All Quiet Now: Carl Davis. Chicago Soul.

Record producer Carl Davis, who helped shape the sound of Chicago soul, died last week at the age of 77. Davis, who produced the legendary chart-topper Duke of Earl, was at the centre of the Chicago music scene during the 1960s and 70s. His reputation as a talent spotter saw him work with Curtis Mayfield, Major Lance and Jackie Wilson, with whom he recorded the hit (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher. He died at his home in South Carolina. “Like Berry Gordy, he understood the modern recording industry of the 60s and 70s, and really understood how to make hit records,” said Robert Pruter, music journalist and author of Doowop: The Chicago Scene. Davis was born in Chicago on 19 September 1934, but in spite of the fact that most of his family were musically gifted, Davis “couldn’t play a note” – according to his brother, George. But his gift for recognising hits quickly became apparent when he took a job alongside the DJ Al Benson in the mid-1950s. His defining success came with Duke of Earl, whose vocal riff he first heard during a rehearsal session by the Dukays. The Gene Chandler hit went on to top the charts in 1962 for five weeks and sold more than one million copies. In the same year, Davis was offered a job at Columbia Records subsidiary Okeh,...

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