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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Walter Davison and His Louisville Loons

Walter Davison and His Louisville Loons

Publicity photo c. 1935 for my great-great uncle's sweet jazz band, Walter Davison and His Louisville Loons. Walter, the big Irishman at left, fell in love with jazz sometime in the teens when he was managing a player piano company, for whom he played the original rolls on a marking piano from which the templates for the production rolls would be cut. The company released Jelly Roll Morton's piano rolls and it's entirely possible they were actually played by Walter imitating Morton. In the 20s he started a band-- actually he was from Detroit-- and they had a good decade or so of success as a house band at various picture palaces and so on, also recording a few sides for Columbia in the mid-20s. The band disbanded around 1936 and Walter went to work for Ford in the advertising department; at the time of his death he was president of a Grosse Pointe country club, which is surely a unique end in the annals of Jazz! View full size.

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Walter is my great grandfather

I would love more photos if you have them or recordings of his music.
send anything you have to

The Loons!

Very nice to find another connection to the Louisville Loons! That is my grandfather behind Walter - the gentleman standing w/his hands in his pockets. His name was Joseph Bruce - he used the stage name Joe Barrons at times when played w/the Loons. I have some additional photos of the group if you're interested.

Walt Davison

Walter played the piano all of the time at our house. Because of him I play the piano today. Thanks Walter!!!


What a great story and photo. I love the giant dice and the band members' spiffy shoes.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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