Saturday, 29 January 2011

Rock n' Roll Sister

Its not very often that I buy new music on the spur of the moment, but after watching a BBC4 documentary about Sister Rosetta Tharpe, I'm complete convert. She was such a talented guitarist and broke new ground in the 1930s and 1940s,  temporarily leaving her background in gospel to play with jazz bands and performers such as Cab Calloway in front of nightclub audiences, thus shocking those who had known her from her early days playing in front of church congregations.

Sister Rosetta died in 1973 leaving behind her a musical legacy that has influenced many international muscians such as Elvis, Little Richard and Aretha Franklin.

Below is a clip of her singing at a Manchester railway platform - a long way away from those glitzy clubs.

What an amazing woman.


  1. She was good wasn't she - I saw the same programme
    Julie xxxxxx

  2. I watched this program too. What an astounding woman. I was completely blown away by her, guitar playing skills, that lady rocked even before rock and roll!

  3. I saw this advertised, I'll have to see it on the I-Player as it looks fascinating.
    Jon says thanks for the Black Country link, he loved it. xxx

  4. Julie & Wendy - She seemed to have a very charismatic aura about her when singing. From the footage, it looks like she really connected with her audience.

    Vix - I can definately recommend watching it - she'll blow you away. BTW - I'm glad Jon liked the link - I thought it was a great programme. I shall eat pork scratchings with new respect now!

  5. A great post!
    I'm coming to this late, and I missed the documentary on BBC Four - and for the moment it is not on BBC iPlayer for some reason - but I hope and expect it to be reshown on the channel again soon.
    Thank goodness for such features which keep alive the music of such inspiring great artists.

  6. Lost Jimmy - Keep your eye open on the BBC4 listings as they repeat programmes quite often. Its true about such programmes, as otherwise I probably would never have come across Sister Rosetta and her music.

  7. This is strange I thought I left a message yesterday to tell you that Didn't it rain is one of my favourite Gospel songs ever. ANyway here is me saying it again! Great choice of a musician to blog aout!

  8. Missed the programme - but shall definitly be looking into her music :)

  9. Thanks Daniele and LandGirl - I love 'Didn't it rain' and her performance puts a smile on my face - bless her!


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