Sister Rosetta Tharpe and the Mystery of the Phantom Amp

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

  1. Bergy

    Bergy Tele-Meister

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  2. Ben Bishop

    Ben Bishop Tele-Meister

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    In the 60's the British duties on American products was still quite high. That is why, for example, that Marshall could start on a small scale against the production line Fender amps. It wasn't until the Beatles visited the United States that they picked up Epiphone and Gretsch guitars; they had used Hofner and Burns and the like. Brian Jones played a Vox guitar even though the heroes of the Stones played Fenders and Gibsons. The backline available for the tour would have been British and European like Vox and Selmer. The mics had no long booms so to sing and play guitar Sister Rosetta (and others I'm sure) would have worn a lavalier mic. They were too large and heavy in those days to be supported by a collar clip; they were omnis worn around the neck. In England for many years PA speakers were known generically as tannoys; Celestion made only low power-handling speakers. For portable use you'd have a column of six or eight speakers that could only handle voice. There were no monitors; to sing harmony singers would stand close to each other and often stop one ear so they could hear themselves. My own first amp was wood-fired but I soon stepped up to coal. And, yes, it was uphill both ways to school.
     
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  3. guitartwonk

    guitartwonk Tele-Meister

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    Kids these days don't know they've been born, eh?

    That's a great point about duty on US made equipment. Evans are an American company. So, possibly Sister Rosetta had a sponsorship deal with them but couldn't use an Evans on the UK dates so used a Vox instead. Then, to "honour" the sponsorship deal with Evans, the photo was amended for Promo purposes...?

    Either way, it would be great to hear back from Evans to see if they have some insight. I'm sure there's an intriguing story behind it somewhere.

    Sent from my Phone using Tapatalk
     
  4. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    Still no reply from Evans. I’m going to try again.
     
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  5. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Where do you get this stuff?

    Before he got the toilet-seat-shaped Vox, Jones had a Harmony Stratotone and a Gretsch Double Anniversary.
     
  6. 41144

    41144 Tele-Holic

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    I have no idea where you got this from but it is incorrect.
    Yes they had used many makes but... Both John and George were playing Gretsch guitars before they even recorded a track, let alone went to the States. eg There is a famous story of George in, I think, 1962, going to buy a Strat only to find it already sold and hence buying his black Dou Jet.
    Yes, there were issues with USA imports being particularly expensive, as they still are imho, but unseen/unobtainable back then... No!
     
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  7. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    Uh, John's was a Rickenbacker not a Gretsch. But George had at least three Gretsches before they came to America - the black Duo-Jet, a Country Gentleman, and a Tennesseean.
     
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  8. 41144

    41144 Tele-Holic

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    Of course, thanks :cool:
     
  9. Geoff738

    Geoff738 Poster Extraordinaire

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    I think the chances if that being an Evans are about zero. It looks vaguely the same. But the logo definitely looks pasted/shopped in.

    Again why? And if you were gonna do that why not do it clearly enough to see what you’d spent all that clever effort on?

    I will agree this’s is a weird one. And one of the most entertaining threads perhaps ever on this ole 16 years and counting interwebs thing.

    Will we get to the bottom of this haystack?

    I wouldn’t bet on it but we have some pretty good sleuths on here and a lot of accumulated knowledge so I wouldn’t bet against it either.

    And thanks to the the eagle eye of the OP for noticing this after 50 years, or to quote what his avatar may have sung: the train kept a Rollin.

    Ok, ok. Didn’t make total sense but it’s late. There was a train station, if not a train. And bourbon. Not a lot. But enough. And there’s some crazy creature chirping up a storm in the back. Anybody here know Dave Hunter? He’d be a good amp guy to ask about this.

    Cheers,
    Geoff
     
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  10. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    Ok. The mystery is solved. I have to wait a couple of days to let the person who knows do the reveal but if they haven't done it by then, I'll do it. :)
     
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  11. Mexitele Blues

    Mexitele Blues Tele-Meister

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    The suspense is killing me.
     
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  12. guitartwonk

    guitartwonk Tele-Meister

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    Me too. We need to know this.

    Sent from my Phone using Tapatalk
     
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  13. The Angle

    The Angle Tele-Meister

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    "I see you shiver with antici . . .
     
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  14. Torren61

    Torren61 Tele-Afflicted

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    I was gonna wait a bit longer for a person to call me and they didn't so I'm just gonna explain what this "mystery amp" is all about.

    Kudos to Walter Broes for identifying it as an Evans amp. Well done! Evans amps were started in 1962 and that amp could very well be an early model Evans amp. Sister Rosetta could have brought that amp from the US to the UK. There also could have been a Vox amp and the TV staging crew could have swapped out between the Evans and the Vox for whatever reason they might have had back in 1964.

    But that's not what happened. It IS an Evans amp but there was not an Evans amp on stage there in 1964.

    When I didn't get a reply to my inquiry through the Evans Amplifier contact page, I rang them. I was soon speaking to the wife of the owner. I told her about the "Mystery of the Phantom Amp". She had a laugh and explained to me that they had photoshopped in the Evans for an ad they were running. I never could find the ad, btw. She was going to have her husband call me and I invited him, through her, to come here and tell us all about it in order to satisfy our curiosity and have a laugh with us. He hasn't called yet.

    The mystery has been solved and I, for one, am a bit sad. I kinda liked the idea of something that was unsolvable.
     
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
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  15. guitartwonk

    guitartwonk Tele-Meister

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    Wow, it all makes sense now. And kudos to you for uncovering the mystery. Good work!

    Sent from my Phone using Tapatalk
     
  16. MattyK-USA

    MattyK-USA Tele-Afflicted Silver Supporter

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    Well, it's all a mute discussion now, anyway's.

    :)
     
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  17. Rev Rhythm

    Rev Rhythm Tele-Meister

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    I was wondering if it was for a defunct ad campaign. Great work solving the mystery!
     
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  18. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    It could of bin unsalved 4,like,ever, orwhatever. Yo. But; this dude toren62 fingered it' out .
     
  19. RoscoeElegante

    RoscoeElegante Friend of Leo's

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    All of which will unleash a Torrent of "How do I re-bias a 1964 Evans amp that burned itself to ashes in 1965?"-like questions.

    Which would be, of course, a thread that I'd read.
     
  20. dobrojoe

    dobrojoe Tele-Meister

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    Except, there wasn't any Photoshop in 1964. To do any such photomontage would have involved a large print, bleach and a real airbrush. Unlike Photoshop, it would have taken a skilled photo retoucher to do that work at considerable cost. Been there, done that. There was no internet back then either so the chances of being caught were much smaller. I'm not surprise that Mr Evans doesn't want to comment. He will probably be very ashamed.
     
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