Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Sister Rosetta

All roads lead to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, or at least they seem to at the moment. Just before Christmas a friend sent me a link to a baizarre video of a woman playing a guitar on Chorlton railway station in Manchester, in 1963. Then, lo and begold, BBC4 decide to show a documentary entitled The Godmother of Rock n' Roll: Sister Rosetta Tharpe. According to the BBC "In 2008 the state governor of Pennsylvania declared that henceforth January 11th will be Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day in recognition of her remarkable musical legacy". Her career spanned several decades and saw her performing with Cab Calloway and Benny Goodman, rock and roll stars in the 50' and blues artists in the 60's. Living Blues say "she was the first major gospel singer to tour Europe" and although she suffered a stroke while on tour in 1970 her speech was impaired but her singing wasn't. Apparently she was Johnny Cash's favourite singer, and it's easy to see why.

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