Sister Rosetta Tharpe-Hail,Hail Rock N Roll.

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I hang my head in shame. For decades I have been boasting about my knowledge of all things music, and especially rock music,when suddenly it hits me like a wet fish in the face, I KNOW NOTHING.

Well that might be too harsh but the fact is I had never heard of one of the founders of Rock and Roll before,Sister Rosetta Tharpe.

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Chuck Berry borrowed her guitar stylings. Little Richard said she was responsible for his career. Elvis was influenced by her. Who was the real Sister Rosetta Tharpe?

Born Rosetta Nubin in Cotton Plant, Arkansas in 1915, the young prodigy was performing gospel music with her mother at churches and revivals by age six, when the two moved north to Chicago. Tharpe’s singing and guitar style developed with both rural and urban elements, which gave her a broad appeal. In her teens, she married a preacher, who she soon left, heading to New York CIty. There, she played with Duke Ellington and other top musicians. By her twenties, she’d hit her stride; after years working up north with swing bandleader Lucky Millinder, she toured the south with fellow gospel icons the Dixie Hummingbirds. In 1945, her jaunty single “Strange Things Happening Every Day,” with its hot guitar solo, was the first gospel single to cross over on the Billboard race charts.

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In 1946 Tharpe saw Marie Knight perform at a Mahalia Jackson concert in New York. Tharpe recognized a special talent in Knight. Two weeks later, Tharpe showed up at Knight’s doorstep, inviting her to go on the road. They toured the gospel circuit for a number of years, during which they recorded hits such as “Up Above My Head” and “Gospel Train”. Though dismissed by both artists as gossip, several in the Gospel community speculated that Knight and Tharpe maintained a romantic and sexual relationship.

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Tharpe’s relationship with Knight eventually faded, and in 1951 – over two decades before Sly Stone thought to get hitched in Madison Square Garden – Tharpe got married to her third husband in Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C. The concert and promotional stunt drew 25,000, many with gifts.

Tharpe’s career waned over the next decade. In 1964, as the folk revival was cresting, she was booked for the Folk Blues and Gospel Caravan tour in England, and she played a famous gig in an abandoned railroad station that was broadcast nationwide by Granada television. It was a cold and rainy day, but Tharpe got out of a horse-drawn carriage like royalty, strode across the wet platform, picked up her electric guitar, plugged in, and played “Didn’t It Rain,” electrical-shock risk apparently be damned, soloing and singing her heart out in front of a crowd of young people.

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Tharpe’s career didn’t get the same bump that male blues musicians did in the late Sixties and Seventies, no doubt in part because of her devotion to religious material. Her last known recording was in 1970, for Danish TV, singing the Thomas Dorsey gospel standard “Take My Hand, Precious Lord,” a song Elvis Presley had recorded, among many others.

Tharpe’s performances were curtailed by a stroke in 1970, after which one of her legs was amputated as a result of complications from diabetes.On October 9, 1973, the eve of a scheduled recording session, she died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania as a result of another stroke. She was buried in Northwood Cemetery in Philadelphia.

On April 14 2018, she will be inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame together with Bon Jovi, The Cars, Dire Straits, The Moody Blues, and Nina Simone.

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Please allow me to introduce myself.

685_26_16. Rolling Stones - Sympathy For The Devil -ok

No I haven’t suddenly gone all ultra nice, as many of you know the title of this blog is actually the 1st line of the classic Rolling Stones song”Sympathy for the devil”

A song which is often misunderstood for being some satanic worshiping bit of musical poetry, but it couldn’t be further away from that. The song is really a summary of events the Stones contribute to Beelzebub, but from the perspective that an element of him is in all of us.I have also heard people, who hate history, say how much they love this song not realizing it is a song only about historic events. Below is a breakdown of some of the events.

“I was ’round when Jesus Christ Had his moment of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate Washed his hands and sealed his fate”

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During the crucifixion, while in pain, Jesus cries out asking God why he has been forsaken. The narrator claims to have witnessed this but also may be insinuating that he (the devil) influenced this. The devil is also said to cause believers in God to doubt their faith.

“And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘Elohai, Elohai, lama shachachthani?’ which is, being interpreted, ‘My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken (forgot) me?’” – Mark 15:34

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According to the Bible, Pontius Pilate was the judge at Jesus’s trial and the man who ordered his execution. He is said to have “washed his hands” of the matter (refusing responsibility)

“I stuck around St. Petersburg. When I saw it was a time for a change
Killed the czar and his ministers”

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In the song Satan(as the narrator) admits to once again influencing major (and majorly questionable) global events, taking credit for the Russian Revolution of 1917 which led to the rise of Communist Soviet Union (or U.S.S.R., Union of Soviet Socialist Republics). On July 17, 1918, the Bolsheviks executed the royal family of the last Czar Nicholas II of Russia sealing the fate of their former rulers, and of their country.

“I rode a tank. Held a general’s rank.When the blitzkrieg raged
And the bodies stank”

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This implies that the narrator was right with Hitler throughout the Holocaust, associating Hitler with the devil. He was in the battle field, leading Blitzkrieg (“lightning war”) attacks through Europe (mostly Poland and France), of which tanks were an important part.

The 1939 Blitzkrieg in Poland took place in hot weather. The German army was moving fast and killing civilians as well as Polish soldiers, leaving the bodies to rot. However, the lines are ambiguous enough that they might also be a reference to the genocide perpetrated against the Jewish population of Europe. The reference is elided enough to contain both interpretations in describing, in its satanic glee, the horrors of WWII.

“I shouted out, ‘Who killed the Kennedys?’” 

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This song was recorded before Robert Kennedy died, so the original line was “Who killed Kennedy?” (referring to JFK).It was changed after Robert’s death, since now both brothers were gunshot victims.

“When after all It was you and me”

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By saying “you and me”, the devil associates all of mankind with himself. He doesn’t put the blame of the Kennedys deaths on the shooters, but on the character and corruption of all humans.

“And I laid traps for troubadours. Who get killed before they reached Bombay”

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This line possibly refers to the notorious Thuggee cult, who worshiped Kali, the Hindu goddess of death. They would waylay travelers on the roads of India, then kill the entire group in order to make off with their valuables. This seems to be the closest well known historical incident to fit the lyrics. Also, the Thuggee would have been well known in England, since the British Army put a stop to the cult during the colonial period.

“Just as every cop is a criminal. And all the sinners saints”

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There is good and evil in everyone, don’t try to make it such a black and white statement.

So next time you listen to this song show it some courtesy some sympathy, and some taste..

Donation

I am passionate about my site and I know a you all like reading my blogs. I have been doing this at no cost and will continue to do so. All I ask is for a voluntary donation of $2 ,however if you are not in a position to do so I can fully understand, maybe next time then. Thanks

$2.00


 

 

 

Rebel without a clue

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I could not call myself a music fan and more specifically a Rock music fan without paying tribute to one of the all time greatest Rock musicians, Tom Petty.

I have to confess I was quite late getting to know the music of Tom Petty,it was really by chance.Back in the 80s I was a great fan of a music show called “Monsters of Rock” on Sky Channel presented by Mick Wall.

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It predominantly showed hard rock/heavy metal videos, but occasionally they would put on other rock acts. So one time they showed the clip of “Don’t come around here no more” by a certain Mr Tom Petty, and I was hooked.

Written by Tom Petty and David A. Stewart of Eurythmics,who has a cameo appearance in the video.

Although I hadn’t really actively listened to any Tom Petty songs prior to that, I did recognize his voice immediately. And I think that is what made him so unique, people may not always have known his name, his distinctive voice was just so recognizable.

Not only was he a great singer he was also a great songwriter and guitarist, so many songs with so many  great guitar riffs.

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In 1976, Petty, with himself as lead singer and guitarist, formed “Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers” with Mike Campbell (lead guitarist), Ron Blair (bass), Stan Lynch (drums), and Benmont Tench (keyboards). The Heartbreakers began their recording career with a self-titled album, released through the Shelter label.

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He did also release 3 solo albums and did get Hollywood Walk of Fame star as Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.

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Such was the greatness of the man that he wasn’t intimidated by being a member a super band with Rock N Roll royalty like George Harrison, Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison and Jeff Lynne.The Travelling Wilburys.

 

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Alas with Tom Petty’s passing away this week there are only 2 of the Traveling Wilburys left, Bob Dylan and  Jeff Lynne. I am sure Tom has already being playing some sessions with George Harrison and the Big O , up in that place which is more and more becoming a Rock N Roll heaven.

Dear sir I salute you and hope you will your place in that great wide open , you may have been a rebel without a clue but when it comes to music there is no one else like you.

 

RIP Tom Petty.

Elvis Presley and Robert Johnson

Why did I use the names of these 2 artists as the title of this blog? For they had nothing in common.

Well that is not entirely true. Both were born in Mississippi and both died on the 16th of August, Elvis 40 years ago today and Robert Johnson 79 year ago today. Both were pioneers in their music genre.

Also they both shaped my musical taste. It is a simple fact that there will never be any stars of their magnitude again.

Elvis was and is the undisputed King of Rock N Roll.

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Whereas Robert Johnson was and is the undisputed King of the Blues.

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Both men were legends and met untimely deaths and both were victims of circumstance.

I will not go to deep into their lives because there is nothing more that I can add to their stories. Below are 2 blogs though I have done in the past.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/02/23/elvis-and-the-colonel/

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/04/27/did-robert-johnson-sell-his-soul-to-the-devil/

Let’s celebrate their lives with some of their music.

 

RIP Elvis and Robert. Thank you for the music