Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Mystery of the Phantom Amp

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by The Angle, Apr 14, 2019 at 11:22 PM.

  1. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm gonna muddy the waters further. Here's a shot I found on Google images. Located to the right of the sack behind the basket where the SG was before she started playing is what appears to be the amp she played though, but it's neither the Vox nor the Supro in the photos posted above. At least I can't see any logos.
    [​IMG]
     
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  2. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    ...and yet here's another shot I found that clearly shows a Vox. Another discrepancy (or difference) between all these photos and the video of the performance is that the station platform is dry in the photos but wet from rain in the video.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 9:55 AM
  3. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    You can see the Vox grab handle.

    My theory (SWAG) :

    Two amps were used, one an AC30 and another was some Brit brand that none of us have identified yet ( which Muddy was also playing through in his clip)
     
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  4. TC6969

    TC6969 Friend of Leo's

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    They were on the same tour along with 5 or 6 others.

    That was where Muddy threatened to cut Sonny Boy Williamson "Wide open" if he shot his mouth off again around Sister Rosetta.

    "That woman is sanctified!"
     
  5. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    On that tour and among that crowd , there was Muddy , and then there was everybody else.

    What I mean is, they all respected him. Especially when he was holding a knife!

    And what the hell is there about genius harmonica players?

    Both Sonny Boy and Little Walter were complete train wrecks as human beings but were probably the two greatest blues harmonica players of all time.
     
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  6. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    In the first photo I posted Muddy is standing there in the dark coat and hat. When Muddy played he was on the opposite platform 'cos that's where the train pulled up and the audience got out walking all around him as he played.
     
  7. HoodieMcFoodie

    HoodieMcFoodie Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    I'm not sure if it's the Vox grab handle or writing on the sack beyond the amp. If only that guy wasn't sitting on the sack in my 2nd photo. If it's the Vox amp then it would have to be turned around facing into the sack by the basket as there are no distinguishing features visible from the face of a Vox amp (grille cloth / white piping etc.)
     
  8. jimash

    jimash Friend of Leo's

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    That is what I see in the song videos. Maybe she was just trying out the other amps.

     
  9. Chicago Matt

    Chicago Matt Friend of Leo's

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    Thanks for this, Big Bend. I'd never seen that particular clip of Sister Rosetta. Great, great, great!

    Oh, and at that time, as a point of interest, that SG was called a Les Paul Custom. It had a small plastic plate right at the end of the neck between it and the neck pickup with that designation. I owned one in the late 60's but sold it since it didn't stay in tune well. The neck was wobbly on those.
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 12:20 PM
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  10. bladeswitcher

    bladeswitcher TDPRI Member

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    Well, what do you know? That one definitely looks legit. I hereby retract my earlier statements.
     
  11. bumnote

    bumnote TDPRI Member

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    Multiple takes.
    I'm in the TV business and it's a common practice to record more than one take of everything you do...especially so in the days of film and video tape. I can all but guarantee that these different pictures are from different filmings of a performance or the grainier Supro pic could be from a rehearsal with the clearer Vox picture from the actual performance.
    The Vox picture isn't faked to me...if it is it's a damn good one to the point they even matched the shadows. Whether or not she's actually plugged into it, who knows.
    B9E2C7E1-D2DF-4F07-AA55-63F8A6C42B31.jpeg
    Vox was also a local brand in the U.K. so from a backup standpoint it's makes sense that the organizers of the show would have equipment that you'd be able to service with available parts and techs. US guitar gear still wasn't too common in the U.K. then, the import ban had only been lifted a few years by then.
    Also Jennings and Denny from Vox were tripping over themselves back then trying to get their equipment seen in the hands of performers...and US blues artists would have been definitely in their sights in mid-60's England. If you're Clapton, Richards, Green, etc and saw her or Muddy using that amp...it would make an impression.
     
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  12. bluzkat

    bluzkat Tele-Holic

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    For those interested in that guitar... it is not an SG, it is a Les Paul Custom (a '61 I believe). Back in the late '60s I was on the hunt for one and eventually found one in Minneapolis while visiting a friend in '71. I loved that guitar, but the neck was just too thin for me. It wound up with a friend of mine who played the hell out it (basically wore it out). My friend passed a couple of years back and the guitar was still in his possession. It was sold by his wife after his passing.
     
  13. guitartwonk

    guitartwonk Tele-Meister

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    Yeah man, I stand by my earlier analysis. There are two shots further up that are 100% identical apart from the amp, so if the Vox is legit then the Supro (or whatever it is) is not.


    Sent from my Phone using Tapatalk
     
  14. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    "[A] clapping clinic"! Nice! At a little gig I played last week, a beer-loosened attendee (and friend) was described by a bandmate as having "Tor Johnson's sense of rhythm" as he stomped along.

    For those of you more familiar w/ Charlie Watts than Tor....
     
  15. chezdeluxe

    chezdeluxe Poster Extraordinaire

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    Were Supros even imported into the UK at that time?

    An American Supro taken on the tour would need a step down transformer to handle the 240 / 110 volt issue.
     
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  16. scelestus

    scelestus TDPRI Member

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    I agree with Mike Eskimo and bumnote above, and I think at 2:44 in this video you can see the Vox side grab handles and white piping as well. The gold bit across the front isn't visible but I'd bet it's just not reflecting much. The piping and handles are much clearer, and the logo is horizontal and placed where a Vox logo would be.
     
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  17. SecretSquirrel

    SecretSquirrel Friend of Leo's Ad Free Member

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    Love the amp mystery. My guess is that the two amps were switched sometime during the day.

    I wouldn't mind!

    Does anyone know what happened to that guitar? Does it still exist?
     
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  18. suave eddie

    suave eddie Tele-Afflicted

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    How do you explain this then? Appears to be the exact same photo.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  19. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Meister

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    Which reinforces, to me, the idea that these still shots are from a rehearsal or sound check either the day before the performance or even the morning of. The rain fell just before the show began, which is why Sister Rosetta changed her first song to "Didn't It Rain." It may be that the producers decided to remove or hide the amp just because it clashed with the 'rustic' look they were trying to get with all those burlap bags and crates and rocking chairs and fake shutters on the train platform.

    As far as the eventual fate of her white guitar goes, here's what an article on Sister Rosetta in Premier Guitar (May 2011) had to say:
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2019 at 3:09 PM
  20. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Holic

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    I don't think it's a Supro.
     
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