Posts Tagged ‘Sister Rosetta Tharpe’

The Deacon’s New Tie- 1995

I have plenty of things to do this morning but somehow ended up spending an hour watching old videos on YouTube trying to find something to share here. However, it didn’t feel like wasted time. I generally find something new for my own edification or something that changes the course of my day in some way. Maybe makes me smile or think.

This morning, I felt like something bluesy/gospelly so I went to one of my favorites Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the godmother of rock and roll whose career spanned big bands to gospel to the blues that shaped rock and roll. Big onstage personality and a unique style with her electric guitar stylings. I thought you can’t go wrong with Sister Rosetta, especially in a live performance from a British rail station in 1964 where she’s rocking her guitar in a heavy coat and high heels belting out Didn’t It Rain on a wet platform.

But then some Louis Jordan, another favorite of mine, popped up on the sidebar. Another huge influence on early rock and roll and, like Sister Rosetta, possessing a big, charismatic personality onstage. I decided on his song Deacon Jones simply because it reminded me of the older piece above, The Deacon’s New Tie,  from my Exiles series from the mid 90’s. Thought they would pair together well.

Then on the side, up comes the Soul Stirrers, the gospel group that started the career of the immortal Sam Cooke, doing a knock’em dead version of I’m a Soldier. Just plain old great stuff.

I couldn’t pick just one so here are all three. Listen to one or two or all of them. Or none. Hey, you got free will working here, folks. But it wouldn’t be the worst way to spend a few minutes so you decide then go have a good day.

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Georges Rouault- Crucifixion 1939

Georges Rouault- Crucifixion 1939

I can’t say that I am a religious person, religion never being much of a part of my upbringing.  I never attended a single Easter service and pretty much thought of the day in terms of chocolate Easter bunnies and colored eggs in my youth.  But I respected the traditions and stories of the Bible and of the other religions as I picked them up through the years and understood the solemnity and importance of faith, even if my own was sometimes lacking.  That being said, I thought I might play a little music this morning that had to do with the fact that it is Easter Sunday.

I have always been drawn to and moved by the passion and conviction of the great gospel songs especially when performed by those with the talent and conviction to match the  material, such as  Mahalia Jackson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and all so many others.  Sam Cooke, one of the greatest  pop and R & B stars of the 50’s and early 60’s, was also a great gospel singer.  I loved his voice and  could listen to him sing the phone book but when he sang the gospel, it was often magic. Here’s his version of Were You There ( When They Crucified My Lord), which is an old plantation spiritual that fits in with the day and,  performed by Sam Cooke is as I said, magic .

Hope you have a great Sunday.


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Here we are at the end of the first decade of this millenium and I find myself a bit under the weather.  I was going to write about resolutions and new beginnings, all the typical New Year’s folderol, but don’t really feel up to it this morning.  Maybe tomorrow.  The New Year will no doubt bring everything into clear focus.

Or not.

So, iinstead I’ll show a neat clip from a BBC broadcast from 1964 that showed a concert from the Blues and Gospel Train, a  tour that stormed through Britain  featuring American blues and gospel greats such as Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Rev. Gary Davis.  The special had a huge broadcast audience and was a big influence on the young there. 

The clip I’m showing is from Sister Rosetta Tharpe who was a giant in the gospel world but also kept a foot in the world of secular blues.  She was big woman with a big voice and personality who is quite a sight wielding her white electric guitar.  Very powerful.  I thought this song, Didn’t It Rain? , was appropriate for the day as it’s about making it through the storm and heading into the new day, something I think we can equate to the past decade going into the next.

The venue here is a disused railway station in Chorlton that they dressed up a bit to resemble an old rail station from the American deep south.  It makes a pretty good backdrop for the Sister’s wailing and playing.  Anyway, enjoy and have a wonderful New Year’s Eve…

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