Blues Hall of Fame inductee Walter Davis Sunday received due reverence in the form of a proper marker on his grave. Music aficionados say the pianist, composer, and singer is one of the most influential and prolific players of the pre-World War II blues scene. He is the first beneficiary of a partnership between non-profit groups Killer Blues Headstone Project and Friends of Greenwood Cemetery Association.
Born in Grenada, Mississippi in 1912, Davis recorded more sides between 1927 and 1953 than all but a few of his contemporaries. He began performing professionally in the late 1920s, recorded his seminal "Sunnyland Blues" in 1931, and continued as an itinerant musician until suffering a stroke in the early 1950s. Removed from the music scene, he became a preacher and found employment at the Calumet and Albany hotels in St. Louis, MO. Following his death in 1963 Davis was interred in Greenwood Cemetery in an unmarked location. He was welcomed posthumously into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2005.
Davis's marker is the eleventh headstone financed, provided, and laid by Killer Blues, an organization with members in Michigan and Missouri. In 2012 the group has also delivered headstones to the unmarked resting spots of Richard "Hacksaw" Harney, Johnny "Daddy Stovepipe" Watson, and Leroy "Baby Face" Foster. Eddie King will be the next bluesman to receive this much deserved recognition.
Killer Blues recently began working with Etta Daniels and the Friends of Greenwood Cemetery to facilitate the removal of overgrowth covering much of the historic African-American cemetery.
Information on all of the Killer Blues Headstone Project's past and planned endeavors can be found online at www.killerblues.net.