Charles “Cow Cow” Davenport – 1926-1938


Boogie-woogie pianist Charles ‘Cow-Cow’ Davenport was born in 1894 in Alabama, as one of no less than eight children. His father wanted him to be a priest, but he was sent off the seminary for playing ragtime. Charles wanted to be a pianist as soon as he understood what a piano was.

Davenport gained popularity in travelling shows, mostly in vaudeville theatre. He managed to get some of his compositions recorded, one of which earned him the nickname Cow-Cow. It referred to the cowcatcher in front of a train.

In 1938 Davenport lost the control of movement in his hands because of a stroke. It would be the end of his career, if he would not get help from fellow pianist Art Hodes. Hodes found him washing dishes in a restaurant. The renewal of his career lasted until 1955, when he died.

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