Bert (Bertha) Davis

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Like specks of food on a dish, the name Bert Davis can be revealed by carefully scouring the credits on different record labels. Other songwriting credits under names such as Howard Richards, Billy Collins,…
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Like specks of food on a dish, the name Bert Davis can be revealed by carefully scouring the credits on different record labels. Other songwriting credits under names such as Howard Richards, Billy Collins, Rinky Scott Jones, Phoebe Snow (although not the famous one), Glenn Gibson, and Adrienne Garblik were actually pseudonyms for Davis, but more accurately Bertha Davis than Bert Davis. That's because there was no Bert Davis, at least not one who wrote songs. There was a Bertha Davis, sure -- in fact there were two. Both wives of record producer, publisher, songwriter, and label manager Joe Davis happened to be named Bertha. During both marriages he used their names as a conduit for publishing funds.

The name Bert Davis was an aquaduct bringing these publishing assets to Bertha Davis and from there back home to papa Joe Davis. He was the one who had wrangled the drinking rights to various songs, was filling recording session urns up with these titles, and didn't want it to look like one person was "writing" all the material. Thus the elaborate irrigation system of pseudonyms, the heyday of which was between 1952 and 1954. Although neither of the wives named Bertha actually wrote music, Bertha Davis number two was involved in managing the Hudco label in the first half of the '60s. This company was named in tribute to her grandson, William "Hud" Collins. Ironically, the similar-sounding name Bernice Evans is also a songwriting credit from the doo wop era that is less than legitimate.