Rock ‘n’ roll was bred between the church and the nightclubs in the soul of a queer black woman in the 1940s named Sister Rosetta Tharpe. She was there before Elvis, Little Richard and Johnny Cash swiveled their hips and strummed their guitars. It was Tharpe, the godmother of rock ‘n’ roll, who turned this burgeoning musical style into an international sensation.
Perhaps it’s no surprise that Tharpe was always surrounded by music growing up. Born Rosetta Nubin in Arkansas to Willis Atkins and Katie Bell, Tharpe came from a family of religious singers, cotton pickers and traditional evangelists. She picked up the guitar at four years old, and at the age of six she accompanied her mother to perform with a travelling evangelist troupe in churches around the South. By the mid-1920s, Tharpe and her mother settled in Chicago, where they continued performing spiritual music. As Tharpe grew up, she began fusing Delta blues, New Orleans jazz and gospel music into what would become her signature style.
Although Tharpe’s distinctive voice and unconventional style attracted fans, it was still the mid-1930s. Female guitarists were rare, and even more so was a musician who pursued both religious and secular themes, a fact that alarmed the gospel community. But Tharpe — young and innovative — was determined to keep experimenting with her sound. Her persistence and grit paid off, and by 1938, she had joined the Cotton Club Revue, a New York City club that became especially notable during the Prohibition era. She was only 23 at the time, a feat that was only amplified when she scored her first single, “Rock Me,” a gospel and rock ‘n’ roll fusion, along with three other gospel songs: “My Man and I,” “That’s All” and “Lonesome Road.”
Banny Price made his living as a singer/guitarist in and around Shreveport, Louisiana where he was born. Although nothing was released, his first recording sessions were for Myra Smith’s local Ram records in the early 60s.
In 1963/4 Price went to the famous Robin Hood Brians Studios, just across the border into Tyler, TX for a recording session under producer Ken Demary. The tracks Price cut included the fine deep soul track “There Goes The Girl” and the exciting horn led instrumental “Monkey See – Monkey Do” which has become a firm favourite with R & B dancers all over the world. These tracks were first issued as Jewel 733 by Stan Lewis, the main music man in Shreveport, in October 1964. And although the 45 sank without trace, it didn’t stop Price making another trip to Tyler, TX this time with Dale “Suzie-Q” Hawkins. The top side of Jewel 749, which appeared the following year, was a version of the B B King song “You Know I Love You” but the flip, “You Love Me Pretty Baby” is the track that everybody wants to own. This is a rousing piece of minor keyed R&B with Price’s guitar showing some excellent Otis Rush styled licks and his tough vocals hitting just the right spot.
Charles ‘Chick’ Ganimian (1926-1988), was an Armenian-American professional musician and singer known for his virtuosity on the oud. Ganimian played the music of Anatolia, Turkey, and Armenia.
Ganimian was born in 1926 in Troy, N.Y., to Armenian parents who had emigrated from Marash, Turkey in 1922. In his home, he heard the music of the “old country” performed by his father, Nishan, an amateur oud player and singer. Since the family spoke both Armenian and Turkish at home, Chick became fluent in both languages. The basic repertoire he used throughout his career was molded by the music he heard and learned in his youth. Major influences were his father, Oudi Hrant Kenkuloglu, and Oudi Yorgo Bacanos. When he was ten, he studied the violin, attaining some skill on the instrument. When he was seventeen, the family moved to Washington Heights, N.Y..