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Historical
See other Historical Articles

Title: The Original Rock 'n' Roll Guitar God Was Actually a Goddess
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/2017/12/15/the-o ... al-rock-n-roll-guitar-god-was/
Published: Dec 15, 2017
Author: Jesse Walker
Post Date: 2019-09-21 09:09:12 by Deckard
Ping List: *Music*     Subscribe to *Music*
Keywords: None
Views: 317
Comments: 8

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(Open Culture)

Rock 'n' roll was born and baptized in a smoky nightclub somewhere, but the baby was conceived in a church. Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Little Richard were all raised Pentecostal, and their sounds were shaped by the raucous gospel music they grew up with. And Chuck Berry cribbed his duckwalk from a gospel singer called Sister Rosetta Tharpe, whose guitar style helped lay the groundwork for rock.

Tharpe was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame this week, alongside such worthies as Nina Simone and the Cars. If you find yourself doubting that this honor should be bestowed on a woman who was already in her forties when "Jailhouse Rock" hit the charts, watch this old clip from the NBC show TV Gospel Time, originally broadcast in 1962. For about a minute and 20 seconds, it may seem like an ordinary gospel performance. And then Sister Tharpe starts soloing:

A century ago, the early Pentecostals' multiracial revivals and ecstatic forms of worship sparked a moral panic. In the 1950s, rock 'n' roll provoked a similar reaction. Watching Tharpe play, you may start to see the outlines of more than one hidden continuity.

Just about all the founding fathers of rock 'n' roll—Elvis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash—were Rosetta Tharpe fans. Gayle Wald's Tharpe bio Shout, Sister, Shout! quotes Jerry Lee Lewis falling over with praise for the woman: "I mean, she's singing religious music, but she is singing rock 'n' roll. She's…shakin', man….She jumps it. She's hitting that guitar, playing that guitar and she is singing. I said, 'Whoooo.' Sister Rosetta Tharpe." They say the Devil has all the best tunes, but he had to learn them somewhere.

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)

(2 images)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

I grew up in a Holiness family. Two uncles were preachers.

If you have never attended services at a black Holiness church,you may have attended religious services,but you ain't never been to CHURCH!

In the entire history of the world,the only nations that had to build walls to keep their own citizens from leaving were those with leftist governments.

sneakypete  posted on  2019-09-21   13:07:01 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard (#0)

Wow. Why have I never heard of this woman before today? Amazing.

Thanks.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2019-09-21   18:31:15 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: Deckard (#0)

Deck, thanks for posting. I am like Hank, never heard of her before. In the video posted, looks like she is playing a white SG.

Si vis pacem, para bellum

Rebellion to tyrants is obedience to God.

"If there are no dogs in Heaven, then when I die I want to go where they went." (Will Rogers)

"No one ever rescues an old dog. They lay in a cage until they die. PLEASE save one. None of us wants to die cold and alone... --Dennis Olson "

People that say money can't buy you happiness, have never paid an adoption fee

Stoner  posted on  2019-09-21   20:01:52 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Deckard (#0)

She definitely "had it". I had never heard of her, thanks for the enlightenment.

THIS IS A TAG LINE...Exercising rights is only radical to two people, Tyrants and Slaves. Which are YOU? Our ignorance has driven us into slavery and we do not recognize it.

jeremiad  posted on  2019-09-21   21:09:46 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: Stoner, Hank Rearden (#3)

Deck, thanks for posting. I am like Hank, never heard of her before.

I accidentally stumbled upon this while checking out Reason Magazine's Friday A/V Club video archives.

I'd heard the name before, but thought she was just a Blues singer from the 50's lin the same vein as Big Mama Thornton or Etta James, had no idea she played guitar.

In the video posted, looks like she is playing a white SG.

I think you may be right. In the still picture, does that guitar look like a Les Paul to you?

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-09-21   21:13:16 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: jeremiad (#4)

She definitely "had it". I had never heard of her, thanks for the enlightenment.

Yes she did. I can see how some of the 50's pioneers of rock & roll and rockabilly were influenced by her playing.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-09-21   21:16:10 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Deckard (#5) (Edited)

In the video posted, looks like she is playing a white SG.

I think you may be right. In the still picture, does that guitar look like a Les Paul to you?

If you click on YouTube to open it up there, the poster's notes say:

Sister Rosetta Tharpe - Up Above My Head (I hear music in the air) unknown performance date (appox. around the 1960's) on the show TV Gospel Time with the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church Choir an amazing performance with a Gibson Les Paul SG custom with (polar white finish?)

Even though I have a MexiStrat, I don't know shit about guitars and having tried over and over I can't play a note. My fingers are too short to work the fretboard properly and I don't have the innate talent to make them work anyway. So I content myself by listening and collecting stuff from those who do.

Hank Rearden  posted on  2019-09-23   10:50:08 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: Hank Rearden (#7) (Edited)

Even though I have a MexiStrat, I don't know shit about guitars and having tried over and over I can't play a note.

Ever thought about playing bass? The strings are larger and further apart, and you only have to play one note at a time.

Start playing along with basic rock songs, Eddie Cochran, Bobby Fuller, Chuck Berry, The Clash, etc.

A lot of the music uses the same chord progressions, blues especially.

I started playing bass when I was around 32 - got into a band maybe 3-4 months after that.

Also, if you are just starting out, you might consider a 3/4 size bass guitar.

Government is in the last resort the employment of armed men, of policemen, gendarmes, soldiers, prison guards, and hangmen.
The essential feature of government is the enforcement of its decrees by beating, killing, and imprisoning.
Those who are asking for more government interference are asking ultimately for more compulsion and less freedom.

Deckard  posted on  2019-09-23   11:17:50 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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