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Most exciting take on the farmer and the boll weevil yet. Hardest driving guitar recording ever? - John Fahey, on Charlie Patton's Mississippi Bo Weevil Blues

Author Topic: Rev. Rubin Lacey on truth in the blues  (Read 448 times)

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Offline TenBrook

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Rev. Rubin Lacey on truth in the blues
« on: June 13, 2018, 08:03:02 AM »
Hi all,
I've been reading 'Black Hymnody: A Hymnological History of the African-American Church' by Jon Michael Spencer and came across a quote from Rev. Rubin Lacey I thought I'd share. Hopefully it hasn't been shared before, apologies if it has.

I'll start with the preceding text for context:
"The piece in the hymnbook titled 'When I Take My Vacation in Heaven' included the very sort of claims to which blues people took exception: 'I will spend my vacation with Jesus/In the place He went on to prepare.' Former blues singer Rev. Rubin Lacey felt not only that blues songs and church songs were similar, but moreover that the blues were truthful, while church songs were often untruthful. With reference to this hymn, he admonished the congregation he pastored:

'Sometimes I preach now and I get up and tell the people now that...I used to be a famous blues singer and I told more truth in my blues than the average person tells in his church songs...The blues is just more truer than a whole lot of the church songs that people sing. Sometimes I think the average person sings a church song just for the tune, not for the words...But the blues is sung not for the tune. It's sung for the words mostly...Now you get out here to sing a church song about 'When I take my vacation in Heaven.' That couldn't be the truth. That's a lie in the church, because a vacation means to go and come. You don't take a vacation in heaven. But now if you're playing the blues, you say 'I never missed my water 'til my well went dry.' That's the truth...That's the difference in a church song and the blues.'"

For those interested the book is available here on Amazon:
https://www.amazon.com/Black-Hymnody-Hymnological-History-African-American/dp/087049760X

I wouldn't say it's an exciting read but I have learned quite a bit. The bulk of the book is based on research into hymn books and church literature and so direct quotes from those involved in the various denominations discussed are unfortunately a rare occurrence.

Offline mtzionmemorialfund

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Re: Rev. Rubin Lacey on truth in the blues
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2018, 06:01:30 PM »
Is that from an interview by Spencer? 
T. DeWayne Moore
Executive Director, Mt. Zion Memorial Fund

Offline TenBrook

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Re: Rev. Rubin Lacey on truth in the blues
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2018, 12:12:27 PM »
The citation states it's from "The Rev. Rubin Lacey," interview by David Evans, Blues Unlimited 43 (May 1967):13.

Offline harriet

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Re: Rev. Rubin Lacey on truth in the blues
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2018, 04:30:15 AM »
Tenbrook, I found your post interesting -though I'm not a historian.

I was interested because I study Fred McDowell' music and he expressed thoughts along those lines in the beginning of the patter to his audience in "Everybody Down on me" and refers to the blues as being originally called the "REAL", if I read correctly.

When I searched for that thought online, another book came up, pages 125 on, which  may be tangential to the thoughts in the original post  "Protest & Praise: Sacred Music of Black Religion" by Jon Michael Spenser

Offline oddenda

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Re: Rev. Rubin Lacey on truth in the blues
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2018, 08:25:31 PM »
Dear H -

          This is a mis-spelling of "reels", a common designation for secular music by blacks back in the day. English being the mongrel that it is, some white folks have tried to reify it as "reals" and incorporate it into their definition of blues. Trad Albert Mussray's STOMPING THE BLUES!  for edification. Blues is much more than "woe is me"!!

pbl

Offline harriet

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Re: Rev. Rubin Lacey on truth in the blues
« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2018, 05:08:59 AM »
Dear H -

          This is a mis-spelling of "reels", a common designation for secular music by blacks back in the day. English being the mongrel that it is, some white folks have tried to reify it as "reals" and incorporate it into their definition of blues. Trad Albert Mussray's STOMPING THE BLUES!  for edification. Blues is much more than "woe is me"!!

pbl

Thanks Oddenda, its not the first time I've gone with what it sounds like to me and been wrong, and I appreciate the your taking the time to set that straight - it  was  not clear from McDowell's patter as he speaks the word with 2 syllables. He seems to be talking about reels as being an early name for the blues.



Harriet
« Last Edit: June 19, 2018, 07:24:41 AM by harriet »

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