Sunday, March 7, 2010
With the power and beauty of her performances, Nadine Rae is sure to draw a crowd from any stage she steps on.
And the respect and affection that people have for the legendary blues and gospel singer have never been more evident than since Christmas Eve, when a bad accident left her unable to work.
Supporters organized benefit concerts for Rae around the D.C. area.
Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark and his Blues All-Stars, the Dru Lore Band and Stacy Brooks, among others, took the stage for an event held January 16 at the Old Bowie Town Grille. A second concert featuring the Michael McHenry Tribe, Patty Reese, Dean Rosenthal, and Rae’s old group, the Rich Chorne Band, was held at The Whiskey in Annapolis on March 7.
And guitarist singer Memphis Gold said he will host one on April 11 at the American Legion in Silver Spring
Why such an outpouring of support?
"Nadine is a legend around here,” said Clark, one of the organizers of the Old Bowie Town Grille event. ”She’s done a lot of events for people so I just assumed....I knew people would turn out for her event."
Clark and other performers also cite the respect area musicians have for Rae as a singer.
"Great performers can project their emotions through the air and the audience receives them and they're not just playing in front of people, they’re playing for the people," said Dru Lore. "And she's one of those."
“She’s a great singer,” said Memphis Gold. “I think she’s got the potential to be a blues diva. She’s kind of a jazzy blues singer.”
The accident, in which Rae’s car flipped over multiple times after she hit a patch of ice while driving in Anne Arundel County, left her with serious eye injuries, said her friend, Rita Mansfield-Green. Eye surgery such as the type Rae underwent tends to effect the sinuses, said Mansfield-Green , coordinator of “Blue Monday,” a series of blues concerts held weekly at Washington’s Westminister Church. That in turn hampers breathing, impairing one's singing ability, she said.
“She’s struggling because she’s not getting any money for gigs,” said Mansfield-Green.
Born in Baltimore, Rae made her first recording when she was ten, singing with the Recording Choir of the First Mt. Olive Freewill Baptist Church. She later sang with several gospel groups in the D.C-. Baltimore area.
Gospel artists she has worked with include Olivia Branch Walker, the Hawkins family, the late Hardie Clifton of the Brooklyn All-Stars, the late Willie Neal Johnson & the Gospel Keynotes, and the late Gloria Spencer, among others.
As a blues singer, she has worked with many of the best, including Ronnie Baker Brooks, Bobby Parker, Ron Holloway, Charles "Big Daddy" Stallings, Tom Principato, Tommy Castro and Deanna Bogart. She has opened for Shemekia Copeland, Kenny Wayne Shepherd & Double Trouble, B.B. King, Jennifer Holliday, the late Oliva Branch Walker and the Rev. Timothy Wright.
Ida Campbell, a blues singer who also hosts a blues show on WPFW-FM radio, said any full time artist could find themselves in Nadine's current situation.
Full time artists don't have any other means of income," she said. "Their performance and entertainmentship is what they do and that's how they get paid. They're not able to work, they don't get paid they don't have money to meet their necessities and their bills.”