La Santa Cecilia: ‘We Are As American As Apple Pie And Tacos’

La Santa Cecilia. From left, Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez, Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, Alex Bendaña, Jose “Pepe” Carlos.

Humberto Howard/Courtesy of the artist



Grammy Award-winning group La Santa Cecilia takes its name from the Catholic saint of musicians. It’s a fitting moniker; as if by divine intervention, the members of the band — Marisol Hernandez, Jose “Pepe” Carlos, Miguel “Oso” Ramirez, and Alex Bendaña — found each other in the sprawl of Los Angeles.

“I met Pepe Carlos on Olvera Street,” lead singer Marisol “La Marisoul” Hernandez recalls. “I was busking with the older musicians — my teachers who I learned all that beautiful, traditional Latin-American music from — and Pepe was busking with his little brother on the other side of the street.”

They formed a connection, and years later Hernandez roped in her friend, Oso, along with Alex Bendaña, to create La Santa Cecilia, a band “where we could make our own music, write about our own experiences [and] experiment with our influences,” she says. Those influences were vast. They heard Mexican accordions and horns in mariachi bands and fused those sounds with bossa nova, jazz and pop.

They came together to act on their individual, forward-thinking visions.

Some of that fusion is showcased on the centerpiece of the band’s self-titled album, out on Oct. 18. The song, “I’ve Been Thinking,” is about a shared, tragic experience.


“Oso, Alex, and I lost our fathers at different times,” Hernandez says. “It was a very big, big, big blow to the band and to us personally. We were all very close to our fathers, and I don’t know if I could go through this without my bandmates. I feel like this united us even more and we needed to write something and let out these feelings.”

La Santa Cecilia’s members have also all been affected to some degree by the recent political climate and the debate surrounding immigration.

Still, for Hernandez, the band’s political messaging brims with hope.

“In La Santa Cecilia, we will always continue to raise, with pride, our flag of love, of where we come from: of being Mexican American, of being from Latin America and being born here in the United States,” Hernandez says. “And whether people like it or not, we are as American as apple pie and tacos.”

Ginger Baker, Superstar Rock Drummer With Cream, Is Dead at 80 ~ NYT

Credit George Stroud/Express, via Getty Images




Ginger Baker, who helped redefine the role of the drums in rock and became a superstar in the process, died on Sunday in a hospital in southeastern England. He was 80.

His family confirmed his death in a post on his official Twitter account.

Mr. Baker drew worldwide attention for his approach to the drums, as sophisticated as it was forceful, when he teamed with the guitarist Eric Clapton and the bassist Jack Bruce in the hugely successful British band Cream in 1966.

[Listen to 15 of Ginger Baker’s essential songs.]

Keith Moon of the Who was more uninhibited; John Bonham of Led Zeppelin — a band formed in 1968, the year Cream broke up — was slicker. But Mr. Baker brought a new level of artistry to his instrument, and he was the first rock drummer to be prominently featured as a soloist and to become a star in his own right. Mr. Clapton praised him as “a fully formed musician” whose “musical capabilities are the full spectrum.”

Both as a member of the ensemble and as a soloist, Mr. Baker captivated audiences and earned the respect of his fellow percussionists with playing that was, as Neil Peart, the drummer with the band Rush, once said, “extrovert, primal and inventive.” Mr. Baker, Mr. Peart added, “set the bar for what rock drumming could be.”

She Can Make That Guitar Talk ~ NPR

September 24, 201910:09 AM ET

Sister Rosetta Tharpe on tour in the U.K. in 1964.Tony Evans/Timelapse Library Ltd/Getty Images 

The country’s most distinguished gospel artist, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, arrived in Washington, D.C., to perform a sold-out concert. Sister Tharpe spoke to your reporter before her sold-out concert, sitting on her customized tour bus parked outside the venue. The bus — which Sister Thorpe believes is the first of its kind! — is emblazoned with the words SISTER ROSETTA THARPE – DECCA RECORDING ARTIST, painted in a bright and distinctive blue script along the side of the bus.

Sister Tharpe and her backing singers, the Rosettes, welcomed your reporter into the bus’ interior. Inside, there are dedicated areas for dressing, eating, and sleeping. The Rosettes eagerly pointed out their dedicated sections of the bus, each featuring a closet and dressing area — no one has to share! Sister Tharpe noted that the line of mirrors running along one side of the bus, to be used for hair and makeup, was inspired by the mirrors installed in the luxurious Richmond, Va. home she shares with her singing partner, “Golden Voice Favorite” Madame Marie Knight, a young singer who was discovered by Sister Tharpe, as well as her mother, Katie Bell Nubin, a noted evangelist from the Church of God In Christ, who got her start at Pastor Robert’s Chicago church.

The atmosphere inside the bus is charming and convivial. But its main purpose is an essential one: It assures that the ladies always have a comfortable and discreet place to prepare for their performances; they artists are able to dine in the bus, allowing them to carry-out food and not waste any time on the road. And the sleeping quarters conveniently allow the ensemble the ability to rest while traveling between concert appearances, especially in parts of the country where no suitable accommodation may be available.

When the troupe arrives at their destination they are met by large, sold out crowds. At a recent concert in Macon, Ga., Abner Jay, a disc jockey on local station WMAZ described the scene: “5,000 tickets were sold, that was the seating capacity. It’s estimated that they turned down 6,000. I had never seen nothing like it or heard nothing like it. Downtown near the auditorium the whole streets were full of people, no cars. People — standing room only — trying to get to the auditorium two and three blocks away. I never seen nothing like it, nowhere.”


While the information above is correct and documented in interviews with people who were there (like the Jordanaires’ Gordon Stoker, who toured with Rosetta Tharpe in the time period she had her bus) published in the late ’40s and early ’50s, this article itself is pure invention — nothing quite like it exists in any historical newspaper archive. It’s hard to comprehend that a successful singer with a truly national profile would be driving through American cities and along highways in a personalized tour bus of her own design — likely the first documented instance of what would become a music business necessity as well as a highly sought-after status symbol for musicians in every genre — without dozens of breathless articles capturing every fabulous detail of the musicians’ surroundings, down to the quality of the finishes. The on-the-bus-with-the-musicians trope would become almost standard in artist profiles 20 years later.

Part of Turning The Tables is reflecting back on the originators, the women who defined the sound of popular music, who didn’t get sufficient credit when they were working and, in many cases — Rosetta Tharpe being high on that list — have not received anywhere near enough credit from researchers, scholars and archivists. She only made it into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018, decades after many musicians who were directly influenced by her were inducted into their rolls.

But let’s imagine a world in which the opposite was true, and she was given her propers.

John Coltrane Took a Detour in 1964. Now It’s a New Album.

“Blue World,” culled from the sessions the saxophonist led for a film soundtrack, is a moment of looking back before he pushed even further ahead.


Credit Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


John Coltrane’s creative flame was burning at its brightest in 1964. The saxophonist had recently let go of his fixation on complex, layered harmonies, and he would soon pioneer a dry, squalling approach to group improvisation — nearly abandoning Western harmony altogether, and changing the course of jazz history.

Amid the transition, that year he recorded what would be his two most potent albums, “Crescent” and “A Love Supreme.” These works thrive at the crossroads: They are in touch with the driving, cohesive sound that his so-called classic quartet had established, but push into a blazing beyond.

Yet history is not this simple. Even for Coltrane — a symbol of tireless creative momentum, who is said to have never stopped hurtling forward — detours came up.

That spring, Coltrane was approached by Gilles Groulx, a young Canadian filmmaker at work on his first feature, “Le Chat dans le Sac.” Groulx asked his musical hero to record the film’s soundtrack, and to his surprise, Coltrane said yes.

Gospel Queen On The King’s Highway

The power and the glory of Mahalia Jackson

Mahalia Jackson sings at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1957. Mary Lou Williams heard her there and said she felt “cold chills run up and down my spine.”

Bob Parent/Getty Images 


Pope John XXIII said such nice things to her. The National Baptist Convention was no less captivated, as were the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and a host of black and white bishops and preachers and worshippers worldwide. The King and Queen of Denmark wanted more. So did the Empress of Japan, four U.S. presidents, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, broadcaster Studs Terkel, the City of New Orleans, Ed Sullivan and James Baldwin, among others. But for musicians, the best compliments come from other musicians and no one could praise Mahalia Jackson the way that the jazz pianist and composer Mary Lou Williams did at the 1957 Newport Jazz Festival. Williams heard Jackson sing there and said, “That goddamn woman makes cold chills run up and down my spine.”

Early Access

“She precedes Sam Cooke and Aretha Franklin,” says music historian Mark Burford, who specializes in 20th Century African-American music at Reed College. His 2019 book, Mahalia Jackson and the Black Gospel Field, re-examines years of scholarship and common assumptions about Jackson, who he believes had a lot to do with why “gospelized voices have become the lingua franca of popular culture.”

Gospel greats Cooke and Franklin expanded their appeal across the color divide when they transitioned to pop music in 1957 and 1960 respectively — without ever fully closing the door on the church. But Jackson introduced herself to white mainstream listeners singing the same songs she would have sung at many a black religious service. Exposing new audiences — virtually anyone with a radio or a television set — to what thousands of Baptist, African Methodist Episcopal and Sanctified congregations heard at church every week made Jackson “a cutting edge model for gospel in the early 1950s,” Burford says. Of course, white Pentecostal worshippers at the time were well acquainted with ecstatic revival singing, he adds. But those styles weren’t the same as Jackson’s operatic runs, moans, note-bending and interpolations.

~~~  CONTINUE  ~~~

Overlooked No More: Robert Johnson, Bluesman Whose Life Was a Riddle

Johnson gained little notice in his life, but his songs — quoted by the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelin — helped ignite rock ‘n’ roll.

Credit© 1986 Delta Haze Corporation. All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission.




Little about the life Robert Leroy Johnson lived in his brief 27 years, from approximately May 1911 until he died mysteriously in 1938, was documented. A birth certificate, if he had one, has never been found.

What is known can be summarized on a postcard: He is thought to have been born out of wedlock in May 1911 in Mississippi and raised there. School and census records indicated he lived for stretches in Tennessee and Arkansas. He took up guitar at a young age and became a traveling musician, eventually glimpsing the bustle of New York City. But he died in Mississippi, with just over two dozen little-noticed recorded songs to his name.

And yet, in the late 20th century, the advent of rock ’n’ roll would turn Johnson into a figure of legend. Decades after his death, he became one of the most famous guitarists who had ever lived, hailed as a lost prophet who, the dubious story goes, sold his soul to the devil and epitomized Mississippi Delta blues in the bargain.

In the late 1960s, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Led Zeppelincovered or adapted Johnson’s songs in tribute. Bob Dylan, who, in the memoir “Chronicles: Volume One,” attributed “hundreds of lines” of his songwriting to Johnson’s influence, included a Johnson album as one of the items on the cover of “Bringing It All Back Home.”

Rō’bear Re’por going to the dark side

Unknown.pngDear Readers

Rō’bear is going to the Dark side for a few weeks beginning Sept. 14th. Traveling south to check out rumors of a Deep State in the Central Andes along with some fly fishing and of course observance of the daily Pisco Hour.  He will procure assistance from local personas de mala reputación y conferencistas invitados residing in Rio Blanco, Portillo & Papudo Chile  …  then hopefully return with a few stories early October to share with rŌbert devotees.

While the jefe is visiting the Dark Side you can go to the bottom of each page in the Re’por to Older Posts which will take you back in time to past stories from the bad old days.

“It’s the truth even if it didn’t happen”  Ken Kesey


The Management


Country Music, A Film by Ken Burns


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Country Music: Live at the Ryman Concert

Join celebrated musicians for Country Music: Live at the Ryman , A Concert Celebrating the Film by Ken Burns. Hosted by Burns and featuring performances and appearances by Dierks Bentley, Rosanne Cash, Rhiannon Giddens, Vince Gill, Kathy Mattea, Marty Stuart, Dwight Yoakam and more.

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About the Film

Tune in or Stream Sunday, September 15 at 8/7c

Explore the history of a uniquely American art form: country music. From its deep and tangled roots in ballads, blues and hymns performed in small settings, to its worldwide popularity, learn how country music evolved over the course of the 20th century, as it eventually emerged to become America’s music. Country Music features never-before-seen footage and photographs, plus interviews with more than 80 country music artists. The eight-part 16-hour series is directed and produced by Ken Burns; written and produced by Dayton Duncan; and produced by Julie Dunfey.

Country Music explores questions –– such as “What is country music?” and “Where did it come from?“–– while focusing on the biographies of the fascinating characters who created and shaped it — from the Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers and Bob Wills to Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Loretta Lynn, Charley Pride, Willie Nelson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, Garth Brooks and many more — as well as the times in which they lived. Much like the music itself, the film tells unforgettable stories of hardships and joys shared by everyday people.

No one has told the story this way before.

~~~ CHECK IT OUT  ~~~


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‘Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice’ Review: And What a Voice It Is ~ New York Times

The career of a vocalist who sang every kind of song that’s ever been made.

Credit Greenwich Entertainment
Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice
Directed by Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman

If you were listening to the radio in the mid-1970s — AM or FM; pop, country, R&B or AOR — at some point you were probably listening to Linda Ronstadt.

Kids these days, with their curated playlists and SoundCloud streams, may not understand what it was like back then. A lot of music was never heard on the radio at all, while certain songs and artists made up a communal soundtrack that transcended genre and individual taste. Maybe you thought Ronstadt’s chart-topping cover of “You’re No Good” wasn’t all that great, but its organ riff and declamatory chorus probably settled into your ears anyway, and more than 40 years later you’re likely to remember it as a classic.

Ronstadt was an unavoidable presence — not only on the airwaves but also on television talk shows and magazine covers. (Those things were also a much bigger deal back then, but I’ll stop with the Gen-X Grandpa Simpson routine.) She didn’t write her own songs, but she owned the ones she performed with rare authority. In “Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice,” a new documentary by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman, someone uses the word “auteur” to describe Ronstadt’s relationship to her material, and it doesn’t seem exaggerated. Her versions of songs by Warren Zevon, Lowell George and Kate and Anna McGarrigle (to name just a few) still sound definitive.

Not All ‘Lost’ Jazz Albums Are Created Equal ~ NPR

John Coltrane performs with drummer Elvin Jones and saxophonist Eric Dolphy in 1961. Impulse! Records is set to release the “lost” Coltrane album Blue World on Sept. 27.

Bill Wagg/Redferns/Getty Images



Historians and critics have pored over the recordings of these jazz greats like Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Stan Getz so exhaustively, it might feel like they’ve left no stone unturned. And yet, fans are seeing a slew of exciting new discoveries lately from these and other artists — so-called “lost” albums by some of the biggest names in jazz.

“For jazz historians and record producers, the work never finishes,” Nate Chinen of Jazz Night in America and NPR member station WGBO says. “There’s always another lead to be pursued, another corner to be explored and when we think we know everything about an artist … There’s often something else that we hadn’t considered.”

In addition to that air of exploration, Chinen says that the jazz industry has “commercial motivation” to pump out such albums and cites the 2018 album Both Directions at Once: The Lost Album, released via Impulse! Records, which sourced material from John Coltrane’s 1963 sessions and reference tapes as a shining example. “It sold over a quarter of a million copies.”

Later this month, Impulse Records! will release another album, Blue World, composed of Coltrane recordings from 1964 that were originally intended for a film score.

“Coltrane recorded this music for a film in Montreal,” Chinen says. “It’s a cornerstone of the Québécois film movement. But outside of that movement, it hasn’t been all that widely seen. So, the film historians and the jazz scholars didn’t connect the dots here and because the music wasn’t catalogued by the label it fell into this kind of blindspot.”

A new record of Miles Davis’ lost recordings called Rubberband was just released via Rhino Records. The album features Davis recordings from 1985 with contemporary touches. Vocalist Ledisi is featured on the track “Rubberband of Life.” It’s because of these contemporary aspects that Chinen doesn’t truly consider this a “lost” album.

“We have to sort of raise an eyebrow at that term here because there’s no way Miles would have envisioned this album because, I mean, Ledisi wasn’t recording music in 1985,” he argues. “The sound is clearly something from our time, not his. So is it a lost album? I don’t know. But it is indisputably some music that Miles Davis made at an interesting moment and because he is who he is people will be interested to hear what this is all about.”

Getz At The Gate (Live) was released in May 2019 and encapsulates a performance from the late saxophonist Stan Getz that Chinen says offers a fresh perspective on Getz’s music legacy.

“When you think of Stan Getz, I think many people think of his bossa nova period,” Chinen says. “This was a live recording made in 1961, a few months before he began that journey with jazz samba. … He’s leading a fabulous band with Roy Haynes on drums. He’s swinging so hard on the bandstand and so, you have this document of another side of Getz.”

Chinen counts these unearthed live jazz performances as “an area where the windfall just keeps coming.”

“We’ve seen so many live recordings that become cherished albums now that weren’t originally conceived as albums,” Chinen says. “It’s all to the better, I think.”