It’s Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day!

January 11, 2011 at 5:53 pm (jazz, Jim D, music, The blues)

For no immediately obvious reason, today has been designated Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day…well any excuse is OK by me:

“Pretty good for a woman ain’t it” – pretty damn good for a human being, more like! She could almost turn me into a believer!


  1. Mike Killingworth said,

    Who’s the dude in the rocker? Should I know?

  2. jim denham said,

    I’ve no idea who “Brother Joe” in the rocker was – I suspect just someone brought in to add atmosphere. But the pianist was (I’m told) the legendary Otis Spann.

  3. Bruce said,

    This is the famous 60s Granada television programme shot in the sadly deceased railway station in that southern (Manchester) village of Chorlton cum Hardy where I now reside.

  4. jim denham said,

    Bloody hell, Bruce! You never cease to amaze! I was in fact, going to ask about the setting, which I thought looked strangely like a real railway station…

    You weren’t there yourself, were you?

    Bt: this coming Friday on BBC 4 (TV not radio) at 9pm (repeated 3.30 am): “The Godmother of Rock’n’Roll – Sister Rosetta Tharpe.” I understand it’s very good.

  5. baldric said,

    Blues or Jazz,never could tell the diffrence really.

  6. jim denham said,

    Baldrick: “There are only two kinds of music: good and bad.”. That statement has been variously attributed to Richard Strauss, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. But it doesn’t matter who said it (or who said it first) — the important thing is that it’s true.

    PS: I also like Eddie Condon’s variation on the same theme: “As it enters the ear, does it come in like broken glass or does it come in like honey?”

  7. Matt said,

    The pianist ( and “dude in the rocker”) isn’t Otis Spann but the New Orleans veteran Cousin Joe Pleasants.

  8. Matt said,

    An addition to my comment above: while the “dude in the rocker” is New Orleans pianist Cousin Joe Pleasants (who had just finished performing his ‘Fried Chicken Blues’), the pianist accompanying Sister Rosetta is Otis Spann, see photo here.

  9. jim denham said,

    Having just watched the excellent BBC 4 documentary “The Godmother of Rock’n’Roll”, I was about to apologise to both Mike Killingworth and the ghost of Cousin Joe / Pleasant Joe / Cousin Joe Pleasants, but Matt’s beaten me to it.

    Cousin Joe was on the bill alongside Sister Rosetta at the Chorlton cum Hardy Granada TV “Blues and Gospel Train” show, and allowed himself to be persauaded to don dungarees (he usually wore a suit at gigs) and to play the southern negro in the rockin’ chair: an image that seems very insulting these days, but I suppose was just a necessity of the showbiz life at the time for a black artist like Joe, even in unsegregated UK.

  10. Sister Rosetta Tharpe | foremothers said,

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