I was listening to public radio last night in the way back from the supermarket and wine store where I was picking up stuff for Shabbat kiddush (blessing over wine) and dinner when I heard a piece on the influence of gospel on blues. Not singing gospel, preaching it. The program was demonstrating how a great preacher, Rev. C. L. Franklin, who preached in the fifties, influenced Bobby Bland. Listening to the sound of,this man preaching was amazing.

This is not the cut from last night, but this is what he sounded like:


I'm not suggesting you worry about the content, just the sound and the delivery.

Some children grow up watching their fathers and trying to learn their lessons but don't do such a great job of it. Billy Graham begat Franklin Graham. George Romney begat Mitt Romney. Frank Sinatra begat Frank jr. George H. W. Bush begat George W. Bush, and Jeb Bush.

But what happens when someone growing up around a father like Rev. Franklin not only learns the lessons but inherits the talent?

The answer is that we get very, very lucky.


I'm writing this because of how much the first video says about where the second came from. You might question my choice of video here, but I was looking for an optimal time window, old enough to show experience but young enough to be at the height of power. This video nails that confluence.

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Comment by koshersalaami on November 6, 2016 at 12:44pm

In terms of audience response, yes, a large Black audience gives a reaction a whole lot more churchlike. And she does cut loose more. 

I listened to three performances. Maybe more. The first was her studio recording. The second was the Kennedy Center Honors performance for Carole King's induction, absolutely the biggest ovation of the night. And then I remembered the Murphy Brown performance and went back to listen. And that's where I learned that as good as her sheer power is, she's mesmerizing before she even gets there. The first note out of her mouth was Damn! and it wasn't loud at all.


One thing I can tell you from years of playing and listening is that drama doesn't come from power, or heavy metal would never be boring, which it frequently is. Drama comes from contrast. 

I saw Vladimir Horowitz, probably the best classical pianist in my lifetime, perform live twice. The most impressive thing about his playing was how much control he had while playing softly. 

I like that hat performance because it's intimate enough to really show subtlety but still shows what else she can do.

I'll give you an example of another artist who wrote a song that, in band performance, is one of the ultimate demonstrations of the power of contrast. Unfortunately, I don't find an embed code.



Comment by koshersalaami on November 6, 2016 at 12:51pm


when I first commented, I hadn't heard the second Bridge Over Troubled Waters. That is by far my favorite. If I'd found that performance, I would probably have used it.


Comment by Ron Powell on November 6, 2016 at 1:50pm

As I said earlir, "Aretha Franklin could "kick ass" singing at a,whisper in a New,York subway."

And yes its about contrast AND proper distribution of the audio throughout the venue.

You couldn’t get the embed code for the Springsteen video because the embed function had been disabled at the request of the owners of the rights to the Springsteen material.

Comment by Ron Powell on November 6, 2016 at 2:28pm

My favorite Horrowitz piece :

Comment by Ron Powell on November 6, 2016 at 2:38pm

And , of course:

Comment by koshersalaami on November 6, 2016 at 3:19pm

If you want to talk about proper distribution of audio through a venue, selling stuff that does that is most of what I do for a living. 

I think I've heard him do Traumerei, but I don't think the Moonlight. I've played the first movement of that.

a couple of days ago, I finally found tools and, with the help of my daughter and especially her boyfriend, got my Steinway up and playing. Loud in the room, though. I got that from my parents when I moved int a place I actually owned, because Mom didn't really play it. A little short of 6'. Originally 1906/7, reconditioned ca. 1970, not ivory keys when we got it in 70. 



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