Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Mystery of the Phantom Amp

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by The Angle, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Holic

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    Well, for all intensive purposes, the amp might as well be a Supro. (I have no idea what that means.)
     
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  2. BigDaddyLH

    BigDaddyLH Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Now I'm chomping at the bit to try one!
     
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  3. King Creole

    King Creole Friend of Leo's

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    I want Oliver Stone to make a movie about this amp.
     
  4. Mouth

    Mouth Tele-Holic

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    This thread literally blows me away.

    Perhaps it was the minkey.

    SmartSelectImage_2019-04-15-04-09-13.png
     
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  5. Flaneur

    Flaneur Friend of Leo's

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    I never overlook the opportunity to post this...

    Muddy-Waters_Manchester-1964-web-optimised-1000.jpg
     
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  6. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    It's a comb-over, mon ami Canadien. Imagine Brylcreem-smoothed linguine striping sun-spotted scalp beneath. Then add whatever hats I find beneath the porch. And voila! The tinfoil crown has a rest. I'll catch up with Jupiter's messages the next time my Mercury starts.

    I graded 60 punctuation quizzes today. After 10 weeks of work, and many coaxing threats from my "hair," the frosh scored a resounding...22%.

    Sister Rosetta needs to come back and stone us all into sense.
     
  7. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    One semester, my college roommate was the school's hockey goalie. He was renown for medicating shots to his head with shots at the bar. When he heard me listening to a compilation LP of Sister Rosetta and other gospel goddesses, he said, "You keep listening to all that African stuff and your grammar ain't gonna be so head nacho after all."
     
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  8. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    The first picture of a black hole reaches Earth.
    At the same time...
    An amp mystery erupts on TDPRI re: a Sister Rosetta concert from 1964.

    Coincidence?

    Tell THAT to the people of Mistake, Maryland, whydonchya?
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
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  9. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Holic

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    The thread title sounds like a Nancy Drew book.
     
  10. tvas22

    tvas22 TDPRI Member

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    There’s one that’s a wider frame image that’s also more of a sepia tone on the official Facebook page that uses the non-vox version, but from looking at other images it seems clear to me that the vox must be the original amp... if you search the image the cleaner pics all have the vox.

    It also looks like the identical version of the picture is maybe a composite image, because on all the wider cropped pics she’s looking left on one and right on another.

    My hunch is that a different company (maybe Gibson) used that image as promotional material at some point at just wanted the vox replaced with something that looked generic.

    Or maybe vox promised some cash or a sponsorship type deal that they didn’t deliver on, and her team liked the image but didn’t want to give them the free advertising. I’m really thinking it was retouched a long time ago, and probably had something to do with money.
     
  11. guitartwonk

    guitartwonk Tele-Meister

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    Yep, it definitely ain't a Supro. I thought maybe Selmer, but the font is wrong. It could almost say Squier, but I don't think there were any Squier branded amps in 1964.

    I think we can safely say it's been "edited" though.

    If it were part of a Gibson promo photo, why would they go out of their way to make the amp look generic when the same amount of work could be used to show a Gibson amp?

    A Google search of "guitar amps available in 1964 with front controls" didn't yield any useful results either. This is really gonna bug me until I find out what it is...

    Sent from my Phone using Tapatalk
     
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  12. Paul-T

    Paul-T TDPRI Member

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    I wrote a story on Sister rosetta last spring and interviewed people like Johnny Hamp plus folk in the audience including Brian Smith, who took several famous photos and was at the Free Trade Hall show that night, plus David Lunt, a musician and writer who is the one actually rescued the Granada footage. He specifically picked out that "she got a tremendous sound because she was playing through an AC30".

    The 'Supro' is interesting, but I would be very surprised if Muddy or a musician brought amps with him. They were playing in Germany too, so it was a big tour, but it would be pretty much unthinkable for a US musician to bring an amp with them. I can't remember if the British Musicians Union were still banning american musicians (they generally came over as 'entertainers') but every other chicago musician would use British amps for British tours.

    I think those photos are Brian Smith's and don't remember ever seeing that amp. I will ask him.

    Finally, Muddy Waters would never pull a knife on anyone. Never.
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
  13. tvas22

    tvas22 TDPRI Member

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    That's a good point, but I meant more that maybe Gibson used the image more recently after they had moved away from the amp game rather than it being shot for them. Maybe it wouldn't have been in line with their strategy?

    I went down the "Woolworth's"/Sears MIJ route but couldn't find anything that look similar. I don't know if this is too early for that though?

    While it definitely does have an air of a Soviet-era retouching... if it's a real amp, could it be something other than a guitar amp? Did anyone make combo-style mic or bass amps that could fit around that era?

    The thing that stands out is the lack of anything on the left side of the control panel... If the input was on the right I would have expected to see a pilot light or switch on the left. Maybe input is on the back?
     
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  14. Mike Eskimo

    Mike Eskimo Doctor of Teleocity Ad Free Member

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    The “Muddy pulls a knife on Sonny Boy for pestering Sister Rosetta” story has been widely reported.

    You say no, others say yes.

    Keith Richards says he was doing work and painting around Chess when the Stones first went to the studios in Chicago.

    Others say no way.

    I immersed myself in “scholarly pursuit of the blues” for 5-6 years and I came away with far less than when I just listened to the music and watched the scant footage of the greats.
     
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  15. kafka

    kafka Tele-Afflicted

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  16. Paul-T

    Paul-T TDPRI Member

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    That's a good example of yet another story that doesn't stand up to cursory scrutiny. Bill Wyman and Phil Chess who were both on that first Chess trip say it didn't happen - and wouldn't have happened. Keith is a lovely guy but he can't remember who played drums on the Stones' debut gig.

    Muddy was a proud character, who stood on dignity and didn't brandish knives nor did you see him in paint-spattered overalls, no matter what memories some romantic imaginations inspire.


    Note, Sister Rosetta wasn't on the Folk Blues tour that year.Although Rosetta shared a bill with RIce Miller later in the year, I don't believe she, Muddy and Miller were ever on the same bill, let alone on tour together. Do tell me where the knife story comes from please - where did you hear it?


    Edit: just emailed Brian Smith. He has a couple of photos of Rosetta from that event, but the main ones are all by Granada's staff photographer. He remembers the AC30 and had never seen the 'new' photo, which is surely a photoshop which we speculate must've been made by someone trying to make up provenance for selling a dodgy old amp!
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
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  17. suave eddie

    suave eddie Tele-Afflicted

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    So it seems pretty obvious that there is a doctored photo. The bizarre question is why?
    I was doing a Google image search thinking maybe I could find the original source of that photo (the one with the non-Vox amp). It shows up everywhere. I ran across some blog where there were several comments like "wow look at that funky amp".
    The whole thing is weird. Why would anyone go to the trouble to alter that photo?
     
  18. Manual Slim

    Manual Slim Tele-Afflicted

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    Posterity. Look at all the action stirred up over that alteration! That’s one hell of a legacy.
     
  19. Norris Vulcan

    Norris Vulcan Tele-Meister

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    I predict 'Sister Rosetta Tharpe', 'Supro Amplifier' and 'Guitar amplifier 1964' to be reaching the top of Google's search list any time now....

    I love the bit in the "Didn't It Rain" video where she cuts loose a bit and then says "Not bad for a woman"...
     
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  20. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Meister

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    I've done my bit to elevate those searches.

    I've looked for the logos of every tiny, mom-and-pop electronics shop in England in the early 60s, and nothing resembles the badge on that mystery amp without an excessive amount of squinting. Like others, I suspect the photo was doctored purely to remove the Vox and replace it with something unidentifiable. Why? I have no idea, although "money" is a solid conjecture. Even if that were the case, it would have been simpler to just ink out the Vox logo and not slice in a caricature of an entire, anonymous amp.

    The British are weird. :)
     
    Last edited: Apr 16, 2019
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