Rick Davis

His Magic Banjo!

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Rick Davis Bio

Rick Davis was born, Richard Davis Eutsler, on March of 1947 in Baltimore, Maryland.  At the age of four, his Father took the family to Orlando, Florida.  Shortly after settling in Orlando his Father went back to Maryland and soon afterwards his parents were divorced.  His Mother left with three daughters and one son, set out to support the family on her own.

She met Bud Rayburn who she eventually married and he filled the gap in the family that was left by his Father's leaving.

When Richard was just entering Junior High School, he was starting to run with a gang in the neighborhood where he lived.  His Mother thought that if he joined the band it might help him to get back on course with his life.  She knew that he like music because, when he was nine, he found an old mandolin in the attic of the house that they just moved into.  He took some of Bud's fishing line and made strings for the instrument which he tuned in 5ths.  The first song that he played on it was, "The Wabash Cannon Ball".

He took to the band and started playing the Clarinet, but found it hard to break away from the 'old gang'.  Bud decided that it was time for them to move, so they sold their home and moved out to the North East part of Orange County on Lake Pickett.  He changed schools and went full out into his music.  When he wasn't playing the clarinet, he started playing the guitar and like most kids in High School that played music back in the early 60's started a rock and roll band.  His biggest drawback was that he just could not sing.  So he concentrated on the clarinet and lead guitar.

In 1961, at the age of 14, Richard was given an old banjo by a friend that he had met working with horses.  It was an S. G. Stewart and it wasn't in very good shape, but he liked the sound and decided to start playing it.  Not knowing anything about the banjo or its tuning, he simply tuned it to the first four string of a guitar.  Having played the Baritone Uke, and having an old song book for that instrument, he thought it made good since.  Since he couldn't carry a tune in a double bucket, he decided to try and play the melody line along with the chords.  One day Bud and his Mother took him to the Langford Hotel in Winter Park, Florida.  This was to be the first time that he saw Eddy Peabody play the Banjo.  It would not be the last!  He continued to go back to the Langford Hotel every chance he got whenever Eddy Peabody was there.

In 1967 after one of his performances, Eddy Peabody stopped at the table where Richard was sitting and asked if he could sit down.  Richard was flabbergasted and said, sure.  Eddy told him that he had been noticing him at the Hotel every year that he was there and inquired as to why.  Richard told him that he came to hear him play because he wanted to play just like him.  He told Eddy that he would listen to him play and then go home and try to do the same.  Eddy Peabody must have been either impressed or curious because he invited Richard to meet him in the lobby of the hotel the next day.  He told him to bring his banjo.

The next day arrived and found Richard waiting in the lobby for Eddy Peabody.  He was very nervous because, after all, it was Eddy Peabody!  Eddy came up with a big smile and slapping Richard on the back said, "how you doing pal"?  Richard managed to stutter out, "fine".  Eddy asked to see the banjo that Richard was playing and he showed him the old Stewart.  Eddy took the banjo and strummed a couple of chords.  Then he asked Richard how long he had been playing and when Richard told him 6 years Eddy told him that the Stewart was fine for him at the time.  He never mentioned the tuning.  Eddy asked Richard to play him a song, so he played China Town My China Town, one that Eddy played every night in his performance.  When Richard was done playing, Eddy told him with a real serious look on his face that he needed a new banjo.  That the one he had wasn't good enough if he was going to grow in his performance.  Richard asked him how much one would cost and when Eddy said around $3000.00, he was shocked.  Eddy saw it on his face and asked him if he could afford an instrument like that.  Back in 1967 that was A LOT of money.  Eddy thanked him for coming and wished him luck with his playing.

That night was Eddy's last night at the Langford Hotel for the season.  After he played that night, he stopped by Richard's table and asked him to meet him in the lobby the next day.  When Eddy came in, he was carrying an old banjo case.  He handed it to Richard and said, "here, I played this after I got out of the Navy years ago.  It did me good.  Now, let's see what it does for you".  Eddy suggested that he drop his last name and just use his first and middle name for his stage name.  He said that people would remember him better.  That is why he goes by Rick Davis when he plays.

Rick started playing at Shakey's Pizza Parlor in 1971 and added Rodgers Restaurant to the mix in 1972.  He started a band called "Rick Davis and the Dixielanders".  Things were starting to go his way and then the bottom dropped out.  The Musicians Union paid him a visit and said that if he wanted to continue playing, he would have to join or he would be black balled.  It wasn't very long after that, that he found it next to impossible to play except here and there.  He refused to join the union and ended up giving lessons here and there and driving a cab.

It was in August of 72 that Rick gave his life over to The Lord.  In 1974 he started The Fishermen Ministry and is still ministering today.  In 1979 his banjo was stolen and he felt that it was the end of a dream to one day play again.  Then in 2006 Rick and a friend were talking about music and how nice it would be to play again.  A few days later this friend said lets do it.  Rick said that he could not afford it and his friend said, I can, so now at the age of 59, Rick Davis is back and we can't wait to see what happens.


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