Tag Archives: August Music et al

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

Reverend Gary Davis

The discography of the Reverend Gary Davis is longer than the four albums he recorded at the Van Gelder Studios in Englewood Cliffs, NJ.

Much longer.

And there are recordings that some of his students did while they were trying to learn the guitar playing intricacies that Davis could do.

I will stick with the four recording sessions that he did at Van Gelder mainly because of that studio’s fame for so many classic recordings, particularly jazz.

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

Gary D. Davis

Gary Davis was born on April 30, 1896 in Laurens, South Carolina. He was the oldest of eight children and the only one to survive.

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

In his 20s he moved to Durham, North Carolina and barely supported himself busking in its streets mainly the blues until he was ordained a minister in 1937. At that point, despite requests, he tried to get away from “secular” music, particularly when recording.

He moved to New York in the 40s where he continued busking and living in poverty. To supplement his income, he gave guitar lessons. $5 a lesson.

Van Gelder Recording Sessions

While he had been recorded several times earlier than his first Van Gelder session, the highest quality recordings came from those in Englewood Cliffs.

August 24, 1960

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder
Harlem Street Singer

Matt Fink in his All Music review says, “…Gary Davis laid down 12 of his most impassioned spirituals for Harlem Street Singer. Starting off the session with a version of Blind Willie Johnson’s “If I Had My Way I’d Tear That Building Down,” here renamed “Samson and Delilah,” Davis is in fine form. His vocals are as expressive as Ray Charles’ while similar in richness to Richie Havens’ work. Harlem Street Singer features his inspired country blues fingerpicking as well. Many moods color the selections, from the gentle “I Belong to the Band” to the mournful “Death Don’t Have No Mercy,” only to be followed by the joyous shouting of “Goin’ to Sit Down on the Banks of the River.” Overall, the collection is well worth the purchase and should be considered essential listening for fans of country blues or gospel.”

Track listing

Unless noted otherwise, all compositions are by Davis:

  1. Samson and Delilah” (Traditional) – 4:02
  2. “Let Us Get Together” – 3:08
  3. “I Belong to the Band” – 2:54
  4. “Pure Religion” (Traditional) – 2:57
  5. “Great Change Since I Been Born” – 4:03
  6. “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” – 4:41
  7. “Twelve Gates to the City” (Traditional) – 3:08
  8. “Goin’ to Sit Down on the Banks of the River” – 2:55
  9. “Tryin’ to Get Home” – 3:46
  10. “Lo I Be With You Always” – 4:17
  11. “I Am the Light of the World” – 3:34
  12. “I Feel Just Like Goin’ On” – 3:29

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

August 10, 1961

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

A Little More Faith

Again Bruce Elder from AllMusicGary Davis’ second album for Prestige Records is a confusing affair, at least as far as its title — Little More Faith is how it’s listed in lots of reference sources, but its front cover calls it A Little More Faith, while its spine (at least for the CD issue) calls it Have a Little Faith. But by whatever name it’s called, it’s a masterpiece: its dozen songs recorded on one day in August of 1961 are nothing less than priceless. Davis presents an easy virtuosity on his solo guitar, and runs his voice across a surprisingly wide range in what is mostly gospel repertory. Not that any blues fans will mind his approach: Davis was one of those figures where the sound and feel of blues becomes indistinguishable from those of gospel. He was just doing what came naturally on this record, laying down 12 songs he knew well from across decades of performing, including a raw and affecting “Motherless Child” and the upbeat, inspiring “There’s a Bright Side Somewhere.” And his easy, unselfconscious approach demonstrates that he never once thought twice about his contributions to an already classic body of music. Included among the jewels here are some of the roots of the blues revival of the next generation, including Davis’ rendition of “I’ll Be All Right Some Day,” a song that Jorma Kaukonen parlayed into a killer opening for his solo magnum opus, Quah, about 13 years later. And speaking of natural, the stereo mastering of this album works amazingly well, despite the fact that it puts Davis‘ voice on one channel and his guitar on another; mono sound might be more authentic, but this way you can fully appreciate his playing and his singing, each on its own terms.

Track listing

Unless noted otherwise, all compositions are by Davis:

  1. You Got to Move” (Traditional) – 3:18
  2. “Crucifixion” – 4:57
  3. “I’m Glad I’m in That Number” – 2:58
  4. “There’s a Table Sittin’ in Heaven” – 3:28
  5. Motherless Children” (Traditional) – 4:12
  6. “There’s a Bright Side Somewhere” (Traditional) – 3:12
  7. “I’ll Be All Right Some Day” – 3:03
  8. “You Better Mind” – 3:26
  9. “A Little More Faith” – 3:40
  10. “I’ll Fly Away” (Albert E. Brumley) – 4:32
  11. “God’s Gonna Separate” (Traditional) – 3:35
  12. “When I Die I’ll Live Again” – 3:28

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

Late 1961

Say No to the Devil

Bruce Elder in his AllMusic review states, “His second Prestige album of 1961 shows the Rev. Gary Davis not breaking stride for a second, even in the wake of the triumphant A Little More Faith. The repertory here is perhaps a little more traditional gospel in orientation, and the songs more cautionary in nature — but that doesn’t stop Davis from displaying some overpowering dexterity, and if anything his singing is even more exuberant here. And this time out, in addition to his six-string guitar, he treats us to his powerful 12-string playing on “Time Is Drawing Near” and “Lost Boy In The Wilderness,” the latter a shimmering five-minute showcase for the instrument that’s almost worth the price of admission by itself; and he also shows off his considerable harmonica dexterity — of a distinctly old-school style — on “Hold To God’s Unchanging Hand” and “No One Can Do Me Like Jesus.” The stereo mix on this album, when compared to its predecessor, is also a bit more naturalistic, without sacrificing any detail in the finely nuanced playing or singing, and the result is an album as fine as its predecessor, and an equally worthy part of any serious acoustic blues collection.

Track listing

Unless noted otherwise, all compositions are by Davis:

  1. “Say No to the Devil” – 4:01
  2. “Time Is Drawing Near” – 4:26
  3. “Hold on to God’s Unchanging Hand” (Traditional) – 4:35
  4. “Bad Company Brought Me Here” – 3:38
  5. “I Decided to Go Down” – 4:25
  6. “Lord, I Looked Down the Road” – 4:20
  7. “Little Bitty Baby” (Traditional) – 4:32
  8. “No One Can Do Me Like Jesus” – 3:40
  9. “Lost Boy in the Wilderness” – 5:01
  10. “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven in Due Time” – 4:24

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder

March 2, 1964

The Guitar & Banjo of Reverend Gary Davis

From Richie Unterberger at AllMusicBecause this is an all-instrumental recording, it’s an offbeat entry into the catalog of a performer known both as an important guitarist and as a singer. Some might miss Davis‘ vocals on this 1964 recording, but on the other hand there are plenty of records with him singing around. This gives listeners a chance to hone in on his dexterous guitar skills, blending ragtime, folk, and blues, usually on guitar (though he plays banjo on a couple of songs, and harmonica on one). “Maple Leaf Rag” is a natural showcase for Davis’ talents, and “Candy Man,” which may be his most well-known song, is here presented without words, making for an interesting juxtaposition with more commonly heard versions on which he (or others) sings. As further evidence of his eclecticism, there’s a version of “United States March aka Soldier’s Drill” — not the best format for his strengths, certainly, but an illustration of his ability to adapt his style to unexpected material.

Track listing

Unless noted otherwise, all compositions are by Davis:

  1. “Maple Leaf Rag” (Scott Joplin) – 2:58
  2. “Slow Drag” – 2:27
  3. “The Boy Was Kissing the Girl (and Playing the Guitar the Same Time)” – 2:42
  4. “Candy Man” – 2:54
  5. “United States March” (Traditional) – 6:31
  6. “Devil’s Dream” (Traditional) – 3:50
  7. “The Coon Hunt” (Traditional) – 3:32
  8. “Mister Jim” – 4:15
  9. “Please Baby” – 3:18
  10. “Fast Fox Trot” – 2:22
  11. “Can’t Be Satisfied” – 2:55

 

Rev Gary Davis Van Gelder
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August 28 Music et al

August 28 Music et al

Wooden Heart

August 28 – September 3, 1961: based on a German folk song and made popular in the US by Elvis in the film G.I. Blues , “Wooden Heart” by Joe Dowell #1 Billboard Hot 100.

August 28 Music et al

Something for Everybody

August 28 – September 17, 1961, Elvis Presley’s Something for Everybody is Billboard #1 album. (see Dec 18)

August 28 Music et al

Bob Dylan

August 28, 1963: Bob Dylan and Joan Baez also perform at the King rally in Washington DC.  (see Oct 8)

The Beatles

1964 summer tour

August 28, 1964: Life magazine article reported that the Beatles’ 33-day tour of 23 American cities was a sell out at every location and was expected to gross millions. Beatles pandemonium at the time was such that some hotels along the tour route refused to house the Beatles, and Los Angeles’ Lockheed Airport forbade any Beatles plane from landing there for fear of screaming fans running on to the tarmac.

Bob Dylan and the Beatles meet

August 28 Music et al

August 28, 1964: The Beatles played a concert at New York’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. After the concert, the group was taken back to their suite at the city’s Hotel Delmonico. Journalist Al Aronowitz had came down from Woodstock, NY with his friend Bob Dylan, and brought him up to The Beatles hotel suite. John Lennon asked Dylan what he’d like to drink, and Dylan said “cheap wine.” (see Dylan/Beatles for more; Dylan, see January 20, 1965)

August 28 Music et al

Electric Dylan booed

August 28, 1965: (from The College of Rock and Roll Facebook page): Dylan kicked off his tour at NYC’s Forest Hills Tennis Stadium. This show is legendary, and for anyone who doubts that 1965 audiences heaped great scorn on Bob Dylan and his electric crew, all they need to do is listen to a a tape of the concert to hear the audience’s point of view. There was so much hostility directed toward the stage that it’s frightening. Coming as it does after the shocking Newport appearance with members of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the audience for the Forest Hills show pretty much knew what to expect, and the majority showed extreme displeasure during the electric half.

The first set, which was acoustic, was very well received. The crowd was quiet and respectful for the 45 minute opening set, which followed a typical top-40 disk jockey introduction more appropriate for a Dave Clark Five concert than a Bob Dylan concert. This show featured the debut of “Desolation Row”, from the Highway 61 album which was yet to be released (only a few days away, in fact). It’s a great performance and it went over very well with the crowd, who laughed appreciatively at the lyrics. It must have been amazing to sit there and hear a brand new masterpiece like “Desolation Row”.

After the well received acoustic half came to an end with “Mr. Tambourine Man”, the band set up for the second half. No doubt the crowd was gearing up for the hostility that was to follow. The crowd is so loud and belligerent at times that it becomes extremely hard to hear the music, but what can be heard is awesome. Levon lays down a muscular beat that drives the music forward and Robbie plays tough blues licks as only he can. Al Kooper pretty much plays the way only Al Kooper can. (see Aug 30)

August 28 Music et al

Beatles failed escape

August 28, 1966: nearing the end of their final tour of America, The Beatles performed one show at Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, before a crowd of 45,000. The Beatles’ attempt to escape from the stadium in an armored truck was thwarted when the main gate was found to be locked and The Beatles have to spend two hours in the back of the truck before they can leave the stadium. (see Aug 29)

August 28 Music et al

Dear Prudence

August 28, 1968: started recording a new John Lennon song ‘Dear Prudence’. They built the song instrument by instrument, utilizing the 8-track equipment at Trident. John and George played guitars, while Paul plays drums to compensate for Ringo, who had quit The Beatles on August 22. (see Sept 3)

August 28 Music et al
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August 13 Music et al

August 13 Music et al

Beatles Help!

August 13, 1965, The Beatles: US release of Help!.

  • Label: Capitol (US)
  • Recorded: 15–19 February, 13 April, 10 May & 14–17 June 1965
  • Released: 13 August 1965
  • Produced by George Martin and Dave Dexter, Jr.

Side one

  1. “Help!” (preceded by an uncredited instrumental intro)
  2. “The Night Before”
  3. “From Me to You Fantasy” (instrumental) (Lennon–McCartney; arranged by Thorne)
  4. “You’ve Got to Hide Your Love Away”
  5. “I Need You” (Harrison)
  6. “In the Tyrol” (instrumental) (Ken Thorne)

Side two

  1. “Another Girl”
  2. “Another Hard Day’s Night” (instrumental) (Lennon–McCartney; arranged by Thorne)
  3. “Ticket to Ride”
  4. Medley: “The Bitter End” (Ken Thorne)/”You Can’t Do That” (instrumental) (Lennon–McCartney; arranged by Thorne)
  5. “You’re Going to Lose That Girl”
  6. “The Chase” (instrumental) (Ken Thorne)

April 13 Music et al

While it may appear that the Beatles are holding out their arms in a semaphore-like manner to spell out the letters H E L P, they are actually spell out the letters N V U J.

August 13 Music et al

Beatles 1965 tour

August 13, 1965: The Beatles arrived at Kennedy International Airport for a tour of North America. The set list for the tour was ‘Twist and Shout’, ‘She’s a Woman’, ‘I Feel Fine’, ‘Dizzy Miss Lizzie’, ‘Ticket to Ride’, ‘Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby’, ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’, ‘Baby’s in Black’, ‘Act Naturally’, ‘A Hard Day’s Night’, ‘Help!’, and ‘I’m Down’ and ‘I Wanna Be Your Man.’ The tour was not a happy one for The Beatles, John Lennon took to screaming off-microphone obscenities at the audiences. [NYT article] (see Aug 14)

August 13 Music et al

see Rock Venues/Future Woodstock Performers for more

August 13, 1965: The Matrix, San Francisco, opened. Jefferson Airplane’s first show. (RV, see Oct 16; FWP, see October)

August 13 Music et al

Summer in the City

August 13 – September 2, 1966: “Summer in the City” by the Lovin’ Spoonful #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

August 13 Music et al

Beatle roast

August 13 Peace Love Activism

August 13, 1966: KLUE-AM of Longview, TX held the first of the “Beatles bonfires,” where ex-Beatle fans came to burn the groups’ records in protest to John’s Jesus statement.

In Cleveland, the Reverend Thurman H. Babbs, of the New Haven Baptist Church, called for the excommunication of all Beatles fans.

In an interesting twist, the morning after KLUE’s bonfire, the stations’s radio tower was struck by lightning, throwing the station off the air. (see Aug 23)

August 13 Music et al

Wonderland Pop Festival

August 13 – 14: Wonderland Pop Festival, Wonderland Gardens, London, Canada (see Wonderland for a bit more)

August 13 Music et al

The [bumpy] Road to Bethel

Wednesday 13 August 1969
  • nearly 30,000 people had already shown up for festival and are in the “bowl.” Bill Hanley pulled his sound truck into the service road behind the stage, plugged in some equipment to a portable amplifier and piped prerecorded music for the appreciative crowd.
  • staff technicians notice drop in water pressure throughout site. Audience members had accidentally stepped on and cracked plastic pipes. Repairs made.
  • John Roberts with his father and brother, arrived on site to discover that there are no ticket booths for the 30,000 people already on-site.
  • the suit against the festival withdrawn after a promise of police protection for the residents was agreed to.
  • it is discovered that the $200 an hour crane is trapped within its own construction of the pedestrian bridge over West Shore Road.
  • NYC Police Commissioner Howard Leary reminded all NYC police officers that “moonlighting” was strictly prohibited.
  • NY State Police “randomly” stop and frisk young people in cars at Harriman interchange on NY State Thruway. Drivers, passengers, and cars were checked for anything illegal. (see Chronology for complete Woodstock story)
August 13 Music et al
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