Charley Pride, country music luminary whose sensational voice, artistry, and strong spirit shattered cultural walls, died Saturday, December 12 in Dallas, Texas of complications from Covid-19. He was 86.

“It is with great sadness that we confirm that Charley Pride passed away this morning, Saturday, December 12, 2020, in Dallas, Texas of complications from Covid-19 at age 86,” his family confirmed in a statement. “He was admitted to the hospital in late November with Covid-19 type symptoms and despite the incredible efforts, skill and care of his medical team over the past several weeks, he was unable to overcome the virus. Charley felt blessed to have such wonderful fans all over the world. And he would want his fans to take this virus very seriously.”

Photo courtesy of artist’s site

Born a sharecropper’s son in Sledge, Mississippi, on March 18, 1934, Pride emerged from and escaped out of cotton fields to become the first Black artist to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame and the first to win a Grammy in the country category.

By the time he was 14, he had enough money in his savings account to order a $10 Silvertone guitar from the Sears, Roebuck, & Co. catalog. “I opened it up, lifted it in my hands and strummed my first chords. That minute, I was the happiest kid in Mississippi,” he said, years later.

Growing up, Pride thought baseball would be his ticket out of poverty and the labor which pained his entire body. But it would be his musicality that took him out of the fields, rather than his pitching and hitting skills. After his time in the Army, working at a Missouri smelting plant, and some botched attempts to break into big-league baseball, he came to Nashville in 1963 and made demo recordings with help from manager Jack Johnson.

Those recordings sat for a couple years before Johnson met with producer Jack Clement, who offered songs for Pride to learn. On August 16, 1965, Clement produced Pride at RCA Studio B. Those sessions proved awe-inspiring to RCA’s Chet Atkins who then signed Pride to a recording contract.

In 1967, Pride’s recording of Clement’s “Just Between You and Me” broke into country’s Top Ten. With the days of iron ore behind him, he was now on the road to platinum records. Between 1967 and 1987, Pride achieved 52 Top 10 country hits and became RCA Records’ top-selling country artist, with chart-topping hits including “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’,” “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone,” and Harold Dorman’s “Mountain of Love.”

Early in his career, when asked how it felt to be the “Jackie Robinson of country music,” he would respond unequivocally and somewhat puzzled, “Well, I’m Charley Pride, the staunch American.” In his memoir, Pride wrote, “We’re not color blind yet, but we’ve advanced a few paces along the path and I like to think I’ve contributed something to that process.”

That he did. Through resilience, Pride became a member of the Grand Ole Opry and a national treasure. Pride won the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year award in 1971, and its top male vocalist prize in 1971 and 1972. On November 11 he gave his final performance at the 2020 Country Music Awards in Nashville, where he was honored with the CMAs’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

Pride was a forerunner whose impact on the country music industry can be seen today in authentic roots artists like Rhiannon Giddens and Valerie June who tweeted, “Remembering Charley Pride. Such a huge inspiration to all black folks who love country music and to everyone else too.”

Perhaps the finest example of Pride’s rich, soothing baritone is his performance of “Roll On Mississippi,” the official song of his home state where a stretch of highway is named after him.

I grew up in Fort Basinger, Florida — both a U.S. Army military post and a ghost town along the banks of Kissimmee River — so the song always struck a personal chord of emotion in its lyrics:

Roll on Mississippi, you make me feel like a child again

Roll on Mississippi, big river roll.

You’re the childhood dream that I grew up on.

Roll on Mississippi, carry me home.

 

Now I can see I’ve been away too long.

Roll on, Mississippi, roll on.

Now, when the world’s spinning round, too fast for me,

And I need a place to dream.

 

So I come to your banks, I sit in your shade

Relive the memories

Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn

Roll on Mississippi, you make me feel like a child again

Roll on Mississippi, Big river roll

When the world was spinning madly around me, I could always come back home to the loving arms of my Granny and Papa, to those banks where I would relive the memories and realize I’d been away too long.

Roll on, Charley, roll on. You’re the childhood dream I grew up on.

*Feature image credit: Michael Putland/Getty Images

 

The post Remembering Songs of Pride…Charley, That Is appeared first on American Blues Scene.

Davis is formidable as Chicago’s ‘Mother of the Blues’, alongside a whip-sharp Chadwick Boseman in his final screen role, in this often stagey drama

In 2016, Denzel Washington produced, directed and starred in the screen adaptation of August Wilson’s 1985 play Fences, earning a supporting actress Oscar for Viola Davis, along with nods for best actor, best picture and a posthumous screenwriting nomination for Wilson, who died in 2005. Davis is back in the awards-running for her dynamite role as “Mother of the Blues” Gertrude “Ma” Rainey in this latest screen adaptation of Wilson’s work, on which Washington again serves as producer. Like Fences, it showcases some tour de force acting, with Chadwick Boseman similarly at the top of his game in what would tragically prove to be his final screen role. Yet, like its predecessor, the theatrical origins of Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom weigh heavy on this film, directed with a stagey air by Tony award winner George C Wolfe.

In late-1920s Chicago, the humid atmosphere of a dingy recording studio is made hotter by the broiling tensions between musicians, producers, managers and an increasingly recalcitrant star. The session will include cutting Ma Rainey’s signature song – a saleable disc that will doubtless earn more for its white backers than any of the black players making the music.

In cinemas now and on Netflix from 18 December

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Back in September, Blues Rock Review launched The Blues Rock Show, a new weekly YouTube series discussing anything and everything blues rock music. Now Blues Rock Review is excited to be releasing weekly highlight videos from The Blues Rock Show. The highlight videos focus on one topic from a particular show.

Check out some of the highlight videos below and make sure to subscribe to Blues Rock Review on YouTube!

Is Beth Hart the Top Female Blues Rock Act?

Why Is John Mayer Polarizing With Music Fans?

Who Are Today’s Guitar Heroes?

How Many #1 Blues Albums Will Joe Bonamassa Get?

Why Is Greta Van Fleet So Polarizing?

Are CDs Still Relvelant? 

Will Spotify’s New Promotional Tool Hurt Musicians?

Catch new episodes of The Blues Rock Show Monday’s on Blue Rock Review.

The post Introducing Blues Rock Show highlight videos appeared first on Blues Rock Review.

Featuring a sharp team of musicians on horns and keys, Kansas City’s bluesman Kurt Allen released his second album, Whiskey, Women & Trouble. In this brand new album, Allen keeps his direct and blues-based style, as shown in his first album (Titanium Blue, 2014).

The first song is “Graveyard Blues”, a blues-rock track with a solid guitar riff and slide solos. “Watch Yo Step” is a kind of a boogie-blues, with the expected stops and played-along guitar solos. In “How Long” the powerful vocals and horn lines make a nice slow blues. The title-track is a traditional boogie-blues where all the instruments are balanced, giving the perfect mood for the song.

“Funkalicious” starts with a rhythmic bass line that is complimented with other instruments, and where the vocals are more spoken than sung. The album’s ballad is “Count On Me”, with nice piano playing. In the blues-rock “Roadrunner”, the main role belongs to the saxophone, which, besides the guitar, does an excellent job. “Cry Mercy” has a non-straight and peaked rhythm very well led by the drums, where Allen’s distorted guitar gives fluency to the song. “Voodoo Queen” is another track with remarkable sax and bass lines, besides the soulful Allen’s vocals. The last track, “Sweet T” is a song that reminds the listener where the rock comes from.

Whiskey, Women & Trouble is a blues-based album that shows all the shades of blues and rock. It’s a real journey where Allen was careful and able to use his influences and create an album that represents them very well.

The Review: 7/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Roadrunner
– Funkalicious
– Graveyard Blues

The Big Hit

– Funkalicious

Buy the album: Amazon | Amazon UK

The post Kurt Allen: Whiskey, Women & Trouble Review appeared first on Blues Rock Review.

On 10th December 2020 we all learned of the devastating news that ‘Mojo’ Morganfield had suddenly died.

I, for one was totally stunned. I first came across Mojo about 3 years ago, quite by accident as it happens. I’ve been on Facebook for as long as I can remember, mainly because of my involvement with blues music. It was through this rather tenuous link that I first met Joseph. I do what I call a blues kitchen once a week.

This involves es me trying to cook something whilst listening to a blues album or two on vinyl. This particular night I had posted the meal that I was going to attempt along with the ingredients. The blues vinyl that I had chosen was Muddy Waters, Live At Newport 1960. A few people commented as per normal when I noticed that a Joseph Morganfield had commented, great album choice buddy. I thought to myself, that’s a coincidence and started to check. Lo and behold it was on his profile, Father, McKinley Morganfield.

To say I was shocked is an understatement. Then, almost straight away he sent me a friend request. From that day we became firm Facebook friends and had many a chat about blues music, his career, and what I was involved with at the time, writing for Blues Matters Magazine. He talked about recording an album with his band, The Mannish Boyz, and also about hoping to tour the Uk soon. We’d agreed to meet up at a gig and that I would interview him and also write a gig review for the magazine. Most weeks when I did a blues kitchen he would comment on the meal that I was preparing and about the album that I’d chosen for that night.

One night I played an album that my wife had bought for me for my birthday. Super Super Blues Band on orange vinyl ft. Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Bo Didley. It is an amazing album, to say the least. Joesph messaged me in almost disbelief that I had a copy. He said he had tried to get hold of a copy a few times but to no avail. I did a spot of looking out for a copy and luckily managed to get hold of a copy for him. I told him to send me his address and I’d send it to him. He was over the moon that I had found a copy and sent me his address and said he would send me the money. I replied that this was a gift from one blues brother to another. I sent the album and he sent me his profound thanks and said we’d hopefully meet up in 2021 if he managed to make it to the Uk on tour. Earlier this year he got married to Deborah and was so happy.

He had recorded and released Its Good To Be King as a single and was working on finishing his album with his band The Mannish Boyz. He is survived by his wife Deborah and his children, Joshua, Matthew, Gabrielle, Jordan, Jade, Julissa, and Bella and his step-children Annaliese and Amelia. I feel such a sad loss of a blues brother and a thoroughly nice guy that always had time for everyone. On Wednesday 9th December 2020 I once again found myself in my blues kitchen and had posted the recipe and ingredients for the meal I was about to attempt. The blues vinyl that I had chosen for that night….. Super Supr Blues Band ft. Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Bo Didley on orange vinyl.

 

JOESEPH MOJO MORGANFIELD

Born 14th April 1964 – 10TH December 2020

STEPHEN HARRISON

The post JOSEPH ‘MOJO’ MORGANFIELD – Gone but not forgotten appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.