Bobby Davis

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Dallas-born Bobby "Top Hat" Davis has been a fixture on Chicago's blues scene for more than half a decade. Performing on Maxwell Street, accompanied by Mr. H., since the late '50s, Davis plays…
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Dallas-born Bobby "Top Hat" Davis has been a fixture on Chicago's blues scene for more than half a decade. Performing on Maxwell Street, accompanied by Mr. H., since the late '50s, Davis plays every weekend at Frank "Little Sonny" Scott's Juketown Community Bandstand and the Johnny Dollar Blues Stage.

The son of a singer, Davis is a natural performer. By the age of nine, he was already attracting attention as a tap-dancing shoeshine boy outside Dallas' State Movie Theater. Teaching himself to play drums and organ, he made his professional debut with the Zuzu Bolden and Adolph Sneed Band in the mid-'40s. He collaborated with Texas bluesman Little Son Jackson in 1947.

Relocating to Chicago, with Rosoe Gordon and Baby Face Willette, in 1957, Davis quickly secured an extended engagement at the Crown Propeller Club. He later worked with drummer Rosie Davis and guitarist Eric Davis, performing at a service station at 14th Street and Halsted Avenue for seven years.

An occasional drummer for the Muddy Waters Blues Band, Davis worked frequently with Otis Rush, Eddie Boyd, and Matt "Guitar" Murphy. He accompanied Ray Charles in the 1980 film Blues Brothers.

Davis continues to host a blues-oriented music show on Chicago's public access television station.