Thirty-two years ago, CeDell Davis was the first performer to step out on stage at the first King Biscuit Blues Festival. Late last week, KBBF officials and the American Blues website announced Davis' passing on Sept. 27. He was 90.

Thirty-two years ago, CeDell Davis was the first performer to step out on stage at the first King Biscuit Blues Festival. Late last week, KBBF officials and the American Blues website announced Davis' passing on Sept. 27. He was 90.

He was born Ellis Davis on June 9, 1927 in Helena. He began playing the guitar and harmonica with his friends while just a youngster. He was known for his unique playing style that incorporated using a knife in his fretting hand, similar to the way other guitarists might use a slide.

Davis suffered from polio when his 10 leaving him with limited control over his left hand and only limited use of his right hand.

He became quite adept with his method of playing and began to tour the Mississippi Delta as a performer. Between 1953 and 1963, Davis played with the legendary Robert Nighthawk. He later became acquainted with Big Joe Williams and Charlie Jordan.

In the early 1960s, Davis returned to Arkansas and Pine Bluff. Many blues fans consider his 1994 album entitled “Feel Like Doin' Something Wrong,” a blues masterpiece. His other works include: “When Lightning Struck the Pine” in 2002 and “Even the Devil Gets the Blues” in 2016.

Davis returned to his stomping grounds last October to view a mural painted in his honor along Biscuit Row. Fans say that he turned in a stunning performance at last year's KBBF. It was to be his last appearance.

His name appears on a Mississippi Blues Trail marker, located on Cherry Street just across from the Main Stage Pavilion. It is the only marker of the nearly 200 markers on the Mississippi Blues Trail on which CeDell's name appears.

Davis had been readmitted to the hospital on Sept. 24 after having suffered a heart attack. He had been admitted to ICU earlier with respiratory and heart issues.

KBBF officials announced on the festival's website, “That it is with sadness we share the passing of Delta Blues legend CeDell Davis. He had intimate connection to Helena and the King Biscuit Blues Festival.