST MOMENT for my label. We concentrated mainly on 'Indie' stuff, Punk, Blues, Rockabilly and so on; in later years releasing stuff by Art Wood, The Faces, John Barry, Tom Jones, as well as our more 'indie' stuff. Brian Knight said, "'Young Fashioned Ways' was the first song I recorded around 1960 as a demo for the Blues By Six, with Geoff Bradford (guitar), Keith Scott (piano), Andy Hoogenboom (double bass) and Charlie Watts (drums)"

TA - Have you ever heard the above recording? (Geoff Bradford gave me a copy several years ago)
SC - I don't remember hearing this recording, though it's possible.

TA - Do you remember a Blues by Six reunion at the 100 Club?
SC - I didn't attend the reunion, though I remember Brian talking about it, I think I saw some photos too.

TA - I haven't heard "1861" (Lost Moment Records, BCD 002, 2001) but did I talk to Rick Brown about it; Mick Avory also played on Brian's last CD,; what did you think of these players (they go back to the Cyril days)?
SC - Yep, it's a good album, all the players including Brian did a really good job.

TA - Is there a link that we can post so that readers can purchase Lost Moment releases? Or ALTERNATIVE TV releases?
SC - No link as such, though our stuff is available to download through iTunes. For CD's and vinyl, just tap LOST MOMENT RECORDS in a web search and there are plenty of people selling our stuff or people can enquire direct to my e-mail address.

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