Alun Davies (guitarist)

Alun Davies (guitarist)

Infobox Musical artist
Name = Alun Davies

Img_size = 150
Img_capt =
Img_size =
Landscape =
Background = solo_singer
Birth_name =
Alias = Daydo
Born =
Died =
Origin = Wales
Instrument = Guitar, vocals
Voice_type = Baritone
Genre = Folk rock, folk, pop, jazz
Occupation = Musician, songwriter,
Years_active = 1963–present
Label = Decca/Island Records
Fontana Records
CBS Records
Atlantic/Ya Records
Associated_acts = Cat Stevens
Ronnie Lane
Mark-Almond Band
Jeremy Taylor
Sweet Tuesday
Good Men in the Jungle
Notable_instruments = Epiphone Casino

Alun Davies is a Welsh guitarist, studio musician, recording artist, and composer who rose to fame primarily with his supporting guitar work and backing vocals as accompanist for English musician Cat Stevens from early 1970–1977; and from 2006 through the present day.

Prior to working with Stevens, Davies co-wrote, sang and performed on two albums; in 1963, with Jon Mark, and later, as a part of a band with Mark and three others called "Sweet Tuesday" in 1968, when folk-rock music was still in its infancy. When their label declared bankruptcy, Davies was invited to join Mark in another musical venture, but declined, instead, finding work as a session musician; sent to work with Cat Stevens, who was attempting to change his sound and advance in the music world.Davies' experience, similar tastes in the emerging folk-rock genre, and abilities placed him in a pivotal role resulting in Stevens charting hit songs and a string of RIAA platinum certified breakthrough albums. "Tea for the Tillerman", and "Teaser and the Firecat", within the year propelled Stevens to stardom and a stellar musical career, and solidified a friendship between the two men. Davies, who recorded two solo albums after a few years found comparatively little commercial success, particularly after several years of sitting in the charismatic shadow of Stevens, but continued to tour with him and recorded on each of his albums, until Stevens' retirement from the pop scene and conversion to Islam in 1977.

In late 2005, when Stevens (now known as Yusuf Islam) returned again to write and perform once again, he did so with the amicable support of his friend and long-time right hand man; although nearly three decades had passed, and the two men had followed extremely different paths during the interim. Davies continues to perform with Stevens/Islam to the present day, in addition to other musical projects.

Musical career

Early days

Alun Davies began his musical career with schoolfriend Michael Burchell, who later assumed the stage name of Jon Mark. The two young men composed and performed songs together, and by 1963, just two years out of school, had been signed by Decca Records, recording their first album in one day, with American producer,Shel Talmy, who had worked with bands that include The Who, Chad and Jeremy, The Kinks, Manfred Mann, and Ralph McTell> The album was named "Relax Your Mind". The two set about busking in Europe and located an agent who found them a position performing on a Cunard Line ship, sailing sixteen times across the Atlantic. Anderson, Murphy [ Magicat: "Relax Your Mind With Jon and Alun"] ]

After a time, the two had enough of sailing. Davies was content playing as a session musician for Fontana Records, touring with some musicians of note, including Spencer Davis, and Marianne Faithfull. Davies was additionally recruited as producer for Jeremy Taylor's folk album, with whom Davies guested on two songs. Plummer, Mark "Melody Maker", September 16, 1972 [ Davies the Guitar] ]

Davies and Mark reunited with Nicky Hopkins and recorded a sophomore album in 1968, under the name "Sweet Thursday". This second album was on the market, but it never had the chance to be promoted. Fontana Records abruptly declared bankruptcy, and the musicians never had the opportunity to perform their new material on stage, or promote the album.

Davies returned to session work in the music industry. Harris, Craig [ Biography, Answers] ] For a time, Davies played in folk music clubs, and gave guitar lessons to support himself. "I began concentrating more on my guitar playing. I then found there was a lot of session work available for a finger-style acoustic player", he said to "Beat Instrumental Magazine". "Beat Instrumental Magazine", August, 1972 [ Alun Davies - Player of the Month] ] He continued to write new material of his own, with the hopes of a solo album in the future.

With Cat Stevens


Davies was first recruited to work with Cat Stevens in early 1970, by Stevens' producer, Paul Samwell-Smith. Brown, George [ Cat's Man] February 5, 1972 "Publisher Disc and Music Echo" Accessed 2008-08-11] He was considered a perfect compliment to Stevens' new, folk-rock based approach to music, and the combination clicked. Harris, Craig "Allmusic Guide", 1970 [;_ylt=Aj7mrVE3HD2kw6AW.IhT7JIJGbgF Alun Davies: Biography] ] Initially hired as a session musician on the album "Mona Bone Jakon", Davies' more experienced suggestions, guitar "finger-work" and backing vocals first assisted Stevens to achieve a solid hit single from the album with the song, "My Lady d'Arbanville", a madrigal sounding song written about Stevens' girlfriend at the time, which ultimately reached #8 on the pop charts in the United Kingdom. Islam, Yusuf [ Official 2008 website] April, 1970 Accessed 2008-08-11 ] The song and the album laid the groundwork for Stevens' most productive albums to come. Davies had developed a love for the emerging folk-rock sound, as had Stevens. He'd worked with Cat Stevens, who added him as his first accompanist, rather than a sideman, and they completed "Mona Bone Jakon" and within six weeks' time had already begun to work on "Tea for the Tillerman". At this point, Jon Mark re-appeared to Davies, offering him a place in the emerging Mark-Almond band, however, Davies chose to remain with Stevens, saying he was "getting a buzz off Stevens' work."

With Cat Stevens' fame

Wooing the American audience

As his only accompanist on Stevens' first tour of the United States, Davies commented nervously that the two experienced some stage fright, upon hearing that they'd be opening for Steve Winwood's band, Traffic. However, the concert was a hit, and had three standing ovations, bolstering both the confidence of the band and the sales of Stevens' albums. Working alongside Stevens, Alun was a thoroughly essential partner in seeing Stevens catapult into world-fame. Within a short time, Davies was regarded by asute fans as a perfectionist, arriving before Stevens at each concert to personally check out both the sound and instruments after the sound checks, and practicing the material, until he was satisfied that the audience would receive the best concert available. Such finishing touches kept him the most essential member of Stevens' artistic team. "Magicat, Cat Stevens' Scrapbook" [ Alun Davies' Page] ] "Tea for the Tillerman" and "Teaser and the Firecat" both were platinum albums in the United States, and each produced top charting singles. Lauded as Stevens' right-hand man, Davies put off his dreams of solo albums because he insisted that Stevens' work was more essential, and he remained loyal to him, saying he would eventually find time for the project.

In 1972, and 1974, Davies' at last found the time and opportunity to launch his own solo albums. "Waste of Time", in 1972, which had seven songs written or co-written by Davies, and supported by Stevens on piano, with other members of Cat Stevens band, including drummer Gerry Conway. 1974 saw the release of "Daydo", Davies' nickname until age 18. The album also was shown similar assistance by Stevens and his band. "Disc Magazine" Double Feature: Alun Davies or never let a Daydo By" [ Interview with Davies and Cat Stevens] ] Both albums featured Stevens on piano and were produced by Stevens and Paul Samwell Smith. Harris, Craig "All Music Guide" [,,420780,00.htmlAlun Davies Biography Artist Direct] ] Both solo efforts received mixed reviews. "Disc Magazine" Double Feature: Alun Davies or never let a Daydo By" [ Interview with Davies and Cat Stevens] ]

Reaction to Stevens' conversion

After Cat Stevens left the pop business, for what was believed to be the remainder of his life, Davies confessed feeling quite sad; saying that after being so fortunate to have attached himself to a "major talent" for so long, that there was a period of time that he mourned, as did quite a few others. Partly, this was because once musicians joined Stevens' band, they were unlikely to leave in what many of the bandmates considered not just a tightly knit band, but an unusually positive assemblage of dedicated professionals who became fast friends. Davies commented that he hadn't seen this major change in Stevens' life coming, due to Stevens search for spiritual fulfillment, and had experimented with Numerology, Buddhism, I-Ching, and many kinds of religions. Thus, Davies thought he was merely going through another phase right up until the last month or so, according to his contribution to the interview that covered Cat Stevens' career on the Vh1's series, "Behind the Music".cite video|people = Forbes, Jim (host)| title = Cat Stevens: Behind the Music| medium = TV-Series| publisher = VH1| location = United States| year= 2000 ]


Davies moved on to session work again and soon was composing songs and performing with vocalist Ronnie Lane who was an old friend and former member of the English bands, The Faces and the Small Faces. Unterberger, Ritchie [ AMG Reviews: Biography] "All-Music Review" ] Together, the two co-wrote and recorded the opening track, for Lane's upcoming album, "See Me", as well as "One Step", and another tune, "She's Leaving", in 1979.

Current work

With the re-emergence of Cat Stevens, (now Yusuf Islam) back on stage, Davies has spent the majority of his time performing and recording with him, and does so to the present day.

Davies also currently performs with the group Good Men in the Jungle with his former bandmate from their "Cat Stevens" days; drummer Gerry Conway, (although Conway, also formerly of Jethro Tull, plays most often with Fairport Convention). Others in this band include Davies' daughter, Becky Moncurr. [ List of members of Good Men in the Jungle] ]


elected Discography

1963 "Relax Your Mind" Decca LK 4547
* Alun Davies; guitars and vocals
* Jon Michael Burchell; guitars and vocalsSupporting musicians:
* Arthur Watts bass guitar
* Judd Proctor, (banjo, rhythm guitar)
*Big Jim Sullivan (electric guitar, 12 string guitar)

1968 "Sweet Thursday"
* Alun Davies guitars and vocals
* Jon Mark (Jon Michael Burchell) of the Mark-Almond Band, guitars and vocals Supporting musicians
*Nicky Hopkins
* Harvey Burns
* Brian Odgers

1972 "Waste Of Time in 1972"Supporting musicians
* Cat Stevens Piano
* Gerry Conway drums

1972 Harris, Craig "All Music Guide" [ Alun Davies Biography] ]

"Waste of Time" Davies' first solo effortSupporting musicians
* Cat Stevens Piano
* Gerry Conway drums
* Nicky Hopkins

1974 "Daydo"

Alun Davies' only solo albums as of 2008 have been "Waste of Time" in 1972, followed by "Daydo", in the same year. Much of the material was written as early as 1970; however, this was just prior to Davies' introduction, backup work, and devoted friendship with Cat Stevens. With the intention of releasing the material as soon as possible, Davies bemoaned the fact that he had so little time to debut his own work, but stated that he had no regrets. The LP at last was released in the summer of 1972. An editorial appears on the sleeve of the LP from Jon Mark, of "Sweet Thursday", and the Mark-Almond Band.

"Daydo" has the most distinct folk-rock sound, a complimentary recording to the work he had done for Cat Stevens for the previous two years. Appearing on the album were several musicians from the Cat Stevens band.

* Alun Davies, guitars
* Gerry Conway, drums, percussion
* Jean Roussel, keyboards, organ, and backing vocals
* Cat Stevens, guitars, piano, and backing vocals.

With Cat Stevens

*1970 "Mona Bone Jakon"
*1970 "Tea for the Tillerman"
*1971 "Teaser and the Firecat"
*1972 "Catch Bull At Four"
*1973 "Foreigner" (1973)
*1974 "Buddha and the Chocolate Box"
*1974 "Saturnight"
*1975 "Numbers" (1975)
*1976 "Majikat"- released in 2005
*1976 "Izitso"
*1978 "Back to Earth"

Other collaborations

* 1979
* 2004 "Entre La Jeunesse Et La Sagesse" as supporting guitarist with Kate and Anna McGarrigle, a Canadian sister duo, who perform in English and French.

With Stevens as Yusuf Islam

* "An Other Cup"
* "Yusuf's Cafe Sessions"


External links


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