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Shout, Sister, Shout: A Tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe Enhanced

4.4 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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The music of the late Sister Rosetta Tharpe is one of those buried treasures of Americana periodically exhumed to delight the previously unaware. Nominally a gospel singer, she was in fact a triple-threat performer: singer, guitarist, and composer. Of course, the respectful and tasteful covers by the all-female roster here reveal only Tharpe's compositional contributions. Festival staples like "This Train," sung by Janis Ian (with some snappy guitar picking of her own), and "Precious Memories," done in haunting but near tuneless fashion by Sweet Honey in the Rock, are joined by spirited renditions of lesser known Tharpe originals like "Beams of Heaven" (taken to church by Phoebe Snow) and "Up Above My Head" (Maria Muldaur). Other contributors like Victoria Williams, Rory Block, Odetta, and Michelle Shocked bring Tharpe's repertoire into their own stylistic realms. Tharpe's former singing partner Marie Knight most closely approaches the fervor of her late friend on "Didn't It Rain," with Jimmy Vivino hinting at Tharpe's guitar style. Thankfully the CD includes an MPEG of the Sister herself singing and rocking out on electric guitar with an energy unequaled elsewhere on the record. This video and her fascinating story as told by Gayle Wald in the extensive notes make Shout, Sister, Shout! a must-have. --Michael Ross
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (August 12, 2003)
  • Original Release Date: August 12, 2003
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Enhanced
  • Label: M.C. Records
  • ASIN: B0000ALFZ3
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #174,020 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Barbara Simpson on January 22, 2004
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
An EXTRAORDINARY album! It is an absolute must for those interested in true "roots" music. You will find yourself filing it next to your soundtrack from "Down From The Mountain" or "O'Brother Where Art Thou?" On the other hand, you may file it with your Blues music. But it is Gospel?
The truth is...to my ear... this album is an excellent demonstration of the interrelationship of Gospel, Blues and Jazz. And the performers! Simply the best available today. For those that are not familiar with some of them, you may find some new "friends." I was especially pleased to see that Angela Strehli was included.
You will also be treated to an excellent history on Sister Rosetta Tharpe...Like Who Knew?
There is also an extra treat included for those with computers--an MPEG file of Sister Rosetta Tharpe singing "Down By The Riverside." Simply open Windows Media or Real Audio, and select the file from your drive to play it. You won't be disappointed.
Finally, a special thanks to Mark Carpentieri and Maria Muldaur for bringing this music to life.
Frank Simpson
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Format: Audio CD
My first introduction to Tharpe was back on an LP entitled "Sister Rosetta Tharpe" (Foremothers Volume 8, Rosetta Records.) I listened before reading the liner notes and at several points thought, "Is that Chuck Berry or somebody backing her up?"

To my surprise it wasn't Chuck Berry, it was Sister Rosetta herself. Lord, how that woman could swing a song! As a singer, guitarist and composer, she was the first real gospel superstar.

With performances by Phoebe Snow, Janis Ian, Odetta and others, this CD is a fitting and stellar tribute to Tharp's compositional skills, and it even includes an MPEG video of Tharpe's live performance of "Down By the Riverside" back in the 1960's from TV Gospel Time. The liner notes include a 4-page bio by Gayle Wald, author of a forthcoming biography.
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If you know about Sister Rosetta Tharpe already, there's not much more to be said. If you don't, then start investigating and listening. She was a ground-breaker. Shout, Sister, Shout is a tribute album. The songs are all related to Tharpe and are pulled from her repertoire. The singers involved with this project are as much alike as they are unalike, but one can trace a thread from each of them to the legacy Tharpe left. The highlights here are the songs by Maria Muldaur, I Looked Down The Road (And I Wondered), Up Above My Head (Muldaur is joined by the gutsy Tracy Nelson), and My Journey To The Sky (Muldaur is joined by Bonnie Raitt on guitar.) Phoebe Snow's (joined by the Holmes Brothers) Beams Of Heaven is sensational, and is even more moving now listening to it after Snow's recent death. The oft overlooked Angela Strehli's That's All and Joan Osborne's Nobody's Fault But Mine are straight on, "knock-'em-dead", performances. But, its Marie Knight's Didn't It Rain that steals the show and closes the recording. (Knight often performed with Tharpe.)

Don't expect any of these artists to try and mimic Tharpe, nor was the intent to recreate her sound. These women (along with The Holmes Brothers)do things their own way while tipping their collective hat towards Tharpe and acknowledging the ground she broke for them.

As a bonus there's a video of Tharpe performing Down By The Riverside.

Treat yourself to this recording!

In conclusion, since this CD was recorded and released in 2003, three of the performers have died - Marie Knight, Odetta and most recently Phoebe Snow. Their legacies will live on and we already know what barriers they broke. I'm sure that there are many of today's singers who would list any, or all three of them, as great influences on their own musical journeys.
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I only recently learned about Sister Rosetta Tharpe. This tribute is fabulous! If you're a fan of REAL singing, buy this and you will not be disappointed. The range is great from covers that differ only slightly from Sister Rosetta's original version to out-there takes (like Joan Osborne and Toshi Reagon). LOVE IT!!
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Although I am a long time and seemingly knowledgeable aficionado of blues music and its offshoots like folk, gospel and jazz I was not consciously aware of the work of Sister Rosetta Tharpe until I saw her frantic guitar performance film clip as a constant promo feature of Martin Scorsese's six-part PBS series on the history of the blues in 2003. Needless to say I jumped out to get this tribute album by many female vocalists that I was certainly aware of like those featured here Bonnie Raitt and Maria Muldaur. (This was the only CD I could find at the time locally featuring her work.)

This is a good introduction to her work by women who truly appreciated here and does some justice to this unjustly neglected woman vocalist who, moreover, played some very rocking guitar back in the day. It made me ask when I did find one of her albums later, as it has done with others who have reviewed her work- Who is that guy backing her up? Well, its Sister backing up Sister, so that tells much of the tale of her skills right there. Here "Beams Of Heaven" and "Above My Head" stick out. Listen to this and then go get a few Rosetta CD's.
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