Sister Rosetta Tharpe: This Train

January 11, 2014 at 6:43 pm (comedy, jazz, Jim D, religion, Sheer joy, song, Soul, The blues)

Today is Sister Rosetta Tharpe Day.

Here she is, playing and singing ‘This Train’: the sound’s a bit low, so you’ll need to listen carefully. But I’ve chosen this clip because it gives some wonderful glimpses of the Sister’s facial expressions and her great comedic sense – as, for instance, when she gestures towards the piano player at the part of the lyric about “whisky drinkers”:

She could almost make me a believer.


  1. Sister Rosetta Tharpe: This Train | OzHouse said,

    […] Jan 11 2014 by admin […]

  2. Keith Tanner said,

    What a talent and what a guitarist! Thanks for posting this it is a recording I had never seen before. I suppose you are familiar with the Granada TV clips available on Youtube where she performs on a crudely modified Manchester railway station in the middle of a thunderstorm. On some clips the claps of thunder have not been edited out. Great stuff!

  3. Jim Denham said,

    ‘Shiraz’ discussed the Granada TV show here:

  4. Robin Carmody said,


    That Granada – alone among UK broadcasters at the time – brought over a lot of the great figures of black American music when the BBC and ATV, for completely different reasons, wouldn’t have dared seems to me to fit in with Dave Haslam’s writing about Manchester itself; that the city, to a greater or lesser extent usually alongside Liverpool, has stood against old-establishment wariness of *all* American pop-cultural influence (subsequently largely defeated by Thatcherism), against Old Left belief (strongest in West & South Yorkshire, north-east England, South Wales and Scotland) that this music represented false consciousness, a distraction from the struggle etc., *and* against the bland, whitebread version of American pop culture favoured by ATV (while Granada were bringing over the likes of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, ATV preferred to bring over all the Pat Boones and Bobby Vees for the Palladium show).

    Indeed Granada vs. ATV – or the Bernsteins vs. the Grades; ITV, like Hollywood, inspired much of the anger it did among the old, pre-Thatcher establishment because of the strong Jewish role in its creation, and the Pilkington Report and subsequent Television Acts may have similar roots to the Hays Code, although I do think they unarguably made ITV better – may be a classic example of the battle between the two main tendencies among Jewish migrants; between the radicalisation and broadening of capitalism through allowing new, progressive ideas into it, and between simple acquiescence. The Bernsteins represent the admirable tendency among Jews which this blog has rightly attempted to rehabilitate on the Left, and reclaim the Left as the true allies of the Jews and the Right as mere strategic allies and fairweather friends, whereas the Grades represent the (proto-Murdochian) tendency which inadvertently gave rise to the “new anti-Semitism” among some Leftists.

    Also, because Granada (unlike either the BBC or ATV, again for different reasons) archived most of its output it can actually take its full place in modern history, which wouldn’t really be possible had it been thrown in a skip some time before Edward Heath became PM.

  5. james L davis said,

    Tharpe Sister Rosetta Tharpe is only Celeb My parents ever seen! We were reared in Sharecrop (South Carolina Low Country) and sioster rosetta from CottonPlant < Arkansas! She heard a school Mate of Mine Bass and wanted him to Lv hs to join her and he did join her and Mrs Mahalia fina Tour! Some sez mrs Tharpe " I seen a strange man the other day is the 1st basic chords of Rock in Roll! We have many Jewels In Constellation of workers Talents which one reason We are Feared! all my best james L strike the Muberry to get the Fig is Mao Zedong james L washn dc

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