The Daddy of Gospel Blues

Little 9-year-old Tommie and his household moved to Atlanta, Georgia from the small town of Villa Rica, Georgia in 1908. Tommy had benched a grade in school and teased by the other kids. He felt alienated from his school and also the black Baptist church where his daddy was the pastor and mamma was the pianist.

He spent the evenings and afternoons viewing the vaudeville efficiencies where he saw such well-known blues artists as Ma Rainey and Bessie Smith. At age eleven he left school and took a job at the theater selling soda pop.

He was identified to end up being famous like Ma Rainey so he found out to play the piano and taught himself to check out music.

At age seventeen Tom relocated to Chicago and became quite successful as a blues piano player and vocalist in the backroom bars throughout the prohibition age. He took the professional name of Georgia Tom.

Tom had a problem with his conscience overplaying the “world’s music.” His mom was constantly advising him that he should dedicate himself to playing and making up for the Lord. His struggle became so extreme that he had a worried breakdown and had to take two years off and move back to Atlanta to recuperate.

Sufficiently rested and recuperated, Georgia Tom went back to Chicago and began to bet Ma Rainey and her jazz band. However, it was only a matter of time before he once again had a worried breakdown and had to stop singing in the bars of Chicago.

He soon identified to commit his music totally to the Lord. He started making up and singing gospel music using blues design music.

To his frustration, many of the primary stream churches refused to enable him to return since his music sounded excessive like the world’s music. So he returned to the Chicago bars to earn sufficient cash to endure.

Tom married and was expecting his very first kid within a year. He continued to play both in bars and churches. It was while he was in St. Louis preparing for a performance in a church that he received a telegram notifying him that his better half had actually passed away during childbirth. He returned to Chicago in time to hold his newborn child however the kid passed away within a few hours.

It was at that minute that he took the vow to dedicate his music absolutely to the Lord seriously. It was likewise throughout his grief that he composed these words:
Valuable Lord, take my hand,
Lead me on, assist me to stand,
I am exhausted, I am weak, I am worn.
Thru the storm, thru the night,
Lead me on to the light,
Take my hand, precious Lord, Lead me home.
Thomas Dorsey went on to make up almost 1000 songs, all gospel with a blues style. He died in 1993 at the age of 96. He had actually made the title of “The Father of Gospel Blues.”

His mom was constantly advising him that he need to devote himself to making up and playing for the Lord. His struggle became so intense that he had and had a worried breakdown to take two years off and move back to Atlanta to recuperate.

He returned to Chicago in time to hold his newborn child but the child passed away within a couple of hours.

Thomas Dorsey went on to compose almost 1000 tunes, all gospel with a blues design. He had actually earned the title of “The Father of Gospel Blues.”