Henry D. Davis

Don Davis was born in Haynesville, Louisiana in 1928 to Orvin and Francis Davis, both from Sabine Parish. His father was a gospel singer and songwriter but also worked in the Rodessa oil field. His family raised vegetables and used a mule to plow the garden. Orvin, and a preacher friend, formed a publishing company with his 175 songs and some of them were recorded by The Hemphills, the Hoppers, the Chuck Wagon Gang and the McKameys. When he was twelve, Don got a fiddle and later began playing the bass. His parents had a radio and Don remembers listening to the Chuck Wagon Gang, the Sunshine Boys and the Rice Brothers on KWKH. He graduated from Rodessa High School in 1946 and was playing music in Idaho two weeks later. After playing in Idaho and Oregon for three months he returned to Rodessa and then went out to Hartsville, South Carolina to play for Joe Smith on a 250 watt radio station. He returned to Shreveport and joined the Louisiana Hayride where he played with Hank Williams, Slim Whitman and many others. Don recorded around 40 or 50 songs with Slim and about the same number with Jim Reeves. Around 1954 or 1955 he went out west with Jim Reeves, Jim and Maxine Brown, Dido Rowley and D.J. Fontana on a tour lasting about six weeks. Don also played with Jimmie Davis and George Jones. He met his future wife, Edna May Gilbert, while he was playing the Municipal Auditorium and proposed to her on Valentine's Day, 1953. They married in June of that year. Although Don went straight into music after high school and played at the Municipal Auditorium, music was his "fall back" career. He sold shoes during the day and played music and recorded at night. He says that many people were leaving Shreveport going to Nashville because Shreveport did not have the facilities, booking agencies and publishing companies that were needed. Over the years Don has made eight fiddles in his workshop. His favorite memories are with his family and the trips they took around the country to Arkansas, Ruby Caver in Silver Dollar City, Carlsbad Caversn in New Mexico and to AstroWorld in Houston. He wrote a book called Poems and Thoughts. Don and his wife, celebrated their golden anniversary and were married fifty-six years before her death. They had two children, Kenneth and Rodney Davis, and four grandchildren.