...Sister Rosetta Tharpe. A documentary that was shown on BBC4 a couple of nights ago. If you haven't seen it, it's a must. Whilst you couldn't exactly call her an unsung hero, her influence on Rock and Roll, Blues and even modern day music isn't discussed widely today and it's a crying shame. It turns out that Rosetta, a bit of a visionary and a rebel for her time, probably influenced musicians such as Elvis Presley, Little Richard, Jimmy Hendrix and many UK Jazz and Blues aficionados in the 1960's.
Like most creative people, she lived a 'colourful life', including a couple of marriages and several relationships with Men and Women (which seems contrary to her deep religious beliefs but hey, ho). Unlike a lot of Black artists in the 30's/40's and 50's, she was relatively successful and seemed to have made a comfortable living from her trade. Which, given this lady's skills on the guitar (jeez, she can bang out a tune), piano and arranging, should come as no surprise. Check out, this video of one of her more popular songs (original version, which was a duet with Marie Knight, downloaded and on my ipod now!) Sister Rosetta Tharpe, I salute you!