Harlem Street Singer
“Harlem Street Singer” tells the story of Reverend Gary Davis, the great ragtime, blues, and gospel musician. The film showcases Davis’s unique, pianistic approach to the guitar, which defied categories of popular music and left fellow musicians in awe. Born poor and blind in rural South Carolina in 1896, Davis was a guitar prodigy, and by the time he moved to Durham, N.C., in the 1920s, he was regarded as a guitar master. After becoming an ordained minister, Davis moved to New York, where other musicians quickly recognized his genius, but success was elusive, and he continued to play on the streets. Eventually, Davis gained a following of disciples, and interviews with such students and admirers as Bob Weir, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, David Bromberg, Jorma Kaukonen, John Hammond, and Peter Yarrow testify to Davis’ influence on the generations of musicians who heard him in concert, on records, or on the street.
Bob, who has been baking bread at St. Louis’ Carondelet Bakery for more than 47 years, is now trying to sell his space to a new baker so he can retire.