"Country Line Special"
The Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars were, after the Rolling Stones, the best British blues band of the early '60s. This regrettably short-lived blues band was assembled by harpist/singer Cyril Davies (1932-1964) in 1963, following his exit from Blues Incorporated. The group's original lineup, featuring Davies on harp and vocals, had Bernie Watson on guitar, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Ricky Brown playing bass, and Carlo Little on the drums -- all four had been recruited from the ranks of Screaming Lord Sutch's Savages. This quintet recorded an initial single, "Country Line Special," driven by Davies' wailing harp and vocals, that was sufficiently authentic to get it placed alongside the British releases of songs by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and the rest of the Chess Record luminaries in England's Pye Records catalog.
Watson and Brown went their separate ways during the summer of 1963, and Jeff Bradford and Cliff Barton came in on guitar and bass, respectively, with Long John Baldry -- another Blues Incorporated alumnus -- occasionally sitting in on vocals. Their second single, "Preachin' the Blues," was released in September to modest but promising success, and for a time it looked like Davies and company were going to be a major force on the burgeoning R&B scene. But Davies collapsed late in 1963, and was diagnosed as suffering from acute leukemia; he died in January of 1964. All Music Guide