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                                                                      Home      Alun Davies    Messageboard  


Melody Maker
September 16, 1972
Written by Mark Plummer
Courtesy of Linda Crafar



It’s been a long time coming for Alun Davis, Cat Stevens’ gentle Welsh guitar man. Fame is not exactly knocking on the door yet, but Alun’s first solo album “Daydo.” produced by Cat Stevens and Paul Samwell-Smith, is going to make a lot of people sit up and take notice.

With the release of “Daydo” a lot of work is going to be in hand for Davis. Tours are lined up for Australia, Japan, the States and then back to Britain for Christmas and dates before moving on to the Continent for another tour with Cat Stevens. Following that he goes to the States for his own three-month tour, which means he will be working almost non stop until the middle of next year.
“Make it easy,” he says. “I’m just savouring a few days at home with my family before all this work starts.”

CBS just sent through the pressings of Daydo, “I can’t tell you how happy I am with the album. It’s worked out very well. Sure, perhaps there are too many solo albums coming out. But I think it will sell, especially in the States where I am pretty well known through my work with Steve (Cat Stevens).”

On the American tour, which will be using a different orchestra in each town they play, Alun will be playing a solo spot with Cat Stevens’ backing band and the orchestra. That will help to sell the album, he says, but most of all it will help him as a musician to have to come out to the front rather than staying in Cat Stevens shadow. He’s especially looking forward to doing a couple of his numbers with the orchestra.

“We’re taking Dell Newman with us on every date to conduct, picking up orchestras on each date, so the time schedules are going to be amazing. It’s double the work we usually do, having to do all those sound checks and rehearsals.”

Davis is a very honest sort of man. Asked why he didn’t produce his album himself, he owned up and said that he did not think he would have been capable of doing it and keeping a clear mind over what he wanted the end product to be. He has produced one album for Jeremy Taylor, on which he plays a little guitar, but he says you can’t put yourself in two places at once and get the best results.

“To be in two places, playing and producing, you have to be completely uncompromising like John Mayall, otherwise you can’t do it. He’s pragmatic about recording. I’ll let a song take me where it wants to go, which is not the right way. If you’ve got a drummer playing he can change a whole song sound, turn a song on its ear.”
With his own gig coming up, Alun has been prepared for people asking him if it is the end of their partnership, but he can’t see their well-weathered partnership coming to an end just yet. They’ve still got too many things to explore and find out before that happens. Cat Stevens is planning on taking a break from music anyway, and Alun feels that his solo tour will fit in well with that, leaving him free to do his own things as well as working with Stevens in the future.

“Steve and I will always be working together, I’ll just be going off to play my own concerts and things. We’ll always be together working on things, at the same time I know what I am going to be doing, but a lot of that depends on the album. I can only see so much.

“Steve’s really been working hard over the three years and he’s talking about getting involved in some new projects. I think that will be good for him, maybe getting into a little painting. It’s good to have a break.
I just had a break from playing guitar which worried me. Losing the old fingers. The Epiphone has been in for repairs, and I’ve been over in New York sorting out some business things — I signed with American CBS. The business things take up a lot of time, days were running into weeks. I was getting a phobia about playing again, and then I got a whitlow — which is like a boil under your fingernail — that was like the final straw. Finally last week I picked up a guitar again. It was a delight after laying off for a while I found I had left all the old clichés behind and started working on the new ones. You find you play in a different style, and that’s so enjoyable.”

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