Friday, September 9, 2011

Rita "Matoka" Thielmann

Artist: Rita "Matoka" Thielmann
LP: Come On and Live!
Song: "God Speaking to You"
[ listen ]

After spending the night in an old motel bungalow just south of Akron, stumbling into the Football Hall of Fame parade in downtown Canton, checking out the amazing carvings of Ernest "Mooney" Warther at his museum in Dover, and then having breakfast in a large, reportedly haunted mansion, I decided to visit the paperweight museum in the quaint little town of Cambridge. Sadly, the museum isn't open on Saturdays, so I drove down the street to the Wags to Riches Thrift Shop to look for records instead.

There's lots to enjoy about this 1970 Rita "Matoka" Thielmann Christian pop record—like the groovy, organ-heavy tunes, the white knee-high boots Rita's sporting on the cover, and the cautious praise and slightly misguided liner notes and reviews on the back. For example: if Rita is indeed a genuine "Indian Princess," then why the quote marks? Dr. Paul Weaver raves—"Rita is perhaps the most exciting soloist I have heard in several years." But then again, perhaps not. Congressman Don H. Clausen says Rita "has one of the most beautiful voices I have heard in a long time." I said ONE of the most. Only composer, arranger, and reviewer Audrey Mieir seems to recognize that, despite Rita's obvious personal talent, ambition, and charm, she's just another in a long list of young and naive minority women who've ended up being taken advantage of by powerful white men. One of my favorite things about the album is how, at the very end of "God Speaking to You," it sounds like God actually reaches down, grabs Rita by the hair, and suddenly yanks her up to heaven.

 [ Wags to Riches Thrift Shop — Cambridge, OH ]

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