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Denomination Blues

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Denomination Blues

"Denomination Blues"
Single by Washington Phillips
Format 10" 78rpm single
Recorded December 5, 1927; Dallas, TX
Genre Gospel blues
Length 3:07 + 2:40 = 5:47
Label Columbia 14333-D
Writer(s) Washington Phillips
Producer(s) Frank B. Walker [1]
Washington Phillips singles chronology
"Take Your Burden to the Lord and Leave It There" / "Lift Him Up That's All" "Denomination Blues Part 1" / "Denomination Blues Part 2" "Mother's Last Word to Her Son" / "Paul and Silas in Jail"
"That's All"
Single by Sister Rosetta Tharpe
A-side My Man and I
Format 10" 78rpm single
Recorded October 31, 1938; New York, NY
Genre Gospel
Length 2:34
Label Decca 2503B
Sister Rosetta Tharpe singles chronology
"The Lonesome Road" / "Rock Me" [2] "My Man and I" / "That's All"

"Denomination Blues" is a Into the Purple Valley.

In 1938, Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915–73) recorded a gospel version of the song (vocals and guitar) under the title "That's All".[5][6] She subsequently recorded several versions with orchestral accompaniment.

Contents

  • The songs 1
    • Denomination Blues 1.1
    • That's All 1.2
  • Recordings 2
    • Denomination Blues 2.1
    • That's All 2.2
  • References 3

The songs

Denomination Blues

Phillips' song is in two parts, occupying both sides of a 78rpm single (it is over five minutes long, and could not have fitted on a single side because of technical limitations). In 1928, it sold just over 8,000 copies; a considerable number at a time when a typical single by Bessie Smith, "The Empress of the Blues", sold around 10,000.[1]

The song is in strophic form: it consists of 17 verses sung to essentially the same music, all with a similar last line. In Part 1, Phillips gently mocks several Christian denominations for their particular obsessions (Primitive Baptists, Missionary Baptists, Amity Methodists, African Methodists, Holiness People, and Church of God); and in Part 2, several types of people he felt were insincere in their beliefs (preachers who want your money, preachers who insist that a college education is needed to preach the gospel, and people who "jump from church to church"). Phillips is known to have attended several churches of different denominations, and the lyrics likely reflect his personal experience.[1] His own faith was uncomplicated, as these extracts from the lyrics show:[7]

I want to tell you, an actual fact,
Every man don't understand the Bible alike,
But that's all, I tell you that's all,
But you'd better have Jesus, I tell you that's all.

Well, denominations have no right to fight,
They ought to just treat each other right. That's all.
...
You're fightin' each other, and think you're doing well,
And the sinners on the outside are going to hell. And that's all.
...
It's right to stand together, it's wrong to stand apart,
'Cause none's going to heaven but the pure in heart. And that's all.

The song appears to have been thereafter completely neglected until 1972, when Ry Cooder included a version (with verses omitted and rearranged) on his album Into the Purple Valley. It has since been covered several times. Many cover versions omit some of, or rearrange, or add to, or rewrite, Phillips' words; perhaps for artistic reasons, or perhaps to support the artist's own beliefs; sometimes contradicting the message Phillips had tried to convey. Some cover artists, negligently or otherwise, have claimed the song to be their own composition.

That's All

In 1938, Sister Rosetta Tharpe recorded a version of the song entitled "That's All" for Decca Records. She recorded four songs that day, the first gospel songs recorded by Decca; all were immediate successes.[8][9] The tune is similar to but not identical to Phillips'; the lyrics include some of Phillips' words (notably the striking phrase "educated fool", and the words "that's all" repeated at the end of each verse), but differ in several ways. That, and her choice of title, suggests that she may have learned the song through oral tradition rather than from Phillips' recording. In 1941, she re-recorded the song, accompanied by Lucky Millinder's Jazz Orchestra.[6] She continued to perform it throughout her career.

Although Tharpe's "That's All" had gained an independent life, the recording history suggests that it and Phillips' "Denomination Blues" have merged back into a single stream following Cooder's 1972 cover of the latter song; for example, The 77s' 1982 version uses both titles.

Recordings

Denomination Blues

  • 1927 – Washington Phillips, Columbia single [10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24][25][26]
  • 1969-74 – Perry Tillis [27]
  • 1972 – Ry Cooder,[28] on the album Into the Purple Valley
  • 1975 – Barry McGuire, 2nd Chapter of Acts and a band called David,[29] on the album To the Bride [30]
  • 1982 – The 77s, "Denomination Blues (That's All)" [31][32] on the album Ping Pong over the Abyss
  • 1992 – Marianne Antonsen,[33] on the album Pickin' Up the Spirit [34]
  • 1996 – Michael Hakanson-Stacy, "Denomination Blues, Pt. 2" [35] on the album Sanctuary Blues [36]
  • 1999 – Geoff Bartley,[37] on the album Hear That Wind Howl [38]
  • 2000 – The 77s, on the album Late
  • 2005 – Taylor Grocery Band,[39] on the album Taylor Grocery Band [40]
  • 2006 – Rodney Crowell,[41] on the album Voice of the Spirit, Gospel of the South [42]
  • 2008 – Buddy Greene,[43][44][45] on the DVD A Campfire Homecoming [46]
  • 2009 – Ashley Cleveland,[47] on the album God Don't Never Change [48]
  • 2010 – Blue Rhythm Boys,[49] on the album Come On If You're Comin' [50]
  • 2011 – Kenny Brown,[51] on the album Can't Stay Long [52]

That's All

  • 1938 – Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Decca single [53]
  • 1941 – Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Lucky Millinder's Jazz Orchestra, Decca single [6]
  • 1943 – Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Lucky Millinder's Jazz Orchestra (live) [6]
  • 1943 – Sister Rosetta Tharpe with (probably) Noble Sissle and His Orchestra (live) [6][54]
  • 2013 – Brick Fields and The Chosen Ones (feat. Rj Mischo), on the MP3 album Go Ahead and Sang the Blues [55]

References

  1. ^ a b c Corcoran, Michael (December 29, 2002). "Exhuming the Legend of Washington Phillips".  
  2. ^ "Decca 2000–2500 Numerical Listing". 78discography.com. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  3. ^ Sullivan, Steve (October 4, 2013). Encyclopedia of Great Popular Song Recordings, Volume 2.  
  4. ^ "Washington Phillips discography". wirz.de. Retrieved August 21, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Decca 2500–3000 Numerical Listing". 78discography.com. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1938–1949)". folkarchive.de. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Washington Phillips Lyrics". Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Sister Rosetta Tharpe Biography". biography.com. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  9. ^ McNeil, William K.; Buckalee, Terry. Sister Rosetta" Tharpe (1915–1973)""". encyclopediaofarkansas.net. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
  10. ^ George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  11. ^ Blind Willie Johnson / Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues, Composed by Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  12. ^ Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  13. ^ George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues, Composed by George Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  14. ^ George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues, Pt. 1, Composed by George Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  15. ^ George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues, Pt. 2, Composed by George Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  16. ^ George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues (Part 1) at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  17. ^ George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues (Part 2) at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  18. ^ Blind [sic] Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues, Pt. 1, Composed by Blind Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  19. ^ A.C. Forehand / Blind Mamie Forehand / George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues – Part 1 at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  20. ^ A.C. Forehand / Blind Mamie Forehand / George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues – Part 2 at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  21. ^ Denomination Blues Pt. 1 at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  22. ^ Denomination Blues Pt. 2 at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  23. ^ Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues, Pts. 1 & 2 [78rpm Version] at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  24. ^ Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues, Pt. 1 at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  25. ^ George Washington Phillips: Denomination Blues - Part 1 at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  26. ^ Washington Philips: Denomination Blues - Part 2 at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  27. ^ Perry Tillis: Denomination Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  28. ^ Ry Cooder: Denomination Blues, Composed by George Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  29. ^ Barry McGuire: Denomination Blues, Composed by George Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 212, 2015.
  30. ^ Barry McGuire: To the Bride at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  31. ^ The 77s: Denomination Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  32. ^ The 77s: Denomination Blues (That's All) at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  33. ^ Marianne Antonsen: Denomination Blues, Composed by George Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  34. ^ Marianne Antonsen: Pickin' Up the Spirit at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  35. ^ Michael Hakanson-Stacy: Denomination Blues, Pt. 2, Composed by Michael Hakanson-Stacy at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  36. ^ Sleger, Dave. Michael Hakanson-Stacy: Sanctuary Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  37. ^ Geoff Bartley: Denomination Blues, Composed by George Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  38. ^ Koda, Cub. Geoff Bartley: Hear That Wind Howl at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  39. ^ Taylor Grocery Band: Denomination Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  40. ^ Taylor Grocery Band: Taylor Grocery Band at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  41. ^ Rodney Crowell: Denomination Blues, Composed by Traditional at AllMusic. Retrieved August 2015.
  42. ^ Various Artists: Voice of the Spirit, Gospel of the South at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  43. ^ Bill Gaither / Buddy Greene / Jeff Taylor: Denomination Blues, Composed by Buddy Green at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  44. ^ Bill Gaither / Bill & Gloria Gaither / Bill & Gloria Gaither & Their Homecoming Friends / Buddy Greene / Jeff Taylor: Denomination Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  45. ^ Buddy Greene: Denomination Blues, Composed by Blind [sic] Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  46. ^ Bill Gaither: A Campfire Homecoming [DVD] at AllMusic. Retrieved Augist 21, 2015.
  47. ^ Ashley Cleveland: Denomination Blues, Composed by George Washington Phillips at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  48. ^ Stafford, Charity. Ashley Cleveland: God Don't Never Change at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  49. ^ Blue Rhythm Boys: Denomination Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 21, 2015.
  50. ^ "Come on If You're Comin: Blue Rhythm Boys". amazon.co.uk.  
  51. ^ Kenny Brown: Denomination Blues at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  52. ^ Kenny Brown: Can't Stay Long at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  53. ^ That's All – Sister Rosetta Tharpe at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  54. ^ Noble Sissle / Sister Rosetta Tharpe: That's All at AllMusic. Retrieved August 22, 2015.
  55. ^ "Brick Fields & The Chosen Ones". amazon.co.uk. Retrieved August 22, 2015. 
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