Davis was born in a rural community twenty miles outside of Greenville, Mississippi to Willie Branch and Ora Lee Jones. He spent most of his formative years in Saginaw, Michigan, but moved to Chicago in 1959.
Working as a valet/chaffeur for blues singer Freddie King, he started singing in local clubs where he was discovered by record executive/musician Harold Burrage.
His early records for small record labels in the city…
Aw, she didn't bat an eye
As I packed my bags to leave
I thought she would start to cry
Or sit around my room and grieve