Fellow Sydneysiders cover the Phil Jones & The Unknown Blues rewrite of an old gospel song. Also recorded in 1994 by Ed Kuepper (see below).
Phil Jones was sixteen when he led The Unknown Blues onto the Sydney charts with this secular reworking of the gospel song If I Have A Ticket Lord Can I Ride? (aka Can I Ride? etc). The arranger credits are to Unknown Blues band members.
In the 1970s Phil Jones, by then known as Shiva and living in London, joined the progressive jazz/rock/Eastern bands Quintessence and Kala, both of which included other expatriate Australians.
Phil Jones now works in the the USA where he records and teaches the didgeridoo and runs workshops in vibrational sound therapy. His website is at PhilJonesMusic.com.
See also the 1967 Drift magazine cover over at the blog.
References: PhilJonesMusic.com; Ian
McFarlane, Encyclopedia of Australian Pop & Rock.
Further reading: 1. Phil Jones & The Unknown Blues page at Musical Notes. 2. 2006 profile of Phil Jones by Amanda Mohney. Phil Jones interviewed by Jerry Kranitz, 2002.
Video: At YouTube you can view a 1967 video clip of Phil Jones & The Unknown Blues’ Pick A Bale Of Cotton, their follow-up to If I Had A Ticket.
Thanks to Terry Stacey for suggestion and version alert.
On 1994 album Character Assassination, also on CD single (1994) by former member of pioneering Aussie punk band The Saints and later The Laughing Clowns, a highly regarded solo artist since the early 80s.
A Columbia 78 release of an old gospel hymn also known as Can I Ride? (and other variations).
This is the earliest recording I’ve found but there may well be something earlier.
Reference: Abrams database at 78Online. Audiofile downloaded from eMusic (Preachers and Congregations Vol. 7).
Released as a single on Mississippi label Acquarian, produced by Calvin C. Brown.
This is one of 55 compositions listed at BMI by Rev Willie Morganfield (1927-2003), preacher and gospel singer who recorded in the 50s and 60s, for example on the Jewel label (Shreveport Louisiana) from 1966. He was a cousin of blues singer Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield).
The US copyright of Can I Ride? by Willie Morganfield (arrangement by Kenneth Morris) was lodged in 1961. See this webpage for the lyrics.
References: Profile at Crossroads of the Heart. US Copyright Office, Ref. RE 471-594. Morganfield family background in Preaching the Blues: The Mississippi Delta of Muddy Waters at The Kenyon Review. RIP Rev Willie Morganfield at fr.rec.arts.musique.rock, Oct-Nov 2003.
The ultimate source of If I Had A Ticket is a gospel song entitled, for example, If I Have A Ticket Lord Can I Ride?, I Got My Ticket Can I Ride? or simply Can I Ride? Further titles listed at Mudcat Cafe: Can I Ride (If I Got My Ticket)? and Can I Ride (Lord, If I Got My Ticket)? Choral arrangement by Don Moore (1990): If I Had My Ticket.
A version of the song was collected in Texas in the 1930s by folklorists John and Allan Lomax and published in Our Singing Country A Second Volume of American Ballads and Folk Songs in the 1940s. A facsimile of the book’s full text is online at TraditionalMusic.co.uk. I Got My Ticket Can I Ride? is on page 32 and page 33 of the book.
Thanks to Joop Jansen for the above links, via Originals Problemsolving Forum.
The theme of having a ticket to ride with the Lord is found in other gospel songs, as lyrics posted to Mudcat Cafe show. See, for example, Going Back With Jesus (recorded 1937): I’ll be standing at the station with my ticket in my hand/ Oh, I’m going back with Jesus when He comes (Lord when He comes); or The Ship Is At The Landing (recorded 1930), where King Jesus is the Captain.., The Holy Ghost is the engineer and You better get your ticket, don’t you want to go?
On Columbia album Good Morning Blues by Chris Barber, British jazz man whose bands were influential in exploring rhythm & blues and skiffle sounds. The album featured regular Barber vocalist Ottilie Patterson.
If I Have A Ticket was recorded at EMI Abbey Road, on 5-6 August 1964 with Chris Barber on lead vocals.
Thank you to Julian
Purser, Chris Barber discographer and archivist, for personnel and session details (via Chris Barber Messageboard).
Links from Terry Stacey and honeydhont.
Further reading: The excellent ChrisBarber.net is well worth exploring.
Single on CBS, the second recording by a Chris Barber outfit (see below). Recorded April 1966 at Marquee and Advision Studios, London with vocals by Kenneth Washington. From Gospel Strikes Back (gospel show?). Keith Emerson, later of Emerson, Lake and Palmer fame, was on keyboards.
This is getting more into the territory of Phil Jones & Unknown Blues. Could this or the previous Chris Barber release have been an influential version?
Personnel: Kenneth Washington (vocals), Pat Halcox (trumpet, backing vocals) Chris Barber (trombone, backing vocals) Ian Wheeler (alto sax) Keith Emerson (organ), David Langston (guitar), Lee Jackson (bass guitar), Alan Turner (drums) and Gary Farr (backing vocals).
Thank you to Julian Purser, Chris Barber discographer and archivist, for personnel and session details (via Chris Barber Messageboard).