Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Essential Early Recordings

Published Tuesday 22nd May 2012
Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Essential Early Recordings
Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Essential Early Recordings

STYLE: Gospel
RATING 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9 9
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 126883-19285
LABEL: Primo PRMCD6118

Reviewed by Tony Cummings

As the music historians have often noted, the guitar playing singing evangelist known as Sister Rosetta Tharpe was not only one of the most important figures in gospel music, she was also a seminal figure in taking the songs and styles of gospel out of the black church and presenting them to the showbiz mainstream. If that wasn't enough her highly rhythmic guitar playing was clearly an influence on people like Chuck Berry. These 40 tracks recorded between the late '30s and late '40s offer an enjoyable snapshot of the sister at the height of her powers. Many of her best songs are here - "This Train", "Up Above My Head, I Hear Music In The Air", "Didn't It Rain" and many more - and although the recordings were pretty primitive and often the guitar is a bit under-recorded Tharpe's bluesy bonhomie comes through loud and clear. If you're starting on an investigation of the either the roots of gospel or the roots of rock this budget line compilation is recommended though be warned, all these tracks and many more are available on the four CD box set 'The Original Soul Sister' that Proper Records released in 2002.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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