Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Complete Recorded Works 1938-1944, Vol.2 (1995) 320 kbs

Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order, 1938-1944
Volume 2, 1942-1944

1 I Want a Tall Skinnny Papa Millinder 2:51
2 What He Done for Me Traditional 2:39
3 I Want Jesus to Walk Around My Bedside Harris 2:38
4 All Over This World Traditional 2:42
5 Pure Religion Traditional 2:33
6 This Train Tharpe 2:29
7 Down by the Riverside Public Domain 3:07
8 Rock Me Tharpe 2:37
9 Rock Me Tharpe 2:47
10 That’s All Tharpe 2:03
11 Trouble in Mind Jones 2:39
12 Rock Daniel Traditional 2:38
13 That’s All Tharpe 2:03
14 Let That Liar Alone Tharpe 2:41
15 The Devil Has Thrown Him Down Traditional 2:51
16 Sleep on Darling Mother Traditional 3:03
17 God Don’t Like It Traditional 2:32
18 I Want to Live So God Can Use Me Tharpe 2:32
19 What’s the News Tharpe 2:52
20 Nobody Knows, Nobody Cares Traditional 2:36
21 Jesus Taught Me How to Smile 3:06
22 Forgive Me Lord and Try Me One More Time Traditional 2:35
23 What Is the Soul of Man 2:31
24 Singing in My Soul Dorsey 2:53
25 I Claim Jesus First Dorsey 2:36
26 Strange Things Happening Every Day Tharpe 2:44
27 Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves of Bread Hamighen 2:51

Review by Stewart Mason

The second of two well-packed discs released on the Austrian reissue label Document, Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 covers the years of 1942 to 1944, a period during which Tharpe was raising the ire of her religious audience by branching out into a more secular era. Though in retrospect the sentiments of songs like “I Want a Tall Skinny Papa” seem tame, the outcry was similar to when Sam Cooke went pop in the late ’50s: how dare the pop market take away our Sister? It stands to reason; Sister Rosetta Tharpe was gospel’s most fiery voice and one of the finest guitarists in any style of her era. (The stabbing, rhythmic lead guitar underpinning these songs sounds like it was probably a huge influence on Chicago blues later that decade.) The passion and vitality of these performances is remarkable, as is the joy Tharpe clearly takes in the physicality of even her most pious recordings. Even for non-believers, this is rich, fulfilling music. The quality of these transfers on the rarer material can be a little rough, but not distractingly so.

Biography by Jason Ankeny

Alongside Willie Mae Ford Smith, Sister Rosetta Tharpe is widely acclaimed among the greatest Sanctified gospel singers of her generation; a flamboyant performer whose music often flirted with the blues and swing, she was also one of the most controversial talents of her day, shocking purists with her leap into the secular market — by playing nightclubs and theatres, she not only pushed spiritual music into the mainstream, but in the process also helped pioneer the rise of pop-gospel. Tharpe was born March 20, 1921 in Cotton Plant, Arkansas; the daughter of Katie Bell Nubin, a traveling missionary and shouter in the classic gospel tradition known throughout the circuit as “Mother Bell,” she was a prodigy, mastering the guitar by the age of six. At the same time she attended Holiness conventions alongside her mother, performing renditions of songs including “The Day Is Past and Gone” and “I Looked Down the Line.”

In time the family relocated to Chicago, where Tharpe began honing her unique style; blessed with a resonant vibrato, both her vocal phrasing and guitar style drew heavy inspiration from the blues, and she further aligned herself with the secular world with a sense of showmanship and glamour unique among the gospel performers of her era. Signing to Decca in 1938, Tharpe became a virtual overnight sensation; her first records, among them Thomas A. Dorsey’s “Rock Me” and “This Train,” were smash hits, and quickly she was performing in the company of mainstream superstars including Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman. She led an almost schizophrenic existence, remaining in the good graces of her core audience by recording material like “Precious Lord,” “Beams of Heaven” and “End of My Journey” while also appealing to her growing white audience by performing rearranged, uptempo spirituals including “Didn’t It Rain” and “Down by the Riverside.”

During World War II, Tharpe was so popular that she was one of only two black gospel acts — the Golden Gate Quartet being the other — to record V-Discs for American soldiers overseas; she also toured the nation in the company of the Dixie Hummingbirds, among others. In 1944, she began recording with boogie-woogie pianist Sammy Price; their first collaboration, “Strange Things Happening Every Day,” even cracked Billboard’s race records Top Ten, a rare feat for a gospel act and one which she repeated several more times during the course of her career. In 1946 she teamed with the Newark-based Sanctified shouter Madame Marie Knight, whose simple, unaffected vocals made her the perfect counterpoint for Tharpe’s theatrics; the duo’s first single, “Up Above My Head,” was a huge hit, and over the next few years they played to tremendous crowds across the church circuit.

However, in the early ’50s Tharpe and Knight cut a handful of straight blues sides; their fans were outraged, and although Knight soon made a permanent leap into secular music — to little success — Tharpe remained first and foremost a gospel artist, although her credibility and popularity were seriously damaged. Not only did her record sales drop off and her live engagements become fewer and farther between, but many purists took Tharpe’s foray into the mainstream as a personal affront; the situation did not improve, and she spent over a year touring clubs in Europe, waiting for the controversy to die down. Tharpe’s comeback was slow but steady, and by 1960 she had returned far enough into the audience’s good graces to appear at the Apollo Theatre alongside the Caravans and James Cleveland. While not a household name like before, she continued touring even after suffering a major stroke in 1970, dying in Philadelphia on October 9, 1973.

Contains artwork!!!

Caroline Crawford – Nice and Soulful (1979) 320 kbs


Caroline Crawford – Nice And Soulful (1979)

www.dustygroove.com
A stunning set of soul tunes from the lovely Caroline Crawford — produced by Bohannon, and some of his best work from the time! Caroline’s got a great style that moves past other club singers of the time — much more soulful and sophisticated than simple disco diva styles, drenched in a deeper soul sound that grounds the album nicely in a strong tradition of 70s soul. The production is tight, but unobtrusive — a bit like some of the best work that Barry White did with singers of a similar style — and the whole album sparkles with a freshness that will make you say “Hey, why I have I been missing this one all these years?” Titles include “The Strut”, “I’ll Be Here For You”, “Havin Fun”, “Facts Of Life”, and “Love Me Or Leave Me Alone”.

Tracks
1. I’ll Be Here For You
2. Can’t Hold Me Back
3. Love Me Or Leave Me Alone
4. The Strut
5. The Facts Of Life
6. Havin’fun

Gillian Welch – Time (The Revelator) (2001) 320kbs

Gillian Welch
Time (The Revelator) 320kbs
Released 2001

I’ve had a lot of insomnia this year. Dark nights of the soul or something like that. A few things have gotten me through those nights more or less intact — the records of Anne Briggs, Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, certain Indian ragas, an ambient project called Mirror, and this record from Gillian Welch and David Rawlings. This is my favorite of hers. I feel it’s her most honest and heartfelt, away from her old-timey Appalachian revivalism and towards pure musical expression. A different kind of gooseflesh soul music for the twilight hours. When you listen closely, “I Dream A Highway” is the shortest folk song you will ever hear, ringing out unlike anything you knew before or since. This record has kept me company when I had no other. I hope it helps someone else out there too.

1. Revelator
2. My First Lover
3. Dear Someone
4. Red Clay Halo
5. April the 14th Part 1
6. I Want So Sing That Rock and Roll
7. Elvis Presley Blues
8. Ruination Day Part 2
9. Everything Is Free
10. I Dream a Highway

Gilberto Gil – Refavela (1977) 320kbs

Gilberto Gil
Refavela (1977)
320 kbs

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This is a highly underrated album, a result of Gil’s trip to Lagos with Caetano Veloso. Caetano recorded “Bicho”, also a classic, but this record holds its own against it any day. In my opinion, this is the last of Gil’s records that you can truly call a “classic.” It’s groundbreaking stuff that presages “world music” but the production values here are still nice, warm, and analog (no Peter Gabriel “Real World studios” sounding stuff here!).

Contains complete artwork!!

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Review by Philip Jandovský

Unlike his friend and fellow Brazilian musical legend, Caetano Veloso, Gilberto Gil, through the years, has had a strong tendency to follow the temporary shifts in styles and trends that occur within popular music. Because of this the music of Gil usually has sounded very up to date when it was released, but often his recordings haven’t at all aged as gracefully as the timeless music of Caetano Veloso. The tracks on many of the albums of Gilberto Gil have also been of very uneven quality. Refavela is clearly one of the exceptions to this rule. Heavily inspired by traditional African and Afro-Brazilian sounds and rhythms, the songs on this album have aged very well indeed. The title of the album, Refavela, of course, refers to the slum quarters found in the large Brazilian cities, which are called favelas. Among the more famous songs on this album are the beautiful title track, “Refavela,” the funky “Babá Alapalá,” and the Afro-Brazilian rhythmic “Patuscada de Gandhi” and “Ilê Ayê.” There is also a cover of Tom Jobim’s “Samba do Avião.” Refavela is, without doubt, one of the most consistent and probably the best of all albums recorded by Gilberto Gil.