1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

Just another music list

Ballad Of A Working Man – Davy James

Ballad Of A Working Man – Davy James

Ballad Of A Working Man – Davy James

There is not a lot of info available about Davy James on the ‘net. He, with his brothers, Bobby, Alfie and Stan formed a group called The James Brothers who recorded a cover of Bob Dylan’s ‘It’s All Over Now Baby Blue’ on which Davy played rhythm guitar. In 1968 Davy recorded what I believe is his only album, ‘Ballad Of A Working Man’. The album was produced by Peter Lotis and the title track was released as a single with ‘It’s Only Getting Worse’ which, like the a-side, was a Davy James composition.

‘Ballad Of A Working Man’ is one of those beautiful songs that one heard at the time. An acoustic guitar underpins some atmospheric strings with Davy’s slightly gravelly voice telling the story of a day in the life of a working man as he heads off for his job, saying goodbye to his ‘baby’, but on his way to work, the beauty of the day helps him take the love for his ‘baby’ with him as he travels. There is a sense of one wandering down a country lane on a sunny morning feeling good about life.

Listening to this beautful track, I can’t help thinking of the Bobby Goldsboro hit, ‘Honey’ which has that similar melancholy feel but, while the latter is a sadder song lyrically, ‘Ballad Of A Working Man’ is a more uplifting. And it’s not too surprising that there is this similarity as Peter Lotis has recorded a version of ‘Honey’ the same year as he produced ‘Balald Of A Working Man’.

Sadly Davy James would die in 2005 and it still remains a mystery why his music has not been made more readily available. There is a copy of ‘Ballad Of A Working Man’ on Youtube (at the time of writing as you never know if something will stay up there), so we can enjoy that one track, but given the strength of this one track, it leaves one wanting to hear the rest of the album. It along with John Oakley-Smith ‘Matinees On Sunday’ are 2 albums that are way way past due a re-release in the digital age.

Where to find it
Singles bins if you’re lucky


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2 thoughts on “Ballad Of A Working Man – Davy James

  1. Derick Kirkham on said:

    I met Davy James in 1968 or 1969. With some friends we spent an evening at his flat listening to him sing. It was an enchanting evening and I was captivated by his voice and his songs. I do recall that he did not talk much At the time I thought he should record records. He never mentioned that he had recorded an LP. Some time later, I was surprised to come across his LP in a second-hand shop. Someone obviously didn’t appreciate his talent, for which I was most grateful. I still have it and is a treasured possession. A couple of things I learned from the cover was that he drove a bulldozer for a living and was the son of a prize-fighter. As far as I know, he did not record any other LPs, which was a great pity. Had he done so, I would have bought them all. Apparently he wrote hundreds of songs. I wonder what happened to them !

  2. Pingback: Potential Mutiny – Stan James | 1001 South African Songs You Must Hear Before You Go Deaf

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