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PostSubject: traduction / Sheriff Tex Davis   30.11.07 18:13

Wednesday, 08/29/07

'Be-Bop-A-Lula' co-writer, music promoter Davis dies at 93

Staff Writer

Sheriff Tex Davis, whose efforts as a songwriter, manager and promoter altered rock ’n’ roll and country music history, died today at 5:55 a.m. He was 93, and had recently been released from the hospital after a long period of declining health.

Mr. Davis is credited with co-writing the Gene Vincent smash “Be-Bop-A-Lula,” he managed Vincent to popularity, and later Mr. Davis took a job as promotion man at Monument Records in Nashville, where he pitched now-classics from Kris Kristofferson, Dolly Parton, Jeannie Seely and many others to radio stations.


All of this from a man born in Connecticut as William Douchette.

“He was a very… colorful character,” chuckled Monument boss Fred Foster. “And he was very important to the business. Tex never met a stranger.”

Douchette became “Sheriff Tex Davis” quite suddenly one day, after WLOW radio in Norfolk, Va. gave him a job as disc jockey for a country music show. “Douchette” didn’t sound terribly country, and the station ran an introduction with the sound effect of a horse galloping. When the horse sounds stopped, the nervous disc jockey improvised, “This is Sheriff Tex Davis here,” and the name stuck.

In 1954, Mr. Davis opened Norfolk station WCMS, where he did disc jockey work and also booked Grand Ole Opry acts into the Norfolk Arena. Soon, Gene Vincent began hanging around WCMS, and Mr. Davis was impressed by his voice. Stories vary as to the creation of “Be-Bop-A-Lula” — Foster believes Vincent had much of the song together but that Davis contributed four or five lines — but the finished song was catchy enough that Mr. Davis signed Vincent to a management deal and began shopping the song (and two others) to labels.

Capitol Records producer Ken Nelson instructed Mr. Davis to bring Vincent and his band, The Blue Caps, to Nashville to record at Owen Bradley’s studio. The result was an enduring classic that is now part of rock ’n’ roll’s DNA. It has been covered by John Lennon, the Everly Brothers, Jerry Lee Lewis and hundreds of others. Mr. Davis and Vincent wrote several other songs together before parting company less than a year later.

Mr. Davis went back to radio, but in 1967 he moved to Middle Tennessee to promote Monument singles to radio.

“Back then, a promoter also did sales, marketing, artist development, press publicity and all sorts of other things,” said Jeannie Seely. “Tex had a wonderful personality, and he seemed to know everybody. He taught me so much, in terms of learning to deal with people. They all loved him.”

Foster said Mr. Davis was ideal for the position.

“He was great with people, and he got records played,” Foster said.

Mr. Davis cultivated his “Sheriff Tex” image, even adding a little southern-flavored grift to his conversational repertoire lest anyone think that he wasn’t a down-home kind of guy.

“After he changed his name to Tex Davis, he said at first that his real name was William Davis,” Foster said. “But William Davis didn’t sound Southern enough.”

The Southern solution? William Beauregard Davis.

Mr. Davis’ contributions weren’t limited to music. He also served his country in World War II.

Mr. Davis is survived by his wife, Betty, daughter Bobbi and son Michael (an in-demand Nashville steel player and harmonica player).

Visitation will be at noon Saturday with the service at 2 p.m. at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Hendersonville.

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