anybody else to play the music like he did,’ Molton recalled, ‘but God works in very mysterious ways. I met Eleanor and she could play that music. I believe it was Ed’s wishes for us to play together. It has been much joy to me, and it keeps Ed’s spirit alive.’
need to.’ At this time, the DC Commission gave Molton a grant to make a record entitled ‘I Want To Be Ready To Hear God When He Calls,’ a spiritual album which was released on Lively Stone Records. Molton sold copies of her record on the street.
Whilst touring The United States, The Rolling Stones heard Molton perform and became immediate fans. They hired her as backstage entertainment before their 1981 concert at the Capital Centre. That same year, Molton recorded some tracks in her home with The Truth Band for German Jazz and Blues record Label L+R who featured her music on a release called Living Country Blues USA, Vol. 3. She received further recognition when The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities presented her with four awards, and in 1987, at 79 years of age, Flora Molton left the streets of Washington to embark on a tour of Europe.
The tour took Molton to festivals in Germany, Belgium, France and the UK. Accompanied by Eleanor Ellis and Country Blues musician Archie Edwards, they wowed their European crowds. Whilst in France, Molton and Ellis were
Looking back at her early years of singing blues, Molton recalled ‘I was so young, in a wilder, different life then.’ She explained that she no longer performed the blues, describing her music as a mixture of gospel songs and what she called ‘truth’ music, which dealt with the struggles of daily life. Despite this, blues was ever present in her guitar style and vocal approach. Her songs didn’t have a hymn structure, but they were spiritual and uplifting.
In the late 1980’s Molton began to experience liver problems. Before she became ill, she had been scheduled for a second tour of Europe but sadly she was too sick to go. Molton was in her 80’s and she continued her downtown street performances until six months before her death in 1990.
Flora Molton’s legacy continues in Washington
“I felt like one day they were going to stop fighting”
recorded and featured on ‘Radio France’. The broadcast impressed a French recording label called Ocora who specialised in field recordings and world music. Ocora recorded an album for Molton entitled Gospel Songs (with Eleanor Ellis), which is a great celebration of female talent!
DC and around the globe. Having been a part of Washington DC’s music scene for more than forty years, Molton was well known and loved by the generations of music lovers who saw her there. Her songs brought a message of hope and perseverance to the city, which uplifted her listeners. Her presence downtown can still be seen in a public artwork series that transforms old call boxes into works of art. Artist Charles Bergen created a Bas-relief image of Flora Molton inside a call box at Thirteenth and G streets N.W for all to see and remember her by.
The following year she was back in her regular spot on the street corner in Downtown DC, still singing to support herself: ‘I have to do it,’ she said. ‘It ain’t that I just want to sit out here. I
Although Molton preferred her musical style to be known as ‘Truth Music’ she was a founding member of the DC Blues Society who recognised that her unique brand of ‘spiritual and