The Gospel of the Blues
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
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With 18 Decca tracks from 1938-1948, this CD is not only a good survey of some of Tharpe's best work, but one of the best compilations of any sort to illustrate gospel's crossover into blues, R&B, and secular music in general. Admittedly that's not the busiest cross-fertilization of popular music, but it's not one that's given much attention. And if you think you might not like this because Tharpe is sometimes described as a gospel artist, think again, for this is fine stuff on any terms, mixing the devotional exuberance of gospel with first-rate accompaniment blending blues, early R&B, and at times some swing jazz. In truth, sometimes you won't think of this as gospel at all, such is its rhythmic verve, even on the half-dozen numbers with nothing but guitar in the backup. Some other tracks find her backed by the groups of Lucky Millinder and Sammy Price, and the jubilant "Shout, Sister, Shout!" comes off as a missing link between gospel, jazz, blues, and the birth of rock & roll. "Trouble in Mind," "This Train," "Down by the Riverside," and "Up Above My Head I Hear Music in the Air" are other highlights of a set with no shortage of them.
Born: 20 March 1915 in Cotton Plant, AR
Genre: Christian & Gospel
Years Active: '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s