Stu Davis

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Stu Davis
Birth name David Stewart
Born July 1, 1921
Origin Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Died March 25, 2007(2007-03-25) (aged 85)
Genres Country
Occupation(s) Singer
Years active 1940s–1960s

Stu Davis (b. David Stewart July 1, 1921 in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada; died March 25, 2007 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada) was a Canadian singer, songwriter, storyteller and musician. Davis was inducted into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame in 1993.

Biography[edit]

Early life[edit]

Stu Davis was born David Alexander Stewart, the son of Scottish immigrant parents. As a youth he was a collector of cowboy songs and ballads. Davis began his radio career at 18, when his winning a talent contest earned him a regular program. It was at this time he adopted the stage-name Stu Davis. As his fame grew, he also came to be known as 'Canada's Cowboy Troubadour'.

Career[edit]

Davis was popular across Canada as the star of numerous Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) network radio and television series of the 1950s and '60s, including ‘Rope Around the Sun’, ‘Red River Jamboree’, and ‘Trail Riding Troubadour’. He was also heard on daily broadcasts on CBC radio through much of the 1950s.

He developed a following in the United States from his early Sonora and RCA Victor recordings (1940s) and several appearances on such American radio shows as Chicago's 'National Barn Dance', Minneapolis' 'Sunset Valley Barn Dance', and New York's 'Town Hall'. Many of his more than 200 songs were published by Gordon V. Thompson (Canada) and Bob Miller (United States).

In a career that spanned three decades, Davis recorded dozens of singles and more than twenty albums for RCA Victor, London, Dominion and various other labels. Some of his later albums were released under the Richmond label in the U.S. and his most recent releases were retrospectives entitled 'Let's Go Back to the Country' (Cattle Records of Germany, 1987) and 'Canada's Cowboy Troubadour' (British Archives of Country Music, 2008).

Davis also hosted programs for several private radio stations and regional networks across western Canada: CKCK and CKRM in Regina, CJCA and CFRN in Edmonton, CKXL, CFCN and CFAC in Calgary, and CKY in Winnipeg.

Through the years he shared stages with contemporary artists such as The Sons of the Pioneers, Wilf Carter, Hank Snow, Ernest Tubb, and Elton Britt. Always appreciative of mentorship he had received early in his career from Wilf Carter and Hank Snow, Davis himself was very encouraging to younger performers; he was especially supportive of The Mercey Brothers, Jimmie Pirie, and Alfie Myhre, artists with whom he worked in the 1950s and '60s.

His songs were recorded by numerous singers, including Eddy Arnold, Hank Snow, Wilf Carter, Ray Price, and Dale Warren (Sons of the Pioneers). His most successful song was Eddy Arnold’s ‘What a Fool I Was’, the second biggest selling country recording of 1948, placing #2 on the Billboard charts only to Arnold’s 'Anytime'.

Davis spent the latter part of his career performing from the radio and television studios of CBC Edmonton. His last television series was produced there in 1967: 'Trail Riding Troubadour', an historical music/documentary filmed in colour on location across the Canadian prairies and British Columbia. His last television special was produced in 1969.

Retirement[edit]

Davis retired from the music scene shortly after his last television special, turning his attention to his cattle ranch, the Lazy SD, and to real estate holdings in Alberta.

He was predeceased by his wife Evelyn in 1986. They were married 43 years and had two sons.

References[edit]

  • Wills, Brian. '... meanwhile, back at the Lazy SD... ' CanComp, 42, Sep 1969
  • Miller, N.D.. 'Let's Go Back To the Country', Cattle Records MonoLP112 (Liner Notes), 1987
  • Foster, Don. 'The Stu Davis story... pioneer of Canadian country radio & TV,' CMN, vol 10, Jan 1990
  • Thorne, Duncan. 'Life & Times', Edmonton Journal, Tuesday, March 27, 2007