This beautiful gospel and delta blues classic was originally composed, it is believed, by a slave named Wallace Wallis in the 19th century. Big Bill Broonzy’s version of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot goes deep into the mud and is a fine example of how Soul, blues, and Gospel perfectly complement each other.
You may call him the new voice of Soul. His voice digs deep through your veins and his live performance is a show to remember. Do You get the feeling I’m describing: Reverend Sekou and the Holy Ghost brings beautiful soul filled rhythm and blues, added with funk and gospel to your house, bar or festival.
His grandfather played piano in juke joints for the legends including B.B. King, Albert King, and Louis Jordan. Rev Sekou, together with his band is continuing the legacy or -family-tradition- of his grandfather.
The Band Rev. Sekou and the Holy Ghost
Writer, producer and lead vocalist Rev. Sekou is a third-generation Pentecostal preacher and long-time organizer, author, and activist, grounded in the traditions of liberation theology. Beside him stands the Arkansas Delta Blues Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Jay-Marie Hill (she/they) is a Black y Boricua genderQueer activist, teacher, and renegade born and raised in the Oakland Bay Area.
Next, you have Jay-Marie who works to deconstruct, liberate and recreate possibility through work at the intersections of youth, Black art, and radical activism. This band brings much more than jest very good songs. They all have a mission and extend it among other things through their music.
Debut Album release in 2016: “The Revolution Has Come”
Well, now we got to the point of their music; their debut album “The Revolution has Come” was released in January 2016. They describe their sound as: “The sound of Rev. Sekou & the Holy Ghost is a symphony of gospel, blues, soul, funk and freedom songs laced with sanctified blues and lyrics that range from religious to risqué”, and that pretty much includes their sound well.
Rev. Sekou – Resist – 5/5/2017 – Paste Studios, New York, NY
Hailin’ from Toronto Canada guitarist and singer Blind Matty is my new favorite Country Blues outlaw. Matty brings his songs with Rock n Roll attitude and power. But above all, this long drink of American music really convincing.
EP GrinGo! by Blind Matty
Packed with a guitar and an Eyepatch he mixes all kinds of blues and rock n Roll into a smoking whiskey of Garage. Blind Matty’s EP GRINGO! was released May 14 on Burger Records.
Blind Matty – Gettin’ Stoned with my Ol’ Lady
Gringo! features four songs “Gettin’ Stoned With My Ol’Lady”, “Sugar Mama”, “Put The Shake On You” and, “Rock N Roll Outlaw”. Follow and find more about Blind Matty Here!
Roots music from 7-piece string band White City Shakers
Watching this band play music gets you filled with enthusiasm. It’s really fun to play music and The White City Shakers show how it’s done. The White City Shakers are a 7 piece string band harkening back to the golden era of southern Americana. Spanning blues, gospel and early rock’n’roll.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from video ‘Down By the Riverside, Recorded live @ Batcomber Lodge, Somerset
Who Rolled The Stone Away?
In the 1940s Marie Knight worked and toured alongside the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe. And like Sister Rosetta this Gospel and Rhythm and Blues singer had a long career in music. The two singers had a lot in common. Marie Knight’s ‘Who Rolled the Stone Away’, for example has similar vocals and grooves as good as “Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho’ from Sister Rosetta.
The Original Soul sister of Blues: Sister Rosetta Tharpe
It was on YouTube where I spotted a picture of a beautiful woman in front of a group of Gospel singers with a Gibson SG in front of her. I instantly clicked on the video, and heard the woman play a Rock ‘n Roll guitar riff. She started singing ‘Above My Head, I hear music in the air’. Slowly the Gospel singers started singing along. It was the coolest mix of Gospel and Rock ‘n Roll I ever heard. Soon I started looking for more songs of this great Musician. I discovered the magical repertoire of Sister Rossetta Tharpe.
Inspiration for Rock ‘n Roll Musicians
She was a great musician, a Gospel singer, a Blues shouter and a Rock ‘n Roll guitarist. With her songs Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an early influence on figures such as Little Richard, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis. Johnny Cash covered her hit “There are Strange Things Happeninh Every Day” on his 1979 Gospel Album A Believer Sings the Truth.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Rosetta’s greatest hit Jericho
My favorite Sister Rosetta song is the traditional Jericho a well-known African American spiritual. According to Wikipedia The song is believed to have been composed by slaves in the first half of the 19th century. Some references suggest that it was copyrighted by Jay Roberts in 1865. Musicians like Mahalia Jackson and Elvis Presley also recorded a cool version of Jericho. Sister Rosetta Tharpe however took it to a new level. With rhythmic interruptions in the vocals she created a true Rhythm and Blues song. French DJ-Duo C2C inspired by Sister Rosetta remixed her version. C2C showed us that Sister Rosetta would have been a hit-making musician today.
C2C Remix – Jericho
Upbringing and entering music
Sister Rosetta Tharpe was born on March 20th 1915 in Cotton Plant Arkansas, started to sing at her mother’s church concertes at the age of four. During those days Rosetta was called “Little Rosetta Nubin”, ‘the singing and guitar playing miracle’. Despite her religious upbringing she was dedicated to the Blues and jazz. Alongside Lucky Millinders’s jazz band she recorde her first album in New York. The album created quite a stir. The mix of sacred words and secular sounds entered the world like a blast. (ABC of the Blues, ultimate collection, artist: Rosetta Tharpe).
Showmanship and the Folk Blues Caravan
Rosetta Tharpe was a brilliant guitarist playing flashy as a rock star, it was all part of het showmanship. When her career took a dent in the fifties and sixties she was part of the Folk blues revival caravan that toured around Europe. Alongside Muddy Waters, Otis Spann and Cousin Joe. During the early Seventies Sister Rosetta Tharpe had several strokes, after another stroke in 1973 she died in Philadelphia.
“All this new stuff they call rock ’n’ roll, why, I’ve been playing that for years now… Ninety percent of rock-and-roll artists came out of the church, their foundation is the church.”
Photo credit: The Gospel of the Blues – Sister Rosetta Tharpe via photopin (license)
Video credit: Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship,and research.
Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Down by the Riverside
Sister Rosetta Tharpe: That’s All
Sister Rosetta Tharpe & Marie Knight with The Sam Price Trio – Precious Memories
More songs of Sister Rosetta Tharpe on Spotify
Deep and Raw Folkblues: Shawn James and the Shapeshifters
Born on the south side of Chicago in 1986, singer, songwriter and multi instrumentalist, Shawn James had a kind, hardworking Mother and a gambling, drunk and often abusive Father. Unlike most of the blues musicians on this website Shawn James started his life in Chicago and moved to the south later in life. This folk bluesman is recognizable for his deep, raw and soulful singing. Y´all should see this young musician play with his backing band the ShapeShifters
Soulful singing of the Blues
While young in age Shawn James brings a whole lot of soul into his songs. James music isn’t limited to one genre, you will hear almost every instrument used in the roots music around. He explains that “his conflicted home life can still be heard in his music which can be full of contrasts — dark and light, anger and joy, earthy and airborne – while remaining gritty and real”.
James learned to sing with soul in church growing up. The Gospel singing style now seems to be a perfect combination for his music, his voice digs deeper through you vains than a harmonica swing like in the song ‘Who Did That To You’.
Shawn James – Shadows
Moving to Arkansas, starting a band
After playing in bands since the age of sixteen, Shawn moved to Fayetteville, Arkansas in January 2012. Attracted to the beauty of the natural state and even more impressed by Fayetteville’s diverse and thriving music scene, he began performing every chance he got.
Hard driving Folk Blues
Wherever Shawn James performs there is one thing sure: his inimitable voice and hard-driving folk/soul/blues hybrid are made for a performance you wouldn’t soon forget, if it is on the street, in a bar or at a house party.
Besides the great vocals of this bluesman you will notices creative musical compositions. It is the result of the use of multiple instruments like the Banjo. The Mandolin, The creative rhythm section and groovy guitar and piano. At the peak of a individual song this music rolls over you like a raging bull, and leaves you to heal the wounds in silence.
Covers of the blues and gospel
A great extra is the covers album that James recorded with songs like the Gospel traditional “John The Revelator” and “God’s Gonna Cut You Down”. Over the Last few years James and the Shapeshifters released a great triology album set called “The Bear”, “The Hawk” and “The Wolf”. Especially “Scapter II: Hunger” is what everybody would call a Hit!