Saturday, 19 February 2022

Didn't It Rain?

In view of the weather extremes experienced recently, I wanted to share this fabulous little story which Bob came across on the Internet this week...

Less than half a mile from Steph's house in Manchester, there used to be a railway station, called "Alexandra Park" when it opened in 1892, then renamed "Wilbraham Road" in 1923. By 1958, passenger trains no longer stopped there.

In 1964, the Granada TV Company decided to transform the disused station buildings, to make a set for a programme called "Blues and Gospel Train". The stars of the concert were two great jazz musicians - Muddy Waters and Sister Rosetta Tharpe. They were on their second European tour - and Manchester was the place for jazz and R'n'B in the UK. Back home in the States, the Civil Rights Act had yet to be passed, there was still segregation.  The Manchester Station recreated as "Chorltonville". Seats were free - many ordinary fans turned up and a minibus even came from London carrying Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Jeff Beck. This was to prove a seminal moment in British music history - Mick Jagger and others speak of the influence the TV programme had on them at the time. The audience were seated one side of the line, the performers on the opposite platform. And then the heavy, heavy rain started [well, it was in Manchester] so Sister Rosetta changed her playlist, and began with the old spiritual about Noah's Flood "Didn't it rain?"

I think this is a fabulous clip - and next time I'm with Steph I may walk up the road and have a look - they say that some of the brickwork from the original station platform is still there!

16 comments:

  1. It is Chorlton tram stop on the Metro now. The original station was Chorlton cum Hardy. Before my time in Manchester.

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  2. I never knew about Chorltonville station. I wish I could have gone but at that time I would have been just a bit too young to go by myself and my parents would not have approved!

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  3. Ah, that's brilliant!! I will share that with the kids at school!!

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  4. I have vague memories of the train station as we lived in Whalley Range when I was 13 onwards. My gran lived in Moss Side and we would cut through via Alexandra Park (which we called Alec park) when we went to visit her.

    But I never knew it had such an illustrious past.

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    1. It's amazing how much forgotten history surrounds us

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  5. Love that story!

    One of the wonderful DH added to my life is music of all sorts. It's thanks to him I came to love Muddy Waters, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Cab Calloway, John Lee Hooker, and many other wonderful musicians and singers. After nearly 50 years, I am still grateful!

    Hugs!

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    1. It is great when others share their favourite music with us

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  6. Thank you for sharing this wonderful video. What a great, spontaneous scene, and Sister Rosetta Tharpe such a delightful singer.

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  7. Yes, the spontaneity makes it even more joyful! It has rained really heavily here since I posted this first thing! Perhaps I should do some posts about sunshine...

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  8. Interesting story! Enjoyed the video, too. Hope you didn't have any damage from the storm.

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    1. We seem to have come through unscathed thus far!

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