Thursday, August 27, 2009


Originally uploaded by NoVARon
I recently had the pleasure, with another Washington area blues lover, Joe Kessler, to interview Memphis Gold for future publication. Before Joe got to the Ted's Montana Grill near the Ballston Metro stop in Arlington VA, Memphis was mentioning his background in the Church of God in Christ, including the fact his grandfather helped found the church and a good part of the interview involved growing up in the church, which hosted a month long convocation every November where such pioneers gospel artists like Arizona Dranes, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Utah Smith would be participating and stirring everybody with their music. I mentioned Utah Smith and Memphis both prior and during the taping of the interview launched into an exuberant "Two Wings," the song most associated with Utah Smith. Much is made of Memphis's association with another legend, Robert Wilkins, but simply hearing him sing a bit of "Two Wings," makes me realize how much of his music is rooted in the Church meetings he attended as a youth and how Utah Smith's music can be heard in Memphis Gold's exuberant blues today.

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