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Country Blues => Super Electrical Recordings! => Topic started by: jostber on March 14, 2008, 05:30:54 AM

Title: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on March 14, 2008, 05:30:54 AM
This seems like a great album by the wonderful Robert Wilkins:

http://www.allmusic.com/cg/amg.dll?p=amg&sql=10:kpfexqwgld0e

Sadly it is notoriously hard to find, been looking for it for sometime.

I have only heard Wilkins' classic pre-war songs. Any opinions on this record, or his other sessions from the 60's and 70's?




Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 14, 2008, 07:29:58 AM
Coincidently a couple of weeks ago I was having a discussion with Andy Cohen about his plans for release of a CD featuring the complete Dick Spottswood Wilkins recordings of which the Piedmont LP was only a fraction. Andy told me that despite a long gestation period it was hoped that released would be this year but not to hold him to it. :)

In the meantime I guess we just amuse ourselves at Stefan's Wilkin's discography...
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stuart on March 14, 2008, 08:29:45 AM
I have the Piedmont LP. Definitely worth owning if you're a Rev. Robert Wilkins fan. Hopefully Andy will re-release it sooner rather than later. Be patient. If you can find a reasonably priced used copy, pick it up, but don't overspend. A couple of the songs are also on "Remember Me."
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 14, 2008, 09:15:32 AM
When I bought the LP in about 1966 so hypnotic was Prodigal Son I almost played the track white to the exclusion of all else on the record. But I eventually grew up and grew out of it! ::)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 14, 2008, 10:55:52 AM
I thought folk might like to see the session details showing the original LP/CD releases. I hope the format doesn't get too screwed up.

V/g or -1 g solos.  Washington D.C. 13th & 16th February 1964

      Jesus will fix it alright             Piedmont LP 13162
      Thank you Jesus -1               Piedmont LP 13162
      Just a closer walk with Thee   Piedmont LP 13162
      Do Lord remember me            Piedmont LP 13162
      Here am I, send me               Piedmont LP 13162
      The prodigal son                   Piedmont LP 13162
      Jesus said if you go               Piedmont LP 13162
      I'm going home to my
                    Heavenly King -1   Piedmont LP 13162
      Old time religion                   Biograph LP 12027, CD 130
      I wish I was in Heaven          Biograph LP 12027, CD 130
      Holy Ghost train                   Biograph LP 12027
      The gamblin' man                 Biograph LP 12027
      Rock of ages                       Biograph CD 130
      When I lay my burden down   Biograph CD 130
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on March 14, 2008, 12:37:24 PM
Coincidently a couple of weeks ago I was having a discussion with Andy Cohen about his plans for release of a CD featuring the complete Dick Spottswood Wilkins recordings of which the Piedmont LP was only a fraction. Andy told me that despite a long gestation period it was hoped that released would be this year but not to hold him to it. :)

In the meantime I guess we just amuse ourselves at Stefan's Wilkin's discography...

This would be great! Thanks for the information.

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 14, 2008, 12:56:33 PM
Coincidently a couple of weeks ago I was having a discussion with Andy Cohen about his plans for release of a CD featuring the complete Dick Spottswood Wilkins recordings of which the Piedmont LP was only a fraction. Andy told me that despite a long gestation period it was hoped that released would be this year but not to hold him to it. :)

This would be great! Thanks for the information.
Here's an interesting part of what Andy told me which I hope he won't mind my passing on:

"We've collected some alternate contemporaneous material that duplicates the Biograph material, and Pete Kuykendall sent us some spoken word stuff.  We want to put that part out on a separate CD-R for scholars, with a long (65+) just-music CD that encompasses his re-emergence repertoire."

Kuykendall was the guy who recorded the session. Interestingly the person who mastered the original Piedmont LP was Peter Bartok son of the famous Hungarian composer, Bela.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: uncle bud on March 14, 2008, 01:03:25 PM
Looking forward to this. I'm sure Andy will sell numerous copies to Weenies if that's any encouragement! Wilkins' material from these recordings is tremendous, some really powerful stuff.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 14, 2008, 01:29:39 PM
Looking forward to this. I'm sure Andy will sell numerous copies to Weenies if that's any encouragement! Wilkins' material from these recordings is tremendous, some really powerful stuff.
Whilst I think of it in the list of Robert Wilkins tags there a very interesting discussion of this topic started by one Andrewm! Click that last line tag and remind yourself of it.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stuart on March 14, 2008, 03:37:56 PM
He also does "Prodigal Son" on "Blues at Newport: 1964." Epic poetry with guitar accompaniment.

IMHO it's a must have CD.

BH: Thanks for the tip on the tag. It gave me the thought the we need a "certified nut case" topic heading, but then suddenly I recalled the nature of the site and it's members...Oh well  :P
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: doctorpep on March 14, 2008, 09:49:16 PM
It'll be awesome to hear the new cd. I wish Wilkins would have recorded secular material during the post-war years, but apparently he didn't.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Rivers on March 14, 2008, 11:01:16 PM
'Amen' to that!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 15, 2008, 01:49:23 AM
Clicking on the cover of the first Piedmont reissue at Stefan's page enlarges it to reveal the legend

Including PRODIGAL SON the orginal Robert Wikins composition recorded by the ROLLING STONES.

Which I guess not only helps date this reissue to possibly 1969 (Beggar's Banquet LP released in Britain 5th December 1968) but also the motivation for it. ;D Cynical, moi? Perish the thought.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stuart on March 15, 2008, 09:29:00 AM
Clicking on the cover of the first Piedmont reissue at Stefan's page enlarges it to reveal the legend

Including PRODIGAL SON the original Robert Wikins composition recorded by the ROLLING STONES.

Which I guess not only helps date this reissue to possibly 1969 (Beggar's Banquet LP released in Britain 5th December 1968) but also the motivation for it. ;D Cynical, moi? Perish the thought.

That's the one I have. Given the business of music, almost anything that generated an increased interest in this area of music (early blues and the people who played it) was welcomed. I'm sure many of us have recollections of attempting to make others aware of who and where the inspiration--and songs--originally came from. It could be a very frustrating undertaking.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: NevadaPic on March 15, 2008, 05:15:54 PM
Quote
Looking forward to this. I'm sure Andy will sell numerous copies to Weenies if that's any encouragement! Wilkins' material from these recordings is tremendous, some really powerful stuff.
Let me offer some more encouragement then.  The Reverend Wilkins is one of my favorites.  It was unfortunate that he was not originally credited as the writer of 'Prodigal Son' on the first release of 'Beggars Banquet'.  I believe this was corrected in future releases.  In any case, it was my first exposure to his music.  There is that irony that many Americans were introduced to the work of so many Black American blues and gospel artists through the 'British Invasion' of the 60's...

Pic   
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stuart on March 15, 2008, 06:02:47 PM
There is that irony that many Americans were introduced to the work of so many Black American blues and gospel artists through the 'British Invasion' of the 60's...

If you haven't done so already, check out the four "American Folk Blues Festival" DVDs. It fills in some info re: the "lines of transmission."
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on June 26, 2008, 12:29:26 PM
Just a heads up - received the following few words from Andy Cohen:

"It's nearly done, thanks be to God"
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: uncle bud on June 27, 2008, 07:32:42 AM
Great news. Thanks be to Cohen too.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on June 27, 2008, 03:16:45 PM
This is good news! Thanks for sharing the update.  :D



Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: outfidel on June 30, 2008, 08:38:57 AM
Let me offer some more encouragement then.

Encouraging signs are popping up all over the place!

(https://weeniecampbell.com/yabbse/proxy.php?request=http%3A%2F%2Fpic20.picturetrail.com%2FVOL1600%2F965874%2F3155343%2F323465482.jpg&hash=87e398ba51e4c24a6f194674c46a1d413cc5a2a6)

:)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: uncle bud on June 30, 2008, 10:23:52 AM
Oh, the potential for that church sign generator is endless. Must...resist...
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on June 30, 2008, 12:28:05 PM
Oh, the potential for that church sign generator is endless. Must...resist...
I can't. How about "Praise The Lord And Pass The Ammunition"? (The Southern Sons version of 22nd October 1942 with sound effects of fighter planes, machine guns and bombing).
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on November 18, 2008, 12:13:40 PM
Any more news on this from Andy?

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on November 18, 2008, 12:33:09 PM
Any more news on this from Andy?
I've been hounding the poor fellow for years about this and he must be utterly sick of my asking. Perhaps someone else would care to raise the subject with him. :(
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Mr.OMuck on November 18, 2008, 01:40:04 PM
He also does "Prodigal Son" on "Blues at Newport: 1964." Epic poetry with guitar accompaniment.
IMHO it's a must have CD.

Most of the greats of the rediscovery period at the very moment of their introduction to the larger public. Electric, fantastic, transcendent! Must have indeed. The audience response to Skip James tells the story better than any words can.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on November 19, 2008, 08:05:34 AM
He also does "Prodigal Son" on "Blues at Newport: 1964." Epic poetry with guitar accompaniment.
IMHO it's a must have CD.

Most of the greats of the rediscovery period at the very moment of their introduction to the larger public. Electric, fantastic, transcendent! Must have indeed. The audience response to Skip James tells the story better than any words can.

Thanks for the recommendation!

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: natterjack on January 16, 2009, 08:53:23 AM
Anyone got any news on this one? It keeps getting played on the juke....
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on January 17, 2009, 03:53:32 AM
It's about 7 or 8 years since many of us were informed by Andy that he and his wife Larkin had acquired rights to reissue the Spottswood recordings, so I guess it's a case of "good things come to those who wait".  ::)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on January 18, 2009, 12:42:37 PM
Andy? We need this one! :)

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on April 04, 2009, 05:48:17 AM
Making my most recent nuisance email to Andy on this subject I've just received the following:

Truly, it's all but done.  The run is paid for.  The pictures for the cover
are selected, as is the track list. It is roughly 79 minutes long, and I
will be submitting a track list shortly.

The last thing was an unpublished guitar instrumental that he did, a buck
dance, according to Bill Ellis, that was never before included in any issue,
anywhere. The rest is all religious, and more than doubles the size of the
original.  It will reprint Mark Humphries' essay, and I will write
comprehensive notes, and an essay of my own.  This has been something of a
slog, as you might imagine, but it's over. There will be several
dedications, one of them to Dick, and Pete Kuykendall, who recorded most of
it, and to Richie Shulberg, who passed away a couple of weeks ago. Norman
Dayron contributed a track, and several tracks came from a 1967 U. of
Chicago concert.

We will set up a website, and as for trumpeting, yes, I shall trumpet,
loudly and long, to the entire blues world, in every way that I can think
of, and to the COGIC church, which has its world headquarters not three
miles from us.


So I guess all we can now do is be patient and, in these tight times, start saving since such labours of love don't normally come cheap!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: natterjack on April 05, 2009, 05:36:11 AM
 :) You can sign me up
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on April 05, 2009, 06:08:41 AM
'No trumpeting, We just want the album!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on March 05, 2011, 05:36:53 PM
Making my most recent nuisance email to Andy on this subject I've just received the following:

Truly, it's all but done.  The run is paid for.  The pictures for the cover
are selected, as is the track list. It is roughly 79 minutes long, and I
will be submitting a track list shortly.

The last thing was an unpublished guitar instrumental that he did, a buck
dance, according to Bill Ellis, that was never before included in any issue,
anywhere. The rest is all religious, and more than doubles the size of the
original.  It will reprint Mark Humphries' essay, and I will write
comprehensive notes, and an essay of my own.  This has been something of a
slog, as you might imagine, but it's over. There will be several
dedications, one of them to Dick, and Pete Kuykendall, who recorded most of
it, and to Richie Shulberg, who passed away a couple of weeks ago. Norman
Dayron contributed a track, and several tracks came from a 1967 U. of
Chicago concert.

We will set up a website, and as for trumpeting, yes, I shall trumpet,
loudly and long, to the entire blues world, in every way that I can think
of, and to the COGIC church, which has its world headquarters not three
miles from us.


So I guess all we can now do is be patient and, in these tight times, start saving since such labours of love don't normally come cheap!


Two years ago, that was the word on the reissue of the great album. Is there any update? Will this reissue ever see the light of day?
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 05, 2011, 10:49:54 PM
Two years ago, that was the word on the reissue of the great album. Is there any update? Will this reissue ever see the light of day?
I' started asking Andy about this years before I joined here (2005). I'm sure he's sick to death of me. Perhaps someone else may like to broach the matter with him.  :)

BTW, welcome.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on March 06, 2011, 04:13:15 AM
BTW, welcome.

Thanks! But I'm not as "new" as it appears, I just couldn't remember what my user name was when I registered a few years ago...  ;)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on March 06, 2011, 07:58:10 AM
Two years ago, that was the word on the reissue of the great album. Is there any update? Will this reissue ever see the light of day?
I' started asking Andy about this years before I joined here (2005). I'm sure he's sick to death of me. Perhaps someone else may like to broach the matter with him.  :)

Okay, I've sent Andy Cohen an e-mail, so if I get a response, I'll let everyone know what I've learned...

 :)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: LD50 on March 06, 2011, 08:59:33 AM
Good luck! I emailed him on this exact question last year and got no answer at all.

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on March 07, 2011, 04:49:07 AM
Well now, I got a very quick reply from Andy Cohen about this project:

It should be out in a couple of months.  The notes are most done, the program is all but selected, and it just needs a decision by my dear spouse, the P.I. on the project, and it will be ready to go. Please tell your friends.  It's gonna be a good one.


Andy



Now I know that's what he said 2 years ago, but I choose to be encouraged and excited about it!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on March 24, 2011, 04:18:25 AM
Hope the P.I. for this reissue will set a release date soon!

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on October 31, 2011, 12:50:06 PM
Still waiting for this one.  8)

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on October 31, 2011, 01:13:10 PM
What can one say? Except perhaps, "good things come to those who wait" (to quote a well known blues song).
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on May 25, 2012, 09:37:32 PM
Today marks the 25th anniversary of his death and another year in the wait for Andy's CD project.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: banjochris on May 25, 2012, 10:26:22 PM

...it just needs a decision by my dear spouse, the P.I. on the project, and it will be ready to go.


This is basically what he said when I asked him about it Monday night!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Johnm on May 26, 2012, 07:56:07 AM
It's possible that this project might have a better chance of happening if people were willing to do subscriptions and pay for their copies of the CD in advance.  Having some cash in hand would probably help pay for the manufacturing costs--just a thought.
All best,
Johnm
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on May 26, 2012, 08:31:30 AM
It's possible that this project might have a better chance of happening if people were willing to do subscriptions and pay for their copies of the CD in advance.  Having some cash in hand would probably help pay for the manufacturing costs--just a thought.
All best,
Johnm
Good idea. I'd gladly do that. However, I know from bitter experience of something similar, should it not come to fruition then one is left with the headache of refunding. Thankfully, unlike 40 years ago, that process is now so much easier.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on June 11, 2012, 10:17:33 AM
I hadn't seen the relatively recent posts on this, but I did place a call this morning to William Ellis, who is writer of liner notes for this project, to see what he knew. And he essentially confirmed the same thing we've heard before: Andy Cohen's wife needs to give the final OK to get this released. He seemed optimistic/hopeful that it really will be released someday, and I remain equally hopeful.

Mr. Ellis is now an assistant professor of fine arts/music at St. Michael's college in Vermont. http://208.83.125.74/academics/music/faculty.asp (http://208.83.125.74/academics/music/faculty.asp)

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jpeters609 on June 11, 2012, 11:00:30 AM
And he essentially confirmed the same thing we've heard before: Andy Cohen's wife needs to give the final OK to get this released.

I emailed Riverlark Records about a month ago asking if these recordings might be available soon, and Andy's wife Larkin replied with the following:

Yes, they will be! I'll put you on the email list and let  you know
when it'll be out. We are on the home stretch.
Thanks for asking!
Larkin


So it would seem that all approvals are in place! Perhaps johnm was correct in his earlier post, surmising as he did that a release such as this one requires a certain amount of capital. I would be happy to pay in advance if it would help.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stuart on June 11, 2012, 11:21:37 AM
Thanks for the update, TR. One of these years...

Always good to hear that someone has landed a teaching gig. St. Mike's is a pretty good school-- Hopefully Prof. Ellis will be happy there. And Winooski has to be one of the more interesting town names, IMHO.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on June 11, 2012, 11:38:59 AM
I thought it especially unlikely that Prof. Ellis would turn up here in Vermont, and I literally work 3 miles away from his campus (in the aforementioned Winooski, the "Onion City"!)

I have also sent an email to Larkin Bryant Cohen asking to be put on the mailing list....
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on June 12, 2012, 02:25:31 PM
I just got an email from Larkin Bryant Cohen that reads in part: Yes, the Wilkins will be released as a CD which will include, of course, the original Memphis Gospel Singer 8 tracks plus bonus tracks from the Piedmont studio reels. We're in the final stages and it will be out this summer.

:-))))))))
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on June 13, 2012, 08:26:36 AM
Thanks, Tom. I will throw an all-day party when it arrives. :)


Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on November 12, 2012, 10:36:15 AM
Some news on this, Tom? :)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Westside on January 13, 2013, 03:22:32 AM
Anybody know if this ever came out?
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stuart on January 13, 2013, 08:30:53 AM
Hi Ryan:

I haven't heard anything or seen any news on their site (just checked).

http://www.riverlark.com/ (http://www.riverlark.com/)

You could always send an e-mail or give them a call.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Westside on January 13, 2013, 05:37:21 PM
Thanks Stuart!  I couldn't find that website last night (probably due to being exhausted)!  Anyway, I sent an email and will post the response in case anyone else is interested.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on January 22, 2013, 04:43:59 AM
Any reply on the email? :)

Title: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: P D Grant on January 22, 2013, 11:54:46 AM
I got an email from Andy on the 12th to say they're both finishing off other projects, but it's next on the list. Just need to get the booklet together. I cracked and bought a copy on eBay for ?60. I've been waiting tooooo long to hear this record. Will still buy the CD though!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Westside on January 22, 2013, 12:53:18 PM
Thanks for the update.  I sent two emails and haven't heard back yet?  I can't wait for this to come out!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Gumbo on January 22, 2013, 02:06:56 PM
+1 thanking for the update
I'd love to hear this
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on March 29, 2013, 05:15:32 AM
Thanks for the update.  I sent two emails and haven't heard back yet?  I can't wait for this to come out!

Any news? :)

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on March 29, 2013, 05:33:35 AM
Hey do you realise that it's five years since you raised this topic?

I guess we all live in hope of it coming to fruition at some time.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: funkapus on July 13, 2013, 09:39:34 AM
I just today started googling, looking to see if there was any sign of this ever having been or being released, and got this thread as a search return.  Andy was here about six months ago; I would have loved to ask him about it, just to add another datapoint indicating that there is an audience for this.

Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Gumbo on July 13, 2013, 12:37:36 PM
8728 views for this topic. I'd say that's some interest :)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: askthewinds on August 01, 2013, 09:45:26 AM
I have a digital copy.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on August 04, 2013, 05:15:20 AM
An advance copy of the long-pending expanded reissue?

Or simply a digital copy from vinyl of the long-existing album?
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: JohnLeePimp on August 04, 2013, 07:44:03 AM
I have the latter one... if anyone wants hit me up and I'll give you the link to dl/eternal damnation
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stefan Wirz on August 05, 2013, 02:29:04 AM
... I've taken down the notification for this forthcoming (?) CD from my RW discography just to protect Andy's nerves (that I myself trampled lotsa times over the last few years)  ;)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Frank_Scott on September 16, 2013, 01:41:00 PM
According to a trustworthy source the Wilkins album will now be coming out via Bear Family Records. If true, this is great news since Bear Family sound and pacaking leaves just about every other label in the dust.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: unezrider on February 12, 2014, 12:27:20 PM
Yep! Just stumbled on this.
http://www.bear-family.com/en/blues/classic-blues/rhythm-n-blues/prodigal-son.html?force_sid=2c67da7c53fbd3e1bbb7726ae969d2c8 (http://www.bear-family.com/en/blues/classic-blues/rhythm-n-blues/prodigal-son.html?force_sid=2c67da7c53fbd3e1bbb7726ae969d2c8)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Rivers on February 12, 2014, 05:46:02 PM
Man, that is one weird album cover.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jpeters609 on February 12, 2014, 07:29:58 PM
Man, that is one weird album cover.
[/quote
Man, that is one weird album cover.

I agree. Using a play on Rolling Stones album art makes a twisted sense (tying in the band's cover of "Prodigal Son" and linking their name to Wilkins' pre-war song title). But it also seems forced and frankly craven. Also a little insulting to Rev. Wilkins, placing his name and image in such a milieu. I like to think that Bear Family is trying to reclaim some credit for Wilkins that had been usurped by the Rolling Stones. But it's kinda icky. BUT thank God this is finally being reissued.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: unezrider on February 12, 2014, 10:07:08 PM
Not a fan of the cover, either. But happy the music is going to be made available. Plus, the 28 page booklet should be pretty good, too.

(As a side note, I noticed Bear Family is working on an acoustic blues collection to be released in 2015. I think it's pretty cool they're are getting in to releasing this music, because you know the sound & packaging will be top notch. & I can't think of another company that puts out any pre war blues where both of those things can be said of their releases.)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 12, 2014, 10:49:27 PM
What follows is from April 04, 2009 in this thread. Andy Cohen had been working on something similar which he described thus:

Truly, it's all but done.  The run is paid for.  The pictures for the cover
are selected, as is the track list. It is roughly 79 minutes long, and I
will be submitting a track list shortly.

The last thing was an unpublished guitar instrumental that he did, a buck
dance, according to Bill Ellis, that was never before included in any issue,
anywhere. The rest is all religious, and more than doubles the size of the
original.  It will reprint Mark Humphries' essay, and I will write
comprehensive notes, and an essay of my own.  This has been something of a
slog, as you might imagine, but it's over. There will be several
dedications, one of them to Dick, and Pete Kuykendall, who recorded most of
it, and to Richie Shulberg, who passed away a couple of weeks ago. Norman
Dayron contributed a track, and several tracks came from a 1967 U. of
Chicago concert.

We will set up a website, and as for trumpeting, yes, I shall trumpet,
loudly and long, to the entire blues world, in every way that I can think
of, and to the COGIC church, which has its world headquarters not three
miles from us.


I'm assuming that Andy's project is as dead as a dodo.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Tom Rushen on February 13, 2014, 03:30:24 AM
An exceptionally tasteless cover given who Rev. Wilkins was and what values he cherished. I would guess his family will be less than pleased by it, and I am genuinely sorry for that. Obviously, given how difficult it is to sell physical media these days, Bear Family has made an overt decision to use the cover parody of the Rolling Stones' album as a means of attracting attention and garnering sales from Rolling Stones fans.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jpeters609 on February 13, 2014, 05:17:51 AM

I'm assuming that Andy's project is as dead as a dodo.


Not so sure. Just two weeks ago there was the following post on the "Real Blues Forum" by Michael Frank of Earwig Records:

"I have been hot on the trail the last few days of Reverend Robert Wilkins memorabilia for the forthcoming reissue on Riverlark Music http://riverlark.com (http://riverlark.com) of his 1964 lp Memphis Gospel Singer. Anyone out there who has photos of Rev. Wilkins from the 1960s please get in touch with me. I also am seeking information about his funeral service June 1, 1987 in Memphis."

The odd thing about Andy Cohen's much-anticipated release of these recordings is that it was supposed to have considerably more material than the Bear Family CD. I don't think that Andy surrendered his project to Bear Family, and I hope the Bear Family release doesn't stop him. Of course, it has been many years since Andy's project was first announced, so who knows.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stuart on February 13, 2014, 11:53:06 AM
The cover is undignified, to say the least.

I hope Andy releases his project in spite of the Bear Family CD. Obviously, there are considerations when it's his money backing the CD run--and it's hardly a world of perfect choices, but Rev. Robert Wilkins' music deserves to be made available.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: uncle bud on February 13, 2014, 09:13:46 PM
Wow, that cover really is idiotic, given the music. I would have expected more from Bear Family. I don't even understand the reasoning. So a bunch of aged Stones fans are going to buy a gospel record because they did a three-minute Wilkins cover in 1968, that no one but blues nerds will associate with Wilkins? How many are going to buy this record based on this fact, which is blown way out of proportion in the blues world. 10? 20?

I agree with Stuart, I hope Andy releases his project and damn the Bear Family disc. I'll buy his.

If not, then I guess we won't have to feel guilty buying the Bear Family version on JSP soon enough with different artwork.  >:D
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: harriet on February 14, 2014, 05:51:23 AM
I read that originally Wilkins was not credited on the Stones album for the song and that was corrected legally. I hope he got royalties for it, like McDowell did for You Got to Move.

Their version makes more sense now that I have heard the original, but For myself, it wasn't until I listened to the Wilkins tracks recently on John Miller's lesson, that I developed interest in Wilkins at all - the Stones version IMHO is hacked and a turn off - I heard it before I heard of Wilkins. I also read that Wilkins remarked about one of his songs that was recorded, maybe Prodigal Son, that he was glad that someone liked his song enough to record it. The important thing to me in the Stones is did they credit and pay him for the use. If the material was new on Wilkins, I'd pick it up regardless of the cover.

I sure wish there was like even 30 seconds of footage of Wilkins available!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jpeters609 on February 14, 2014, 07:39:11 AM

I sure wish there was like even 30 seconds of footage of Wilkins available!

I seem to remember that Gene Rosenthal supposedly had live footage of Robert Wilkins, taken from the same performances that make up part of the "Remember Me" CD on Gene's label. Maybe. I think this had been mentioned on Gene's website back when the label was still viable (I believe he had footage of many of the performers he recorded). But, if it exists, I don't know its status.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: banjochris on February 14, 2014, 11:12:39 AM
There definitely is some footage; there was a little bit on the website of Wilkins playing "I'm a Soldier in the Army of the Lord," if memory serves, but it was in a little window about the size of a postage stamp. I think the video was from one of the Memphis Country Blues Festivals. I sure wish there was some footage out there.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: frankie on February 14, 2014, 01:23:46 PM
the footage is still on the adelphi site, and still bad quality:

 http://www.adelphirecords.com/video/Wilkins.asf (http://www.adelphirecords.com/video/Wilkins.asf)

if only there were more.... and easier on the eyes.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Mr.OMuck on February 14, 2014, 04:50:23 PM
Forgive me if its already been mentioned but Wilkins' performance of Prodigal Son on the Blues at Newport 1964 Volume 2 is superb and has that beautiful Vanguard sound.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: uncle bud on February 14, 2014, 05:46:08 PM
Agreed, a truly splendid performance, one of his best and that's sayin' something. Imagine footage of that!
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: banjochris on February 14, 2014, 06:27:33 PM
I suspect there's a lot of Newport footage we haven't seen. Some tantalizing bits popped up in that Martin Scorsese "The Blues" series a few years back (which I was not a fan of), but only bits.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: harriet on February 14, 2014, 08:02:47 PM
if you have quicktime you can right click the "I'm a Soldier" clip, download it and enlarge it, take a peek, see a little of his smile, demeanor. It's something anyway.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: blueshome on February 15, 2014, 02:05:17 AM
This from Andy Cohen on RBF:
"To the lot of yez: We don't yet know what's going on here. I don't want to say anything just yet. For the record, though, our reissue will be tasteful, more complete, more notes and pictures on a second CD that is just PDF's, and it WILL come out, once Rev. Wilkins stops rolling over in his grave over a cover featuring a toilet instead of his calm and sage visage. Our intent is both folkloric and religious, and we intend to market the issue to and through the COGIC church, among other places. To David Costa: Gene Rosenthal issued a lot of the later stuff Wilkins did, on Gene's own label. This is a Piedmont imprint, as will ours be. But no toilets."
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on February 15, 2014, 05:48:55 AM
I read that originally Wilkins was not credited on the Stones album for the song and that was corrected legally. I hope he got royalties for it
He did. It was released in December 1968 by Decca Records in the UK and London Records in the US. Here?s the tale as told by Tony Glover to Rolling Stone magazine. All "old hat" now but...

'Beggar's Banquet' LP fails to credit original songwriter Rev. Robert Wilkins
By Tony Glover Rolling Stone March 1, 1969


"Prodigal Son", one of the tracks on the Stones? 'Beggar's Banquet' LP, is not an original by Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, although the album credits, as revised from the original banned LP cover to the one inspired by the record company, list it as such. It is a song written and recorded by Reverend Robert Wilkins, a 72-year-old former blues singer turned minister. He first recorded it in February of 1964 for Piedmont Records (Reverend Robert Wilkins?Memphis Gospel Singer Piedmont 13162), a now defunct specialist label that featured Mississippi John Hurt, as well as reissues of classic blues and ragtime numbers.

The original cover for Beggar's Banquet had clearly credited Wilkins with the tune, and since the confusion was pointed out to London Records and the Stones business office, publishing, royalties and other attendant financial details have been happily and properly straightened out.

It's more than just a matter of credit where credit is due; anyone who copyrights a song is paid composer royalties for any recordings of that song. The standard music publishing contract provides that the author gets 50 percent of the royalties, the publisher gets the other 50 percent. Now days, this generally means that for each song recorded on an LP, the composer gets 1? per copy sold.
The song rights are owned by Wynwood Music, Box 141, Burke Va. 22015, headed by Peter Kuykendall, a former bluegrass singer and arranger (he worked with the Country Gentlemen), and sound engineer; he mastered Wilkins' Piedmont LP. When contacted, Kuykendall hadn't heard of the Stones recording.

"We usually try to keep close tabs on this sort of thing, but it's not always possible," he explained. "But I'll certainly get my papers in order and put in a claim ? and hope for the best. The Stones may accept it and pay on it right off," he continued, "which was the case with Cream's version of Skip James's 'I'm So Glad' on their first LP. I don't know if it was Clapton or who, but when they found out about the claim they said, 'Let's not fight it, he needs the bread.'"

Dick Spottswood, who recorded the Reverend's first and only LP, is an old-time record collector, bluegrass enthusiast, and former head of several specialized blues and folk labels. He filled in Reverend Wilkins' background. "He was born Robert Timothy Wilkins, January 16, 1896, in Hernando, Mississippi, Negro on his father's side, white and Cherokee Indian on his mother's. When he was very young, Wilkins' father was forced to leave the state to avoid prosecution on bootlegging charges. Wilkins' mother remarried, to a very fine guitar player, who taught Robert. By age 15, Robert was playing for dances, parties, etc., and he became a very fine guitarist and singer. In 1915, he left for Memphis, Tennessee, and other than a short spell of military service in World War I, he's lived there ever since. He never did make his living completely by singing, but music has always been a part of his life."
In September of 1928 Wilkins made his first blues recordings, for Victor label. The song was "Rolling Stone Blues, Parts I & II" (another twist!) "Robert used a borrowed guitar with a broken neck ? he didn't want it released, but Victor went ahead. For later sessions he got a better guitar, the sound was much improved. A year later, 1929, Wilkins recorded "That's No Way To Get Along," a blues ancestor of "Prodigal Son," using the same melody and guitar lines, only with blues lyrics (available today on a reissue LP Mississippi Blues 1927-1940, Origin Jazz Library OJL-5). Wilkins worked as a pullman porter and stockyard clerk, singing and recording on the side.

"In 1936 he was 'converted' to Christian ideals, which meant that he stopped singing secular music. In 1950 he undertook his first ministry, and he is now an herb medicine specialist and minister of the Church of God In Christ, in Memphis."
Spottswood, a connoisseur of old blues, "rediscovered" Wilkins in a manner that seems absurdly simple when you hear of the decade-long hunts for other old blues men. He heard a rumor that Wilkins was alive in Memphis, went to a library, got a Memphis directory, and found two Robert Wilkinses listed. So he sat down, wrote identical letters to both addresses, and the right man answered. The recording sessions and Newport appearances followed.

"Wilkins' guitar style hadn't changed," Spottswood said. "But the old blues songs had become guitar instrumental pieces ? he would play anything ? it was only sinful to sing the words. Or he would rework the old songs, as the case with 'That's No Way To Get Along' becoming the biblical tale of 'Prodigal Son.'

"Today Wilkins is making a comfortable living as a minister, and he's the patriarch of a large family, including his wife, children, in-laws and grandchildren. He sings and plays gospel songs as a regular part of his weekly service ? but he's still proud of the old blues."

Later, Kuykendall phoned the Reverend and told him of the Stones recording, without mentioning the copyright difficulties. "He seemed quite happy that people will be hearing his song," Kuykendall said. "It couldn't bother him that a rock group has done it."
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Paget18 on September 26, 2014, 12:34:11 AM
 Have you heard his performance of ?Prodigal Son?? It?s absolutely brilliant. These days his son Reverend John Wilkins, continues his father's gospel blues legacy. Not sure if he?s as good though.
gospel singers (http://www.ranker.com/list/gospel-music-bands-and-musicians/reference)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: banjochris on June 04, 2015, 10:08:46 AM
Bump! Haven't heard anything about this and it's been been almost 9 months since the last post. Any news?
Chris
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on September 20, 2015, 12:30:24 PM
Still waiting.... :)
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Bunker Hill on September 20, 2015, 10:03:18 PM
March 2008 Andy first informed me about his plans for this. I guess we can but live in hope.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Stuart on September 21, 2015, 08:39:46 AM
I guess we can but live in hope.

True, but can we live long enough in hope?
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: Gumbo on September 22, 2015, 10:04:58 AM
Darn - I thought there was news :(
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jpeters609 on September 22, 2015, 10:41:23 AM
I'm going to throw in the towel and pick up the Bear Family version. The cover may be off-putting, but at least they've made the music available. It's been over ten years since I first heard about the long-awaited-for Riverlark edition. That's a long time to still be waiting.
Title: Re: Robert Wilkins - Memphis Gospel Singer
Post by: jostber on September 23, 2015, 07:51:33 AM
Here is a long, detailed review of the Bear Family edition:

http://blackgrooves.org/reverend-robert-wilkins-prodigal-son/
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