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Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Rev Utah Smith The Two Wings Preacher
Rev. Utah Smith (1906 - 1965) first was a "traveling evangelist" out of the Churches Of God In Christ before he settled in New Orleans. There he founded the Two Wings Temple and the song "Two Wings" became his "theme song". Smith oftentimes used two wings while singing this song. Even before he came to New Orleans he played an electric guitar. He toured the South and was famous for this particular song. Smith recorded "Two Wings" first in 1944, but the 1953 recording is the more famous one. Sister Rosetta Tharpe stated Smith being one of the great "old" guitar players in gospel music. Smith's "Two Wings" might be a good example of simple southern community singing.Almost nothing else has been known about the life of sanctified electric guitar preacher Elder Utah Smith .“I vividly remember the first time I heard Reverend Utah Smith in 1965 on a 78 rpm record on the Two Wing Temple label. God, what a sound! Screaming vocals by Rev. Smith, heated responses by a chorus of young women, and manic, distorted electric guitar with the volume knob turned all the way up. Since that time I have longed to know more about this mysterious evangelist and pioneer of the electric guitar but have learned very little.It turns out that Smith was a major player in the growth of America's largest predominantly black Pentecostal denomination.”
– Dr. David Evans, The University of Memphis