Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Up Ahead My Head, and Documentary

Since my last post on the insanely great Sister Rosetta Tharpe, I’ve come to learn a great deal about her thanks to a wonderful hour long documentary on her produced by the BBC. The documentary tracks her sensational life and career in complete loving detail. The main thing you take away from the film is that Rosetta was light years ahead of her time. Not only was she a ferocious electric blues guitar player, an anomaly if there ever was one for a female black singer, she was a lesbian in a time and place where such a reality was of the utmost secrecy. Like many women of her time, she had several marriages to men, most notably holding one in a huge ceremony held in a raucous Washington DC baseball stadium. These were basically sham marriages though, with her various male partners abusing or controlling her in some way, either out of cruelty, or robbing her money. Her real heart belonged to other women, and if her secret got out, it would have spelled doom for her career as a gospel singer. The documentary, which I’m presenting below, does a fantastic job of going into the details of Rosetta’s incredible life and her incredible music. I’ve also included one last full clip of Rosetta shredding guitar for the gospel stomper, “Up Above My Head.” All great stuff, all well worth your time.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Awesome Thoughts Go Here