Acoustic Guitar Masters
R&B, Soul and Funk
The Blind Boys of Alabama formed at the Alabama Institute for the Negro Blind in 1939. The group toiled for almost 40 years almost exclusively on the black gospel circuit, playing in churches, auditoriums, and even stadiums across the country. Their recorded output, reaching back to 1948 with their hit “I Can See Everybody’s Mother But Mine” on the Veejay label, is widely recognized as being influential for many gospel, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll artists. The Blind Boys had their own chance to “cross over” to popular music in the 1950′s, along with their gospel friend and contemporary Sam Cooke, but stayed true to their calling. In the 1960′s, they joined the Civil Rights movement, performing at benefits for Dr. Martin Luther King.
Here are Amazing Grace (more or less combined with House of the Rising Sun), what is called a vintage clip (with guitar pioneer Sister Rosetta Tharp at the end) and People Get Ready. The group isn’t done yet. In fact, they now are touring with Dr. John.
The distinctive Hi Records sound that the vocalist and producer Willie Mitchell developed made Al Green the most popular and influential soul singer of the early ’70s, influencing not only his contemporaries, but also veterans like Marvin Gaye. Green was at the peak of his popularity when he suddenly decided to join the ministry in the mid-’70s. At first, he continued to record secular material, but by the ’80s, he was concentrating solely on gospel. During the late ’80s and ’90s, he occasionally returned to R&B, but he remained primarily a religious performer for the rest of his career. Nevertheless, Green‘s classic early- ’70s recordings retained their power and influence throughout the decades, setting the standard for smooth soul.
Alison Krauss’ version of this traditional was recorded for the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which was released in 2000. The great photos were added by a church in Alaska, according to the notes at YouTube.
All that you can really say is that Alison Krauss is special. Her bio suggests she’s been that way since she was a kid. Other songs — one is just better than the next — include covers of The Foundations’ Baby, Now that I’ve Found You, Simon and Garfunkel’s The Boxer and Little Feat’s Oh, Atlanta. Krauss teamed with Bonnie Raitt on the latter’s Papa Come Quick.
This is the index of music that has appeared at The Daily Music Break.AC/DC: Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap/Highway to Hell Alabama Shakes: I Found You Luther Allison: Livin’ in the House of the Blues/Soul Fixin’ Man The Allman Brothers Band: In Memory of Elizabeth Reed Alpine Kat: Large Hadron Rap Herb Alpert: Spanish Flea Amsterdam Klezmer Band: Op een Goppe/A Chassid in Amsterdam Leroy Anderson: The Syncopated Clock Louis Armstrong Burt Bacharach/Dionne Warwick Medley LaVern Baker: Jim Dandy Got Married/Playing the Game of Love Count Basie: Whirly Bird Black 47: Funky Céilí Jeff Beck/Imelda May: Remember (Walking in the Sand) Chuck Berry: Maybellene The Blasters: American Music The Blind Boys of Alabama: Run On Blockhead: None Shall Pass Booker T. and the MGs (including Donald “Duck” Dunn): Green Onions Victor Borge: Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 David Bromberg: Summer Wages/I Will Not Be Your Fool Lonnie Brooks: You’re Usin’ Me “The Original” Bessie Brown: Song from a Cotton Field/St. Louis Blues Clifford Brown: Oh, Lady Be Good James Brown: Night Train Ray Brown: Lady Be Good Dave Brubeck: Take Five/Blue Rondo à la Turk R.L. Burnside: When My First Wife Left Me/Jumper on the Line The Cadillacs: Speedoo Cage the Elephant: Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked JJ Cale: Devil in Disguise/After Midnight/Call Me the Breeze Maria Callas: Tosca Benny Carter: Misty/Wave The Carter Family: Cannonball Blues Johnny Cash: Cocaine Blues Harry Chapin: Sniper Ray Charles: Hit the Road Jack Charlie Christian at Minton’s Oscar “Papa” Celestin: Marie Laveau/Oh! Didn’t He Ramble The Clancy Brothers: Finnegan’s Wake Gary Clark Jr.: Bright Lights The Clash: The Magnificent Seven Patsy Cline: Crazy George M. Cohan: Over There Leonard Cohen: Everybody Knows Nat King Cole: Route 66 John Coltrane: Naima Ry Cooder: Jesus on the Mainline Elizabeth Cotten: Freight Train Bobby Darin: Splish Splash Howard DaSilva, Tom Bosley: Little Tin Box Rev. Gary Davis: Death Don’t Have No Mercy Miles Davis: Autumn Leaves Deodato: Also Sprach Zarathustra/Rhapsody in Blue Bo Diddley: Road Runner Dire Straits: Skateaway Lee Dorsey: Working in the Coal Line/Ya Ya Duke Ellington, Dr. Billy Taylor, Willie “The Lion” Smith: Perdido Richard Feynman Talks About Light Ella Fitzgerald: Mack the Knife Ella Fitzgerald: The Man I Love Flogging Molly: Don’t Shut ‘Em Down Blaze Foley: Clay Pigeons Georgia Field Hands: Mary Don’t You Weep Gladys Knight & the Pips: Midnight Train to Georgia/I Heard It Through the Grapevine Benny Goodman: Moonglow Dexter Gordon: Body and Soul Al Green: Jesus is Waiting Emmylou Harris: Pancho and Lefty/Blue Kentucky Girl Coleman Hawkins: Jumpin’ With Symphony Sid Alison Krauss: Down to the River to Pray The Leningrad Cowboys and The Red Army Choir: Sweet Home Alabama John Fahey: On the Sunny Side of the Ocean Little Feat: Dixie Chicken Jerry Garcia and Bob Weir: I’ve Been All Around this World George Gershwin: Rhapsody in Blue Dizzy Gillespie/Louis Armstrong: Umbrella Man Benny Goodman: Moonglow Steve Goodman: City of New Orleans/Talk Backwards Morton Gould and his Orchestra: Aaron Copland’s Hoedown Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin’ Warren Haynes: Hattiesburg Hustle Levon Helm: Ophelia Levon Helm: Short Fat Fanny Jimi Hendrix: Who Knows Woody Herman: The Jazz Doctor Richard X. Heyman: Cornerstone John Hiatt: Slow Turning Earl “Fatha” Hines: Memories of You Billie Holiday: God Bless the Child/Now Baby or Never John Lee Hooker: Boom Boom/Hobo Blues House of Pain: Jump Around Carlos Antonio Jobim: Águas of Março Mahailia Jackson: Didn’t It Rain/Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho Wanda Jackson: Hard Headed Woman Etta James, Mick Taylor, John Mayall: You Got Me Runnin’ Skip James: Crow Jane Bert Jansch: Reynardine/Angie Dr. John and Eric Clapton: St. James Infirmary Norah Jones: Don’t Know Why Scott Joplin’s Ragtime Louis Jordan: Caldonia Jethro Tull: Locomotive Breath Anton Karas: The Third Man Theme Albert King: Blues Power The Kinks: Low Budget Rahsaan Roland Kirk: Serenade to a Cuckoo Ladysmith Black Mambazo/Paul Simon: You Can Call Me Al Lianne La Havas: Age/Is Your Love Big Enough? k.d. lang: The Valley/Hallelujah Ramsey Lewis: Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas Gordon Lightfoot: TheWreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald Franz Liszt: Hungarian Rhapsody No.1 and Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2 Little Eva: Let’s Turkey Trot Los Lobos: Evangeline/Will the Wolf Survive? Los Lobos, Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir: This Land is Your Land Nils Lofgren: Delivery Night Yo-Yo Ma: Elgar Cello Concerto, First Movement Taj Mahal, Eric Bibb: Diving Duck Blues Henry Mancini: The Pink Panther Theme Eleni Mandell: Magic Summertime Bob Marley and the Wailers: Stir It Up John Mayall: Oh, Pretty Woman Paul McCartney: Birthday Delbert McClinton: B Movie Box Car Blues Larry McCray: Smooth Sailing Mississippi Fred McDowell: John Henry/Goin’ Down to the River Modest Mouse: Dashboard Moe.: Kyle’s Song Thelonious Monk: Blue Monk Bill Monroe: Rawhide/Sally Goodin Mountain: Theme for an Imaginary Western Mozart: Flute Concerto No.2 In D Major, K.314 First Movement (conducted by James Galway) Charlie Musselwhite: Christo Redemptor Willie Nelson: Blue Skies Randy Newman: Louisiana 1927 The North Mississippi Allstars: The Meeting Laura Nyro: Save the Country Old Crow Medicine Show: Down Home Girl/Wagon Wheel Charley Parker: Dexterity Parliament Funkadelic: Bring on the Funk Parov Stelar: Chambermaid Swing Les Paul and Mary Ford: Alabamy Bound and Darktown Strutter’s Ball Pinetop Perkins: Pinetop’s Boogie/Down in Mississippi Phil Phillips: Sea of Love Phish: What Things Seem Porcupine Tree: Dark Matter Cole Porter: Anything Goes Dennis Potter: Pennies from Heaven (Anything Goes)/The Singing Detective (Dry Bones) The Preservation Hall Jazz Band: Basin Street Blues/Tailgate Ramble Elvis Presley: Heartbreak Hotel The Pretenders: Brass in Pocket/My City Was Gone Proclaimers: King of the Road Professor Longhair: Big Chief/Tipitina Queen: Bohemian Rhapsody Mohammad Rafi: Jaan Pehchan Bonnie Raitt and Alison Krauss: Papa Come Quick The Ramones: I Wanna Be Sedated/The KKK Took My Baby Away Red Hot Chili Peppers: Purple Stain Jerry Reed and Chet Atkins: Mule Skinner Blues Django Reinhardt: J’attendrai Swing Linda Ronstadt: Blue Bayou The Rooftop Singers: Walk Right In/Mama Don’t Allow Run-DMC: King of Rock/Christmas in Hollis Leon Russell: Crystal Closet Queen/Of Thee I Sing Santana: No One to Depend On Santigold: Disparate Youth Arnold Schoenberg: Verklaerte Nacht Earl Scruggs: Down the Road Compay Segunda and The Buena Vista Social Club: Chan Chan Pete Seeger, Bruce Springsteen: This Land is Your Land Marlena Shaw: California Soul The Shelby Bottom String Band: East Nashville Rag Allan Sherman: Shake Hands with Your Uncle Max Matt Siffert: Daybreak in Alabama and Riverside Drive Rockin Sidney Simien: Don’t Mess with My Toot Toot Frank Sinatra: That’s Life/I Get a Kick Out of You The Skatalites: Phoenix City/The Guns of Navarone Slim Dusty: Waltzing Matilda Sly and the Family Stone: Higher Southern Culture on the Skids: Voodoo Cadillac Bruce Springsteen: John Henry Steely Dan: Black Friday Steely Dan: My Old School The Steve Thorpe Band: Dust My Broom Johann Strauss II: The Blue Danube Waltz The Supremes: You Just Keep Me Hanging On Art Tatum: Humoresque Susan Tedeschi: Little by Little Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee: Walk On Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Up Above My Head Talking Heads: Psycho Killer Clark Terry: Take the A Train/On the Trail These United States: Honor Amongst Thieves Arturo Toscanini and the NBC Symphony Orchestra: Grand Canyon Suite Peter Tosh: Johnny B. Goode Traffic: John Barleycorn Must Die Trampled Under Foot: Love My Baby Merle Travis: 16 Tons/Lost John Big Joe Turner: Low Down Dog Jay Ungar: Ashokan Farewell Stevie Ray Vaughan: Texas Flood The Ventures: Hawaii Five-O Giuseppe Verdi: Triumphal March from Aida/La Travia Tom Waits: Tom Traubert’s Blues/Ol ’55 T-Bone Walker: Call It Stormy Monday/Woman, You Must Be Crazy/Goin’ to Chicago Blues Fats Waller: The Joint is Jumpin’ Doc Watson: Tennessee Stud Ben Webster: Old Folks Ween: Roses are Free/Big Jim Bukka White: Poor Boy Long Way From Home The Who: Who Are You/Substitute Hank Williams Sr.: Jambalaya on the Bayou Johnny and Edgar Winter and Rick Derringer: Highway 61 Revisited Howlin’ Wolf: Sitting on Top of the World Stevie Wonder: Superstition/Sir Duke/I Wish Lester Young: Pennies From Heaven Neil Young: Fork in the Road Frank Zappa: Cosmik Debris Warren Zevon: Excitable Boy
It is really difficult to watch one clip of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Try it. The best advice is either to not watch any, or set aside about a half hour.
Tharpe was both a big band and religious singer. Her electric guitar playing was amazing considering the era and the fact that she was a woman playing what probably was considered to be a man’s instrument. (Check out what she does at the 1:29 mark of the clip above). She is said to have influenced Johnny Cash, Elvis, Chuck Berry and others. Vocally, she seems to borrow from the Rev. Gary Davis, or vice versa.
Here are Down by the Riverside, Didn’t it Rain, Trouble in Mind and This Train. Tharpe also was backed by the Chicago Blues All Stars and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Finally, here is an unnamed piece.