Today marks the fourth day of Black History Month for 2019. As has been my custom I try to write about some aspect of the Black experience in America. Here’s my current offering. I hope you both enjoy it and learn a little of our nation’s history.
My father’s family was from South Carolina and during the 1950s I would occasionally spend a summer with them. Because of that, I became aware of Jim Crow or segregation laws. I never tried to understand these things and as a kid just accepted them as being, “the way things were.”
As an adult, I began to learn and question the truth and subsequently became a sometime student of Southern and Black History. This eventually led to an interest in blues music history and from this, I became aware of the Chitlin Circuit, a loose association of entertainment venues that catered to Black performers. Traveling the circuit meant Black entertainers needed services. They needed fuel and car maintenance, food, shelter, medical care and so much more that wasn’t easily found in a segregated America.
I’ve written about Sister Rosetta Tharpe at least one other time. She is arguably one of the most important persons in the history and development of Rock and Roll music. All one has to do is listen to here guitar rifts and you’ll hear what the Chuck Berry’s of rock built their sound on. Tharpe showed them the path.
Anyway, I came across an article about the Sister that I wanted to share with you rock historians. It was written by James Jordan for The Writing Cooperative and contains a couple of examples of her music. Click the photo below to read James Jordan’s article. Enjoy.
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I don’t speak Italian and have no formal education regarding opera. I just enjoy hearing the wonderful voices of people like Pavoratti. I came across this video of him singing in a quartet of great voices. Now I have to deal with a personal question. Did I enjoy this clip because of the music or the abundance of full-frontal cleavage? Kind of like why you enjoyed Playboy. The truth was you enjoyed the nudity and the monthly centerfold. Some tried to claim, however, that they bought it just for the articles.
For several years I’ve been fooling around with cigar box guitars and other primitive instruments. I’ve been to several cigar box guitar festivals and concerts and witnessed some pretty incredible performances. None have come close to this guy, however. Possibly the amplifier and loop box are the only things not homemade. I may be wrong about even those. Get your foot tapping and enjoy.
Most of you know I’m a great supporter of Playing for Change. Beginning in January the announced they planned to release a new project each month of this year. In February the feature was based on Buddy Guy’s Skin Deep. This month is the lively Gospel number, Everlasting Arms with NOLA’s Dr. John and a cast of many. Enjoy and consider giving your financial support to PforC.
If your state is possibly the poorest, least educated, most conservative state in the nation; well, that’s what’s wrong with it. It also doesn’t help if your state’s flag still includes a version of the Confederate flag. Having too many of the people portrayed in the attached video also doesn’t speak well.
I’ve been to Mississippi many times and things are slowly changing. The state and local governments have done some amazing things in creating a blues and music based tourist economy. But despite the steps forward there are too many people who would take it back to the pre civil rights era. Mississippi’s overwhelming support of Donald Trump is a strong statement to this.
Couple of years ago I heard a black Mississippi judge speak of the new Mississippi. The fact that he was black and a judge speaks to things new. Unfortunately there’s too much old in Mississippi.
I love blues, I love folk music, and I love the simple music of the people. Here’s a video of an old Philadelphia street performer named Blind Connie Williams singing an old Gospel. Take my Hands Precious Lord. I love his guitar playing and the tenor of his voice.
I was digging around the Internet and came across an article from Rolling Stone Magazine about some of the various collaborations Chuck Berry performed with other personalities. I found them historically interesting and thought some of you might also enjoy them. Click on the button to be linked to the RS story and videos.
Justin Johnson has been in Nashville for several months working at Cash Cabin on a new double album, Drivin’ it Down. This one is different in that he’s using a whole band along with vocalists. Among the songs recorded was Chuck Berry’s Johnny B. Goode but they had no plans to video and release it until Chuck Berry suddenly passed away.
Drivin’ it Down will be released on April 1, 2017 and may be ordered from Justin’s website.
Album credits include:
•Filmed and Recorded at Cash Cabin Studio, Nashville TN
•3x GRAMMY Award Winning Artist Bill Miller on Vocals
•Justin Johnson on Lead Guitar
•Executive Producer of “Drivin’ It Down,” Ian McDonald, on Rhythm Guitar
I don’t know when I first heard Bolero but my best guess would be in the late 1960s while in college. I just remember being smitten by it, totally consumed. In the late 70s I bought a high-end stereo system and a new vinyl of Bolero. I was between marriages and building a new house. Living alone I would put Bolero on the turntable, turn on the repeat button, and listen to this magnificent crescendo while working on the home. I remember stopping occasionally and pretending like I was conducting the LA Philharmonic using my hammer as a baton.
The only other musical piece that had such an effect on me was the musical score from Les Miserable. I’m soon to be seventy-five years old and my hearing is shot to hell. Some great degree of the loss is probably a result of traveling with Bolero and Les Mis’ blasting from my car’s stereo system. At least I can say I lost my ear hairs to a class act!
Jerome Graille is a French cigar box guitarist and if you have any doubts about the range of music that can come from a simple box, a stick, and four wires, check out this video. You can also find more of Graille’s work at his website. You might consider supporting him by becoming a patron.
I don’t have a clue about who Gnarls Barkley is other than a few years ago he had a hit song out called Crazy. Not the Patsy Cline Crazy but a totally different Crazy. After hearing it a few times I fell crazy in like with it.
Step forward to today and one of my favorite groups of entertainers, Playing for Change, has released a video of three of its members sitting on some public steps and performing their version of Barkley’s Crazy.
Been a while since I shared any PFC stuff so here it is….enjoy!
We celebrated our thirty-seventh anniversary back in July but weren’t able to do anything special. Then our daughter called with news about a rock ‘n roll show in Dayton featuring Frankie Avalon, Bobby Rydell, and Fabian. I asked Janet if she was interested and she was. So, I got decent tickets, made a motel reservation and on the 6th of August we headed north.
The concert was held at the Rose Music Center in Hubert Heights and it is a fantastic venue. It seats about 4200 people, all under a roof, plenty of parking, easy access, good amenities, etc. The only negative was sitting on the east side of the venue. This event began at 7 pm and half way through the setting sun dropped below the
Many of you are familiar with the music and talent of Micah Kesselring, the young Bloomingville, Ohio blues musician who has twice appeared at Greenfield events.
Micah has several CD collections on the market and has started an Indiegogo project to help fund another one. Indiegogo is a major crowd sourcing company and is often used by musicians to make themselves known and help fund their creations. I’ve participated in several and always gotten a sense of satisfaction, along with a copy of the CD, for my contribution. I’ll never be a Renaissance Medici type patron of the arts but for a couple of bucks I can feel a little warm and fuzzy.
To make a contribution to Micah’s project you can give as little as a buck and get back a thank you. For a little more you can get a thank you and the right to download his new CD when available. For a lot of money he’ll come to your home, prepare you a great vegetarian meal, and sing you a few ballads. Want to help out a starving artist? Click on the Indiegogo logo or the album cover below.