Remember when a paperboy debuted an album

Published 7:31 pm Tuesday, September 5, 2023

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T. Bob Davis, a native of Troy, has been practicing dentistry for 52 years in Dallas, Texas.  He is also well known for his music and has recorded over 13 albums of his piano music.  In the January 8, 1981 Troy Messenger was this story about T. Bob.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

    Joanne Watkins laughed as she recalled the first time she heard her brother, Thomas “Bobby” Davis, play the piano.  “When he was four years old, he came home from a movie and sat down at the piano and started picking out “Good Night Irene.”

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    Dr. Bobby Davis, 39, has come a long way from “Good Night Irene” in his music career.  Known to audiences as “T. Bob,” Davis recently released his first album of inspirational and contemporary Christian music from Dallas, Texas.

    A former paperboy for the Troy Messenger, Davis said the people of Troy encouraged him to do his best and had a great influence on his life.  Among those who influenced Davis, he said, were Mrs. Margret Whaley and her daughter, Sarah Ann.  The Whaley’s 715 N. Three Notch St., gave Davis piano lessons in elementary and high school.  Of their former student, Sarah Ann Whaley said, “I  think I speak for myself and Mother when I say Bobby was a child prodigy.  He was extremely gifted.”

    While attending high school in Troy, Davis played organ for the St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and piano for the First Baptist Church.  He also played concerts for various groups during his 16 years in Troy.

    Davis said he didn’t study piano or music as a major in college because he felt his background in classical music was pretty thorough and he wanted to develop his own style.  “I guess you could say a lot of my work is improvisation,” he said.

    “I work now with small groups and soloists although I have been working with the youth choir at the First Baptist Church in Dallas for 13 years,” he said.  “We have toured all over the world with different musical pieces.  Last summer we were in Israel and Switzerland.”

    Before moving to Dallas to open his dental practice Davis practiced dentistry for two years in the Air Force in Sherman, Texas.  He attended the University of Alabama in Birmingham Dental School after his undergraduate work at Samford University in Birmingham and Morris Hill Junior College in North Carolina.

    Davis said the funny  thing about making the album was that people kept telling him the album cover would be the hardest part and he found out they weren’t joking.  Davis laughed, recalling, “I kept telling the photographers the problem was their cameras but they said it must be the subject.”

    Davis recorded the album in a Dallas studio on a Bosendoffer piano.  “I went to all the studios, but this one had the Bosendoffer, which is said to be better than a Steinway,” Davis said.  “It took a couple of months, May and June, to get all the recording done and then we made the album cover.  Some of the music was orchestrated with a string ensemble that makes it sound pretty good,” Davis said.

    He said the album’s title, “Gratefully, T. Bob,” was his way of thanking all the people in his life who contributed their love and support.  “When I remember the people from Troy, I always think of that old song about dear hearts and gentle people, that come from my home town,” said Davis.

    Davis’ albums are being handled locally by his sister, Mrs. Joanne Watkins and her son, Keith  His parents, Mr. and Mrs. John Davis, also live in Troy but are visiting their son in Dallas this week.

    All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.