She’s been referred to as The Godmother of Rock and Roll. She influenced Aretha Franklin, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Little Richard and Isaac Hayes and I accidentally discovered her music while looking for a video by My Morning Jacket. It’s a travesty that the music and legend of Sister Rosetta Tharpe isn’t more well known.
Her music was an intoxicating blend of Gospel, Jazz and Blues and her performances were characterized by soulful gospel singing, virtuoso guitar playing and incredible showmanship. It sounded like Rock and Roll way before there was Rock and Roll.
In 2004 NPR did a piece on Tharpe and a recent PBS documentary in their American Masters series titled, The Godmother of Rock and Roll hopes to finally shine a light on the incredible life of a musician whose legacy needs to be celebrated and recognized.
Check out this incredible video recored live in Manchester, England in 1964.
…and here is the documentary The Godmother of Rock and Roll directed by Mick Csáky