Paul Lavon Davis (April 21, 1948 – April 22, 2008), known to Macjams members as Droop, died yesterday of a heart attack at Rush Foundation Hospital in Meridian, Mississippi.
Professionally, he was best known for his radio hits and solo career which started worldwide in 1970. His career encompassed soul, country and pop music, and he wrote many memorable country music hits, including “Ride ‘Em Cowboy” (1974), “Sweet Life” (1978) and “Sweet Life”(1988 duet with Marie Osmond).
Davis was a member of a local group called the “Six Soul Survivors” around 1966 and later in another group called the “Endless Chain.” In 1968 he was a writer for Malaco Records, based at Jackson, MS.
Spotted playing with his country-rock band by Bang Records in 1970, Paul Davis was signed to the label as a solo artist. That year, he released a cover of The Jarmels’ hit song “A Little Bit of Soap”, reaching #52 on the Billboard pop charts.
He released his first LP with Bang in 1972, A Little Bit of Paul Davis. His next album, Ride ‘Em Cowboy, 1974, produced a signature song of the same name (which also became a hit for Juice Newton in 1984.) He followed up that album with Southern Tracks & Fantasies in 1976. The album featured the ballad “I Go Crazy,” which would become his biggest hit, peaking at number seven a full eight months after its release. Its continuing appeal helped keep it in the Top 100 for 40 more weeks. The album peaked at #82 on the Billboard pop album chart.
After one more album, in 1981 he signed with Arista Records and had two more Top 20 singles, “Cool Night” (which rose to #11) and “’65 Love Affair” (which rose to #6). Davis retired from making records, except for two duet singles that went to #1 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles charts. The first was in 1986 with Marie Osmond on “You’re Still New To Me” while the second was in 1988 was a collaboration with Tanya Tucker and Paul Overstreet on “I Won’t Take Less Than Your Love”.
He survived a shooting in Nashville on July 30, 1986.
Before his death on April 22, 2008, Paul returned to singing and song writing recording two songs, “You Ain’t Sweet Enough,” and “Today.”
He was a relatively newcomer to Macjams, but his talent was immediately notable. His friendly manner in the chat room, wonderful music, and helpful personality will be greatly missed.
A Little Bit of Paul Davis (1970)
Paul Davis (1972)
Ride ‘Em Cowboy (1974)
Southern Tracks & Fantasies (1976)
Singer of Songs: Teller of Tales (1977)
Paul Davis (1980) – different album to 1972 release
Cool Night (1981)
Best of Paul Davis (1982)