Drink House to Church House

In Bishop Dready Manning’s younger days, he was a bluesman, playing bars and juke joints. He sold moonshine whiskey on the side. He was, according to his wife Marie, “out of hand.”

Then, when he was 28 years old, he suffered a hemorrhage. Neighbors and family gathered around his bed to pray over him, and he was saved — physically and spiritually. 

“I had a converted mind right then,” he said.

“The Lord gave me this way of playing, and He told me to use it in his service. So that’s just what I’m doing.” Bishop Dready Manning

For the remaining 50 years of his life, he took his hard-driving style of blues playing and dedicated it to God, singing the gospel with Marie. He served as bishop of the St. Mark Holiness Church in Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and played gospel music there every Sunday with his family. 

“The Lord gave me this way of playing,” he once told us in his velvety voice, “and He told me to use it in his service. So that’s just what I’m doing.” 

Working with Music Maker, Bishop Manning recorded the album “Gospel Train,” which came out in 2007, and contributed tracks to three of our compilations: “Drink House to Church House, Vol. 1,” “Expessin’ the Blues” and “Come So Far.”

“Besides his tremendous musicianship on the guitar and harmonica,” our co-founder Tim Duffy says, “Dready was a powerful singer and songwriter. His recorded work won rave reviews throughout the world and earned the state of North Carolina great praise for being a home to such a wonderful musician.”

Bishop Dready Manning was born on August 10, 1934 and died August 15, 2017. Marie Manning was born on June 29, 1934 and died on February 21, 2022.

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