Oh my goodness, how I love this woman! Sister Rosetta was doing amazing things with an electric guitar almost before anyone knew what one was. She was a masterful performer and-as you can see here-an absolute joy to watch onstage. Ahead of her time, she mixed gospel and secular music years before Ray Charles, and played incendiary rock and roll guitar solos long before anyone had even considered approaching music that way. Enough talk, take a trip to heaven with Sister Rosetta!
unknown gospel songs
Sorry for the period of radio silence there, but I’ve been in the process of moving from Baltimore to Austin, Texas-the “Live Music Capital of the World”. I took my time and made some excellent stops along the way, including Asheville, NC and New Orleans, but now I’m settled, have internet access, and there will once again be some regularity to my posts.
Today we’ve got Diane Birch, who is a phenomenally talented singer/songwriter/piano player extraordinaire. I don’t really know where to classify her, as she’s got her fingers in a lot of different pies-jazz, gospel, blues, pop, rock, soul, and she does an admirable job of blending them all together in a gorgeous sound. A lot of folks compare her to Carole King, but I don’t think that does her justice. Although she is most definitely easy on the eyes, she’s got talent and soul that goes deep beneath her exterior and she delivers all of her songs without a trace of pretension or saccharin pop overkill. Every track on her album “Bible Belt” is worth a listen, but here’s ‘Fools’, one of my favorites, and a bonus solo performance of ‘Sweet River Tree’. Enjoy!
Sam Cooke began his career singing gospel, first with siblings and later as part of other various groups through the early 1950s. In the second half of that decade, Cooke transitioned to pop music, releasing “Lovable,” his first pop single in 1956. “Having a Party” was recorded in 1961 under his own record label after he had gained significant notoriety. The studio version of this song features Cooke’s clear, soothing voice; something he carried over from his gospel days and a quality his fans adored him for. The live version of the song appeared on “Live at the Harlem Square Club,” recorded in 1963, just one year before his controversial death in December, 1964. In this live cut, a coarseness can be clearly heard in Cooke’s voice, probably as the result of time spent touring and performing live shows. This grittier version of the song exemplifies something closer to rock and roll, and captures Sam Cooke’s true versatility as a singer and performer.
Resembling characters from a Tom Sawyer book, Brooklyn-based Spirit Family Reunion has created a West Virginian-emo-esque folk song. “Cold, so Cold” sounds like it’s from back-country middle America, but the band is from Brooklyn, so they’ve hit the image and sound spot-on. This song could easily find it’s way onto the soundtrack of a rough-around-the-edges horror film.
Many people have an intimate knowledge of Elvis’ more popular songs. But not everyone has that same knowledge of his gospel music. In fact, Elvis was influenced by gospel from a very young age. Story has it that at two years old, he would frequently even try to run up on stage with the church choir to perform.
This hymn, originally written by Swedish poet Carl Gustav Boberg, was arranged by Presley and is the title track of Elvis’ second gospel album “How Great Thou Art.” This song won a Grammy in 1967 for Best Sacred Performance.
I recently traveled to Nashville and actually had the privilege of touring and recording in studio B at RCA studios, which is where this song was recorded. The highlight of the tour was when the producer there turned the lights down and played this song over the original speakers.
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today, released on August 18,2008, was a collaboration between two amazing artists – David Byrne and Brian Eno. Leo Abrahams helped produce the album and also co-wrote “Strange Overtones.” This electronic gospel album was born after a dinner conversation where Brian Eno told David Byrne that he had accumulated a lot of music that he had never formed into songs.