Bishop Dready Manning Gospel Train

  • First release to vinyl – 150g Pink Vinyl
  • 10% of purchases donated to Music Maker Relief Foundation
  • Numbered

You may have been going to church all your life, but chances are you have never attended a church with as much spirit as Bishop Dready Manning’s St. Mark Holiness Church outside Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina. Born in 1934, Bishop Manning, a traditional guitarist, harmonica player, and gospel singer, has infused his church with music and spirited singing, often tunes he has written himself.

“The Lord gave me this way of playing,” he explains in his velvety voice,” and He told me to use it in his service. So that’s just what I’m doing.” But Bishop Manning didn’t always use his extraordinary musical talent to serve the Lord. In his early days, he was a blues musician playing in clubs and piccolo joints and selling moonshine and he was “out of hand,” according to his wife Marie, who is an integral part of his church.

A big change came when he suffered a mysterious hemorrhage in 1962 and was saved both physically and spiritually when some neighbors came to pray over him. “I had a converted mind right then,” he says.

His family is a big part of his musical life – he and Marie and their five children toured for years and produced numerous 45s, albums, tapes and CDs. They still sing together in church every Sunday. His church services are rebroadcast on both radio and cable TV and he has a recording studio as well.

Timothy Duffy sums it up when he says, “Besides his tremendous musicianship of guitar and harmonica, Dready is a powerful singer and songwriter. His recorded work has been given rave reviews throughout the world and earned the state of North Carolina great praise for being a home to such a wonderful musician.”

– Miriam Sauls

Music Maker Relief Foundation


The Music Maker Relief Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit, was founded to preserve the musical traditions of the South by directly supporting the musicians who make it, ensuring their voices will not be silenced by poverty and time. Music Maker will give future generations access to their heritage through documentation and performance programs that build knowledge and appreciation of America’s musical traditions.


The seeds of Music Maker were planted while Tim Duffy was studying folklore at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He was introduced to two things there that set the course for the eventual founding of the organization:

1) a vibrant community of traditional blues musicians, and 2) preservationist traditions focused on documenting and archiving rather than taking care of the artists themselves, the actual bearers of tradition.

Without any clear idea of where he was headed, Tim began forging his own people-centered approach to preservation. When he finally-after a prolonged search-found and heard the elusive legend Guitar Gabriel, he set about trying to introduce Gabe and his music to any possible audience. They made a demo cassette and began playing “every little juke joint and bar in North and South Carolina.”