Raymond ‘Chip’ Davis – Singin’ Rascal

chipper

Raymond ‘Chip’ Davis a West Virginia native who grew up in Baltimore Maryland as a preachers kid. Davis made the move down to Music City U.S.A. in the late 80’s after playing the clubs and bars in and around Baltimore for years.

‘Chip’ as everybody knows him around Nashville nowadays, is a singer/songwriter and producer. Who worked with some of the biggest names in gospel and country music. Chris Cagle recorded Chip’s song “What Kind of Gone” it was the only song in 2009 to get a 2nd Airplay award for staying in the top 50 for two years! Just to name a few more Chip worked with are Dolly Parton, Randy Travis, Don Felder, Mickey Gilley, Michael English, Russ Taff, Kenny Hinson, Gaither Vocal Band, Carman and the list goes on and on. Chip sang in the ‘behind the scenes choir’ on a bunch of Homecoming videos. The Martins performed Chip’s composition “Grace” on the Hawaiian Homecoming video. He currently tours with country music legends Alabama. In fact he wrote the title song of Alabama‘s latest project ‘Southern Drawl’. Chip is a singing machine…..a one man choir. Check your music collection and you’d be surprised on how many other people’s he has worked on. He’s either credited as Ray(mond) Davis or Chip Davis. As we speak he’s probably cramped in a vocal booth somewhere round Nashville…..laying down track by track…delivering only the best, to the ones who hired him! Making everyone around him sound better!

Sounds a little dramatic perhaps, but this guy has a signature sound in background vocal land. When you listen to various projects in the country/gospel field from the 90’s till the present day you understand why he’s the guy who got the call. Like George Younce once said to Chip when he ran into him at the National quartet convention ‘Raymond you singin’ rascal… you…’. Chip sang on two of George’s solo projects, and George loved to hear him sing! Davis a singer’s singer….respected for his ‘ear’ for harmony and his remarkable pleasant voice. He embodies ‘easy on the ears, heavy on the heart’ like no one else. Chip recorded a solo album a couple of years back and it is truly one of the best albums out there! It is titled ‘Standing in my own way’. Vocally, lyrically and musically a top notch project! Yet very few know it’s out there, and that’s a shame. He also recorded a stellar Bluegrass album entitled “Lifetime” with his family. Go seek that one out too, it’s one of the most moving and honest albums you’ll ever hear.

So what is Chip up to these days? Well he’s still doing session work either as producer or background vocalist. Traveling with Alabama as mentioned before, where he’s singing and playing keys. And he is still writing wonderful tunes, tunes that have a common thread…being truth. Love and truth…that’s Chip alright! I had the pleasure of hearing some amazing tunes while visiting with Chip just recently. As soon as I heard some of these demos I texted every SGM artists I knew, that I just heard a song that would be perfect for them. At the moment he’s collaborating with Dony McGuire and Reba Rambo McGuire and it’s amazing what these three have crafted! Wonderful songs with poetry and content. Potent stuff! Every group today that is looking for some new material should stop what they are doing and get a hold of one of these three, because these are real message songs…songs of hope and love!

Mark Lowry recently recorded  one of those songs entitled “Come As You Are”. Lowry also posted a video recently that he’d shot at Chip’s home. In the video, that has had 1.9 million views on Facebook, Chip his talented brother Billy, and sister Amelia sing a song that he and Billy wrote over 25 years ago entitled ‘Lord Remember Me’. A song that is an instant classic from the first time you hear it! People love that song, all the comments you read on Facebook and Youtube are nothing but raving! Here’s a link to the studio cut of this song; https://youtu.be/FrvIZRWoC18

Though it’s available on iTunes, and it has had that many views on social media, you would think that song would do well for Chip and Billy. i’m sad to report that sales are not worth mentioning. I hear people say all the time ‘nobody makes real music anymore’ or ‘aren’t there any good songs anymore? Well I tell you there are! But if these artists don’t get what they deserve, you’ll probably never get to hear them! Making records doesn’t come free! Rare songbirds like Chip Davis need to be heard, and his wonderful poetry has to be shared with the masses, there’s a lot to be learned from his songs. So spent $0.99 on that tune…feed the birds…..ultimately feed your soul!
Chip Davis is besides an artist, also a loving family man with a big big heart. A loyal and hard working individual, with a genuine love for all of God’s creatures….great or small. A guy who not quotes the verse ‘the greatest of these is love’ but lives it in a humble and real way! Like George said, this guy is a singing rascal, well indeed he is, but he’s more than just that!

Go to http://www.chipdavisworld.com and get to know this incredible brother!

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Of Barbarella, Quartets, Madness and Sir Cliff.

When I was 10 or 12..I loved music that was frowned upon by my peers. While they listened to bands like Duran Duran, I listened to The Delta Rhythm Boys, when they danced to the beat of The Simple Minds, I stood bewildered on the edge of the dance floor feeling superior to the musical simple minds in front of me. Who were frantically displaying how rhythm should not be displayed in public. Duran Duran…what kind of name is that?! What does it mean? Well I’ll fill you in on that later. When one of my classmates asked me what kind of music I listened to, I said…‘well….Duran Duran, Simple Minds,…you know?! Anybody who knew me back then, knew that I was pretty opinionated and outspoken! Well spoken some considered me as eloquent. Which says more about the IQ of my peers, than my linguistic artistry! Outspoken..my foot! Not on this topic I wasn’t!

I was ashamed of my musical taste back then, or maybe ashamed is not the word. But I just didn’t have the heart to tell them that Kenny Drew was a great jazz pianist. Seemed pretty pointless to explain to them who Lee Gaines was. Or talk about Leland Sklar’s genius bass playing, or how funky Steve Gadd’s grooves were. All the stuff they listened to, was overly synthesized and drum programmed! Of course there was the ironic possibility that all of the others were hiding their own musical taste aswell. Then again, sales figures of bands like Duran Duran went through the roof, so that’s pretty good evidence to proof the contrary.

Man I can see myself sitting up in my old room once again, listening to ‘Take The Chains From My Heart’ as sung by Ray Charles. Or scaring the wits out of an old out of tune guitar that I really didn’t play. I violated the darn thing! Playing along with Charlie Rich singing “I Do My Swinging at Home‘. Charlie Rich…that guy was awesome! The Silver Fox started out on Sun records as a Elvis on steroids. But when he was a few years into his career he developed into one of the most underrated artists ever! No one can touch Charlie when he sings a song like ‘Set Me Free‘. Charlie’s piano playing was a mix of gospel, jazz and country, he played it very well. There were a couple of groups I liked when I was a teen. I liked Spandau Ballet, that lead singer Mr.Tony Hadley had a great voice. Liked a group named ‘Madness‘ who had a hit with the title ‘Nightboat to Caïro’. I was also crazy about Billy Ocean’s voice, that sounded somewhat like Larnelle Harris’s voice. So? you guys ask, why didn’t you answer naming those contemporary artists while questioned by a moron? Well all those names were the ‘uncool’ performers of that time. We found common ground though, on one singer who we all thought was awful. His name Rick ‘the prick‘ Astley….he sang the horrible ‘Never Gonna Give You Up‘. That line came by so much, that you prayed ‘ I kinda wish he gave up’.

I promised to explain the name Duran Duran..here’s what I found on http://www.rateyourmusic.com;

‘Inspired by one of their favourite Birmingham clubs, Barbarella’s, the band took their name from the evil character “Dr. Durand Durand”, played by Milo O’Shea in Roger Vadim’s 1968 sexy science-fiction cult film Barbarella’.

Mmmh Jane Fonda yummy…we all agreed on miss Fonda too, but that’s another tune. You know irony is the hygiene of the mind Oscar Wilde said. Isn’t it ironic that today I actually like Duran Duran, and even the Simple Minds. I still hate Rick though…glad the record company finally gave up on him. One artist I still find hard to admit that I like is Sir Cliff Richard…..yes I know, I know, that’s indeed kind of sad…but hearing Cliff sing ‘True love ways’ with the London Philharmonic is just fabulous.

I loved Elvis Presley too..man did I ever! Loved Bill Haley, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent, Jerry Lee and Carl Perkins too. But Elvis was the man! Elvis turned me on to gospel quartets! I loved those background voices better than Elvis. Ate up all ooohs and aaahhs by The Imperials. Every ’56 ending by J.D! The gospel albums of Elvis….wow! The ‘He Touched Me’ album is the best. Never heard a better rendition of the Ralph Carmichael song ‘Reach Out to Jesus’.

I started to buy gospel quartet music where ever I was. Still kept listening to soul, jazz, country, blues, bluegrass and classical, but quartets are still my main thing. You name it and I listened to it, Cathedrals, Statesmen, Couriers, Singing Americans, Weatherfords,Rebels, Melody Masters, Swanee River Boys, Vanguards, Downings, Oak Ridge, Imperials, Blackwoods, Stamps, and many more.

Thank God for Gaither…he put me on to a lot of these groups. And thank Al Gore for the internet! All the info on the net is awesome! I love the details, credits, who played on what album? Who sang the baritone in what year in a certain quartet. Who replaced who on a part, what is counterpoint singing? part swapping? or coming in on the fly! I love the history and the heritage. I love the tight-knit gospel singing community, or the thought of it. Loved how Glen loved George! How J.D. loved his wife. How Gerald Wolfe sang ‘Magnify Him‘, and how Michael English broke into ‘He’s Still Working On Me’. How Vestal Goodman practically hijacked a mic on an early Gaither video to sing;

‘A country where no twilight shadows deepen
Unending day where night will never be
A city where no storm clouds ever gather
This is just what Heaven means to me’.

I love the music that I love, and I know for a fact that the people who I met in real life and who are artists themselves, are genuine, normal, cool, and just like us all. If someone asks me today what music that I like, I say ‘Gospel’ and they immediately will break into ‘Oh Happy Day‘.,,and then walk off laughing…shoutin’ ‘hallelujah‘ while they distance themselves from me. I answer that with a loud ‘amen‘. As I said, or implied before, don’t talk about perfect pitch to the tone-deaf! They won’t hear you!

Auke