I couldn’t believe it when I first heard the news.
Rhiannon Giddens was going to start her Spring 2016 US Tour here in southeast New Hampshire. The singer, fiddler, banjo player and songwriter was scheduled to perform on Tuesday, April 5 at Phillips Exeter Academy, in near-by Exeter.
I immediately wrote the event on my calendar. Having twice seen Rhiannon Giddens perform with her other band, the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Drops, this was a show I didn’t want to miss. As the date got closer, I started heartily recommending the concert to my students.
The supremely-talented Rhiannon Giddens was backed that chilly April evening by a superb band – Hubby Jenkins on guitar, banjo & mandolin; Rowan Corbett on guitar & bones; Jason Sypher on acoustic bass; the astonishing Jamie Dick on drums & percussion; and a cellist who was doing his first show with the group (and who’s name, unfortunately, has escaped both me and the internet). The six musicians filled the hallowed hall and transported the audience with their relentless energy, astounding skills and dazzling versatility.
The set list for the show featured material from Rhiannon’s excellent first solo album, Tomorrow Is My Turn (released in February, 2015) and Factory Girl, a five-song EP released in November, 2015. Among the evening’s many highlights were outstanding renditions of songs from Odetta, Dolly Parton, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Patsy Cline.
For me, the most memorable performance from the show was Rhiannon’s stunning turn on “Factory Girl,” a traditional Irish song to which she had added additional lyrics.
Rhiannon’s cover of the Patsy Cline song, “She’s Got You,” was a big favorite among my students. Since April, I have helped three of them each learn how to play and sing a solo, acoustic guitar & vocals arrangement of the song.
For the version of “She’s Got You” that appears on Tomorrow Is My Turn, Rhiannon states in the liner notes from the CD that she and Hubby Jenkins “recast (the song) in a sort of old-timey R&B vibe.”
Check it out for yourself!
Rhiannon Giddens is accompanied on that track by: Jay Bellerose, drums; Dennis Crouch, acoustic bass; Colin Linden & T-Bone Burnett, guitars; Keefus Ciancia, keyboards; Gabe Witcher, fiddle; Jack Ashford, tambourine; Darrell Leonard & Lester Lovitt, trumpets; Tom Peterson, Joe Sublet & Jim Thompson, saxophones; and Jean Witherspoon & Tata Vega, background vocals.
“She’s Got You” was written in 1961 by the Nashville, Tennessee-based songwriter, Hank Cochran.
Hank presented the song to Country singer Patsy Cline, claiming that it would be her next #1 hit. (Hank Cochran & Harlan Howard had written Ms. Cline’s first #1 hit, “I Fall To Pieces.”) Patsy immediately loved the song and recorded it on December 17, 1961 in Nashville, TN.
“She’s Got You” (b/w “Strange”) was released as a single on January 10, 1962. Before long, it did indeed reach the #1 spot on Billboard’s Hot C&W Sides Country records chart.
Here is that recording!
Patsy Cline included “She’s Got You” on her August, 1962 LP, Sentimentally Yours.
Patsy Cline was born Virginia Patterson Hensley on September 8, 1932 in Gore, Virginia. She passed away on March 5, 1963.
Hank Cochran was born Garland Perry Cochran on August 2, 1935 in Isola, Mississippi. He passed away on July 15, 2010.
Rhiannon Giddens was born on February 21, 1977 in Greensboro, North Carolina.
In case you were wondering, Patsy Cline sang the song in the Key of F. Rhiannon Giddens set the song higher, in the Key of Ab. Each of my three students preferred going vocally lower to the Key of D while fingering the guitar chords in the Key of G with their instrument capoed up at the seventh fret.
In case you were wondering…