donderdag 2 juli 2009
zondag 31 mei 2009
Rosetta Tharpe (March 20, 1915 – October 9, 1973) was a pioneering Gospel singer, songwriter and recording artist who attained great popularity in the 1930s and 1940s with a unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and early rock accompaniment. She became the first great recording star of Gospel music in the late 1930s and also became known as the "original soul sister" of recorded music.
Willing to cross the line between sacred and secular by performing her inspirational music of 'light' in the 'darkness' of the nightclubs and concert halls with big bands behind her, her witty, idiosyncratic style also left a lasting mark on more conventional gospel artists, such as Ira Tucker, Sr., of the Dixie Hummingbirds. While she offended some conservative churchgoers with her forays into the world of pop music, she never left gospel music.
Biography and Career :
Born Rosetta Nubin in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, she began performing at age four, billed as "Little Rosetta Nubin, the singing and guitar playing miracle", accompanying her mother, Church of God in Christ (COGIC) evangelist Katie Bell Nubin, who played mandolin and preached at tent revivals throughout the South. Exposed to both blues and jazz both in the South and after her family moved to Chicago in the late 1920s, she played blues and jazz in private, while performing gospel music in public settings. Her unique style reflected those secular influences: she bent notes the way that jazz artists did and picked guitar like Memphis Minnie.
Rosetta also crossed over to secular music in other ways. After marrying COGIC preacher Thomas Thorpe (from which "Tharpe" is a misspelling) in 1934, they moved to New York City. On October 31, 1938, she recorded for the first time — four sides with Decca Records backed by "Lucky" Millinder's jazz orchestra. Her records caused an immediate furor: many churchgoers were shocked by the mixture of sacred and secular music, but secular audiences loved them. Appearances in John Hammond's extravaganza "From Spirituals To Swing" later that year, at the Cotton Club and Café Society and with Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman made her even more popular. Songs like "This Train" and "Rock Me", which combined gospel themes with bouncy up-tempo arrangements, became smash hits among audiences with little previous exposure to gospel music.
Tharpe continued recording during World War II, one of only two gospel artists able to record V-discs for troops overseas. Her song "Strange Things Happening Every Day", recorded in 1944 with Sammy Price, Decca's house boogie woogie pianist, showcased her virtuosity as a guitarist and her witty lyrics and delivery. It was also the first gospel song to make Billboard's "race records" Top Ten — something that Sister Rosetta Tharpe accomplished several more times in her career.
After the war Decca paired her with Marie Knight, a Sanctified shouter with a strong contralto and a more subdued style than Tharpe. Their hit "Up Above My Head" showed both of them to great advantage: Knight provided the response to Tharpe in traditional call and response format, then took the role that would have been assigned to a bass in a male quartet after Tharpe's solo. They toured the gospel circuit for a number of years, during which Tharpe was so popular that she attracted 25,000 paying customers to her wedding to her manager Russell Morrison (her third marriage), followed by a vocal performance, at Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. in 1951.
Their popularity took a sudden downturn, however, when they recorded several blues songs in the early 1950s. Knight attempted afterwards to cross over to popular music, while Tharpe remained in the church, but rebuffed by many of her former fans. Retreating to Europe, Tharpe gradually returned to the gospel circuit, although at nowhere near her former celebrity. In April - May 1964, at the height of a surge of popular interest in the blues, she toured the UK as part of the "American Folk Blues and Gospel Caravan", alongside Muddy Waters and Otis Spann, Ranson Knowling and Little Willie Smith, Reverend Gary Davis, Cousin Joe and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Tharpe was introduced on stage and accompanied on piano by Cousin Joe Pleasant.
Tharpe's performances were curtailed by a stroke in 1970, after which she lost the use of her legs. She died in 1973 after another stroke, on the eve of a scheduled recording session. She was buried in Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in an unmarked grave. In 2008, a concert was held to raise funds for a marker for her grave and January 11 was declared Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day in Pennsylvania. A gravestone was put in place later that year and a Pennsylvania historical marker was approved for placement at her home in the Yorktown neighborhood of Philadelphia.
Musical Influence :
A number of musicians, ranging from Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis to Isaac Hayes and Aretha Franklin, have identified her—or, more particularly, her singing, guitar playing and showmanship—as an important influence on them. Little Richard referred to the stomping, shouting Gospel music legend as his favorite singer when he was a child. In 1945, she heard Richard sing prior to her concert at the Macon City Auditorium and later invited him on stage to sing with her. Following the show, she paid him for his performance. Johnny Cash's daughter Rosanne similarly stated in an interview with Larry King that Tharpe was her father's favorite singer. She was held in particularly high esteem by UK jazz/blues singer George Melly.
Brixton band Alabama 3 (of Sopranos theme fame) named a track after Sister Rosetta on their debut album Exile on Coldharbour Lane. UK indie rock band The Noisettes released the single "Sister Rosetta (Capture the Spirit)" off their 2007 album What's the Time Mr. Wolf? Also in 2007, singers Alison Krauss and Robert Plant recorded a duet version of the song "Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us", written by Sam Phillips who released her version of the song in 2008. Michelle Shocked opened her live gospel album ToHeavenURide (2007) with "Strange Things Happening Every Day", along with a tribute to Tharpe.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Up Above My Head
Sister Rosetta Tharpe & Chicago Blues Allstars
zaterdag 30 mei 2009
"Blind" Blake (born Arthur Blake, circa 1893, Jacksonville, Florida; died: circa 1933) was an influential blues singer and guitarist. He is often called "The King Of Ragtime Guitar". There is only one photograph of him in existence.
Blind Blake recorded about 80 tracks for Paramount Records in the late 1920s and early 1930s. He was one of the most accomplished guitarists of his genre with a surprisingly diverse range of material. His complex and intricate fingerpicking has inspired Reverend Gary Davis, Jorma Kaukonen, Ry Cooder, Ralph Mctell and many others. He is most known for his distinct guitar sound that was comparable in sound and style to a ragtime piano.
Very little is known about his life. His birthplace was listed as Jacksonville, Florida by Paramount Records but even that is in dispute. Nothing is known of his death. Even his name is not certain. During recordings he was asked about his real name and he answered that his name was Blind Arthur Blake which is also listed on some of the song credits, strengthening his case on his real name, although there is a suggestion that his real name was Arthur Phelps.
His first recordings were made in 1926 and his records sold well. His first solo record was "Early Morning Blues" with "West Coast Blues" on the B-side. Both are considered excellent examples of his style. Blake made his last recordings in 1932, the end of his career aided by Paramount's bankruptcy. It is often said that the later recordings have much less sparkle and, allegedly, Blind Blake was drinking heavily in his later years. It is likely that this led to his early death at only 40 years. (The exact circumstances of his death are not known; Reverend Gary Davis said in an interview that he had heard Blake was killed by a streetcar.)
Blind Blake - He's in the Jailhouse Now
Ron Hacker (born January 25, 1945, Indianapolis, Indiana) is an American blues guitarist and singer.
Hacker grew up without a family since the age of four, when his father died and his mother rejected him. Barely over ten, he was sent to a juvenile center for breaking into parking meters. In the 1960s he moved to the Bay Area and bought his first guitar for five dollars. Returning to his native Indianapolis in the early 1970s he met veteran bluesman Yank Rachell from whom he learned many tricks of guitar playing. Back in the Bay Area, Hacker started to play solo but the end of the 1970s he formed his band "The Hacksaws", a name which he has kept since. Hackers's first album No Pretty Songs was recorded in 1988.
Around 2005, Hacker befriended Tom Waits and was asked to be on his CD "Orphans", after reading Ron's book White Trash Bluesman (ISBN: 1598990330) issued in 2007, Mr. Waits called Ron, "San Francisco's white trash Blues icon"
Ron Hacker - Leaving Blues
Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. (March 21, 1902 – October 19, 1988) was an American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual (music).
He was an important influence on Muddy Waters and also on Robert Johnson, who would later take this style of music to new levels. A seminal Delta blues figure, House remains influential today, with his music being covered by rock groups such as The White Stripes.
The middle of seventeen brothers, House was born in Riverton, two miles from Clarksdale, Mississippi. Around age seven or eight, he was brought by his mother to Tallulah, Louisiana after his parents separated. The young Son House was determined to become a Baptist preacher, and at age 15 began his preaching career. Despite the church's firm stand against blues music and the sinful world which revolved around it, House became attracted to it and taught himself guitar in his mid 20s, after moving back to the Clarksdale area, inspired by the work of Willie Wilson. He began playing alongside Charley Patton, Willie Brown, Robert Johnson, Fiddlin' Joe Martin, and Leroy Williams, around Robinsonville, Mississippi and north to Memphis, Tennessee until 1942.
After killing a man, allegedly in self-defense, he spent time at Parchman Farm in 1928 and 1929. The official story on the killing is that sometime around 1927 or 1928, he was playing in a juke joint when a man went on a shooting spree. Son was wounded in the leg, and shot the man dead. He received a 15-year sentence at Parchman Farm prison.
Son House recorded for Paramount Records in 1930 and for Alan Lomax from the Library of Congress in 1941 and 1942. He then faded from public view until the country blues revival in the 1960s when, after a long search of the Mississippi Delta region by Nick Perls, Dick Waterman and Phil Spiro, he was "re-discovered" in June 1964 in Rochester, New York where he had lived since 1943; House had been retired from the music business for many years, working for the New York Central Railroad, and was completely unaware of the international revival of enthusiasm for his early recordings. He subsequently toured extensively in the US and Europe and recorded for CBS records. Like Mississippi John Hurt he was welcomed into the music scene of the 1960s and played at Newport Folk Festival in 1964, the New York Folk Festival in July 1965, and the October 1967 European tour of the American Folk Festival along with Skip James and Bukka White. In the summer of 1970, House toured Europe once again, including an appearance at the Montreux Jazz Festival; a recording of his London concerts was released by Liberty Records.
Ill health plagued his later years and in 1974 he retired once again, and later moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he remained until his death from cancer of the larynx. He was buried at the Mt. Hazel Cemetery. Members of the Detroit Blues Society raised money through benefit concerts to put a fitting monument on his grave. He had been married five times.
Style and influence :
House's innovative style featured strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of a bottleneck, coupled with singing that owed more than a nod to the hollers of the chain gangs. The music of Son House, in contrast to that of, say, Blind Lemon Jefferson, was emphatically a dance music, meant to be heard in the noisy atmosphere of a barrelhouse or other dance hall. House was the primary influence on Muddy Waters and also an important influence on Robert Johnson, who would later take his music to new levels. It was House who, speaking to awe-struck young blues fans in the 1960s, spread the legend that Johnson had sold his soul to the Devil in exchange for his musical powers.
More recently, House's music has influenced rock groups such as the White Stripes, who covered his song "Death Letter" (also reworked by Skip James and Robert Johnson) on their album De Stijl, and later performed it at the 2004 Grammy Awards. The White Stripes also incorporated sections of a traditional song Son House recorded, "John the Revelator", into the song "Cannon" from their eponymous debut album The White Stripes. Jack White of the White Stripes has cited his a cappella songs, like "Grinning in Your Face", as a large influence.
Another musician deeply influenced by Son House is the slide player John Mooney, who in his teens learned slide guitar from Son House while Son was living in Rochester, New York. Several of House's songs were recently figured in the motion picture soundtrack of "Black Snake Moan" (2006).
Describing House's 1967 appearance at the De Montfort Hall in Leicester, England, Bob Groom wrote in Blues World magazine:
It is difficult to describe the transformation that took place as this smiling, friendly man hunched over his guitar and launched himself, bodily it seemed, into his music. The blues possessed him like a 'lowdown shaking chill' and the spellbound audience saw the very incarnation of the blues as, head thrown back, he hollered and groaned the disturbing lyrics and flailed the guitar, snapping the strings back against the fingerboard to accentuate the agonized rhythm. Son's music is the centre of the blues experience and when he performs it is a corporeal thing, audience and singer become as one.
Son House - Death Letter
Popa Chubby [King Of The New York City Blues](born Ted Horowitz) is a New York blues singer and guitar player. His angry and aggressive style of blues is influenced heavily by Willie Dixon. He is more popular in France than the U.S. His stage name is a play on the slang idiom "pop a chubby", meaning to get an erection.
Born Ted Horowitz in the Bronx, NY, Popa Chubby was the son of a candy store owner.
At 13, Chubby began playing drums; shortly thereafter, he discovered the music of the Rolling Stones and began playing guitar.
Although he grew up in the 1970s, Chubby took his cue from artists of the 1960s, including Sly & the Family Stone, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton, among others. By the time he was in his early twenties, he enjoyed and played blues music, but also worked for a while backing punk poet Richard Hell.
Chubby's first big break was winning a national blues talent search sponsored by KLON, a public radio station in Long Beach, CA. He won the New Artist of the Year award and opened at the Long Beach Blues Festival in 1992.
Chubby has continued to play more than 200 club dates a year through the 1990s. His Sony/Okeh debut, Booty and the Beast, was produced by longtime Atlantic Records engineer/producer Tom Dowd, whose recordings by Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, and others are legendary.
In 1994, Chubby released several albums on his own Laughing Bear label, It's Chubby Time and Gas Money, before landing his deal with Sony Music/Okeh Records for Booty and the Beast, his major-label debut, released in 1995.
In 1996, the 1 (800) PrimeCD label released a live recording of Chubby's, Hit the High Hard One. Two years later, One Million Broken Guitars was released on Lightyear Records; Brooklyn Basement Blues followed in 1999.
In 2000, Chubby signed with the Blind Pig label and released How'd a White Boy Get the Blues? in 2001. The disc turned out to be a slight departure, incorporating elements of contemporary pop and hip-hop.
2002's The Good, the Bad and the Chubby showed great development in the artist's songwriting and included the 9/11 commentary "Somebody Let the Devil Out."
Blind Pig released a collection of early Chubby recordings, The Hungry Years, in 2003. Troubled by the war in Iraq, Chubby released his most political album, Peace, Love and Respect, a year later.
Two albums previously available only in France -- Live at FIP and Wild -- were compiled by the Blind Pig label and released as Big Man Big Guitar in 2005, followed by a new studio set called Stealing the Devil's Guitar a year later.
Currently Popa Chubby has released "Deliveries After Dark" It debuted on the Billboard Blues Charts at #4. Popa is currently working on a book of short stories entitled "Road Rot", about his exploits as a touring musician from the streets of the big apple.
Popa Chubby - Stoop Down Baby
Aleck "Rice" Miller (December 5, 1899 or March 11, 1908 – May 25, 1965), a.k.a. Sonny Boy Williamson II, Willie Williamson, Willie Miller, "Little Boy Blue", "The Goat" and "Footsie," was an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter.
Sonny Boy Williamson II was born on the Sara Jones Plantation near Glendora, Mississippi in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi. The date and year of his birth are a matter of some uncertainty. Miller claimed to have been born on December 5, 1899, but one researcher, David Evans, claims to have found census record evidence that he was born around 1912. Miller's gravestone has his birthdate as March 11, 1908.
Miller lived and worked with his sharecropper stepfather, Jim Miller, and mother, Millie Ford, until the early 1930s. Beginning in the 1930s, he traveled around Mississippi and Arkansas and encountered Big Joe Williams, Elmore James and Robert Lockwood, Jr., also known as Robert Junior Lockwood, who would play guitar on his later Checker Records sides. He was also associated with Robert Johnson during this period.
Williamson developed his style and raffish stage persona during these years. Willie Dixon recalled seeing Lockwood and Sonny Boy, with an amplified harmonica, in Greenville, Mississippi in the 1930s. He captivated audiences with tricks such as holding his harmonica between his top lip and nose and playing with no hands.
Williamson lived in Twist, Arkansas for a time with Howlin' Wolf's sister Mary Burnett and taught Wolf to play harmonica. (Later, for Chess, Williamson did a parody of Howlin' Wolf entitled "Like Wolf.") In 1941 Miller was hired to play the King Biscuit Time show on radio station KFFA in Helena, Arkansas with Lockwood.
It was at this point that the radio program's sponsor, Max Moore, began billing Miller as Sonny Boy Williamson, apparently in an attempt to capitalize on the fame of the well known Chicago-based harmonica player and singer John Lee Williamson (see Sonny Boy Williamson I). Although John Lee Williamson was a major blues star who had already released dozens of successful and widely influential records under the name "Sonny Boy Williamson" from 1937 onward, Aleck Miller would later claim to have been the first to use the name, and some blues scholars believe that Miller's assertion he was born in 1899 was a ruse to convince audiences he was old enough to have used the name before John Lee Williamson, who was born in 1914. Whatever the methodology, Miller became known as "Sonny Boy Williamson," (universally distinguished by blues fans and musicians as "Sonny Boy Williamson number two" or "Sonny Boy Williamson the second") and Lockwood and the rest of his band were the King Biscuit Boys. His growing renown in the mid-south took him places such as West Memphis, Arkansas, where he performed on a KWEM radio show selling the elixir Hadacol.
Williamson's first recording session took place in 1951 for Lillian McMurry of Jackson, Mississippi's Trumpet Records (three years after the death of John Lee Williamson, which for the first time allowed some legitimacy to Miller's carefully worded claim to being "the one and only Sonny Boy Williamson".) McMurry later erected Williamson's headstone, near Tutwiler, Mississippi, in 1977.
When Trumpet went bankrupt in 1955, Sonny Boy's recording contract was yielded to its creditors, who sold it to Chess Records in Chicago, Illinois. Williamson had begun developing a following in Chicago beginning in 1953, when he appeared there as a member of Elmore James's band. It was during his Chess years that he enjoyed his greatest success and acclaim, recording about 70 songs for Chess subsidiary Checker Records from 1955 to 1964. In the 1960s he toured Europe during the height of the British blues craze, recording with The Yardbirds and The Animals. Accoring to the Led Zeppelin biography Hammer of the Gods, while in England Sonny Boy set his hotel room on fire while trying to cook a rabbit in a coffee percolator. During this tour he allegedly stabbed a man during a street fight and left the country abruptly.(Robert Palmer's Deep Blues)
In the 1940s Williamson married Mattie Gordon, who remained his wife until his death on May 25, 1965 (his headstone erroneously gives his date of death as June 23, 1965) in Helena, Arkansas. Williamson was characterized by a hip-flask of whiskey, a pistol, a knife, a foul mouth, and a short temper. He had always worn fancier suits than he could afford, and his tour of Europe allowed him further embellishment, adding a finely tailored two-tone suit and a bowler hat to his unique, grey-goateed image.
Williamson is buried on New Africa Rd. just outside Tutwiler, Mississippi at the site of the former Whitman Chapel cemetery. His headstone was provided by Ms. Lillian Mc Murray, owner of Trumpet Records.
Rice Miller was, however, notable as a highly original blues songwriter, and his laconic harmonica style and sly vocals mark him as a true artist. Much of his best work exhibits a solidly swinging beat and a rich dialogue between blues harp, guitar, piano, and percussion. His use of space, his timing, and his tone place him among the greatest of the blues-harp players.
Some of his better known songs include "Don't Start Me To Talkin'" (his only major hit, it reached the #3 position on the national Billboard R&B charts in 1955),"Fattenin' Frogs for Snakes", "Keep It To Yourself", "Your Funeral and My Trial", "Bye Bye Bird", "Nine Below Zero", "Help Me", and the infamous "Little Village", with dialogue 'unsuitable for airplay' with Leonard Chess. His song "Eyesight to the Blind" was performed by The Who as a key song in their rock opera Tommy (the only song in that opus not written by a band member) and it was later covered on the Aerosmith album Honkin' on Bobo. His "One Way Out", reworked from Elmore James and recorded twice in the early 1960s, became popularized by The Allman Brothers Band in the early 1970s.
In interviews in The Last Waltz, roots-rockers The Band recount jamming with Miller prior to their initial fame as Bob Dylan's electric backing band, and making never-realized plans to become his backing band.
Sonny Boy Williamson II - Bye Bye Bird