Muddy Waters and Friends on the Blues and Gospel Train, 1964

One of the most unique and inti­mate con­certs from the British blues revival of the 1960s was the “Blues and Gospel Train,” filmed in a sub­urb of Man­ches­ter, Eng­land. In 2011 we post­ed an excerpt fea­tur­ing Mud­dy Waters singing “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Nev­er Had.” Today we’re pleased to bring the whole show–or at least most of it.

The “Blues and Gospel Train” was staged on May 7, 1964 by Grana­da TV. Fans who were lucky enough to get tickets–some 200 of them–were instruct­ed to meet at Man­ches­ter’s Cen­tral Sta­tion at 7:30 that evening for a short train ride to the aban­doned Wilbra­ham Road Sta­tion in Whal­ley Range.

When the train pulled in at Wilbra­ham Road, the audi­ence poured out and found seats on the plat­form, mak­ing their way past Mud­dy Waters, who was singing “Blow Wind Blow.” The oppo­site plat­form, dec­o­rat­ed to look like an old rail­way sta­tion in the Amer­i­can South, served as a stage for a line­up of now-leg­endary blues artists includ­ing Waters, Sis­ter Roset­ta Sharpe, Son­ny Ter­ry & Brown­ie McGhee, Cousin Joe, Otis Spann and Rev­erend Gary Davis.

The com­plete con­cert is avail­able on DVD as part of Amer­i­can Folk ‑Blues Fes­ti­val: The British Tours 1963–1966. The ver­sion above is not of the great­est qual­i­ty, but it’s still inter­est­ing to watch. Rev. Gary Davis’s con­tri­bu­tion appears to have been cut, but much of the show is intact. The tap­ing was inter­rupt­ed by a heavy down­pour. Fit­ting­ly, Sis­ter Roset­ta Tharpe begins her set with a per­for­mance of “Did­n’t It Rain.” Here’s the full list of per­for­mances, in order of appear­ance:

  1. Mud­dy Waters: “Blow Wind Blow”
  2. Cousin Joe: “Chick­en a la Blues”
  3. Cousin Joe: “Rail­road Porter Blues”
  4. Sis­ter Roset­ta Tharpe: “Did­n’t It Rain”
  5. Sis­ter Roset­ta Tharpe: “Trou­ble in Mind”
  6. Mud­dy Waters: “You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Nev­er Had”
  7. Son­ny Ter­ry & Brown­ie McGhee: “Talk­ing Har­mon­i­ca Blues”
  8. Son­ny Ter­ry & Brown­ie McGhee: “Ram­bler’s Blues” med­ley
  9. Son­ny Ter­ry & Brown­ie McGhee: “Walk On”
  10. Sis­ter Roset­ta Tharpe: “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands”

Blues and Gospel Train
Relat­ed con­tent:

Mar­tin Scors­ese Presents The Blues

Robert John­son’s ‘Me and the Dev­il Blues,’ Ani­mat­ed

Lead Bel­ly: Only Known Footage of the Leg­endary Blues­man, 1935 and 1945

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Comments (6)
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  • Please take a look at our web­site (from which the image of the auto­graphed tick­et is tak­en) for more about this amaz­ing event.

  • CP Lee says:

    The Rev. Gray Davies’ per­for­mance has­n’t been cut. He was, how do you say? Indis­posed at the time of the record­ing and reclin­ing in the tour bus.

  • Chris Bowden says:

    Chris Bow­den, Drum­mer with Paul Fen­da and the Teen­beats 1961–1963. Lat­er with John Mor­gan and the BASIX. (see Man­ches­ter Dis­trict Music Archive)
    I was one of the BASIXS invit­ed to take part in the film­ing of the Grana­da Tele­vi­son pro­gramme “The Blues and Gospel Train”. We had to meet at Cen­tral Sta­tion and were filmed run­ning (over the cam­era man) onto the plat­form (usu­al­ly reserved for the pres­ti­gious “Mid­land Pull­man” Once on the train we were filmed per­form­ing a few of our usu­al favourite Blues num­bers. On arrival at Wilbra­ham Road (aka “Chorl­tonville”) we joined the crowd and watched Mud­dy Waters walk­ing the track toward the staion. What a day.
    The sta­tion at Wilbra­ham Road was dis­sues and part of the closed Man­ches­ter Cen­tral to Fai­field loop line.
    What­ev­er hap­pened to John Mor­gan and the rest of the BASIXS.
    Chris Bow­den, alive and kick­ing but not drum­ming.

  • Dave says:

    The DVD ver­sion is not the full show. It is two Mud­dy Waters tracks and the two Sis­ter Roset­ta Tharpe tracks.

  • Phil Wight says:

    Peter Gold­smith says hel­lo — if you want to con­tact him let me know and I’ll pass on details.….….……

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