Beacon Press: Shout, Sister, Shout!
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Shout, Sister, Shout!

The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Author: Gayle F. Wald

The essential biography of America's godmother of rock ‘n’ roll whose exuberant singing and guitar playing captivated audiences and inspired generations of musicians from the 40s to today.

When Shout, Sister, Shout! was first published in 2007, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was resting in an unmarked grave in a Philadelphia cemetery. That lack of a headstone symbolized so much of what was egregiously wrong about so many stories of American music, particularly the genre we call rock or rock-and-roll. It’s a genre that wouldn’t exist without Tharpe, though her contribution was forgotten for many years.

The biography finally tells the story of the queer, Black trailblazer who defied categorization and influenced scores of popular musicians, from Elvis Presley and Little Richard to Bonnie Raitt, The Alabama Shakes, and Lizzo. The author draws on memories from more than 150 people who knew Tharpe, as well as scraps of information gleaned from newspapers, archives, and memorabilia, to piece together a story that forever alters our understanding of women in rock and of US popular music.
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“I talk about Sister Rosetta Tharpe all the time. She was black and queer and big and invented rock and roll.”

“Wald will give you the story, from small-town Arkansas to the biggest stages in the country.”
—David Remnick, The New Yorker

“[Tharpe] has long been deserving of wider recognition and a place of honor in the field of music history.”
—Bonnie Raitt

“Mixing tireless reporting with nuanced and cultural insights, Wald’s Shout, Sister, Shout! is about as good as musical reparations get.”
—Tony Green, Vibe

“Rosetta Tharpe was one of my first influences, one of the first people I heard sing. I’m glad Gayle Wald has done a book on her because people need to know.”
—Isaac Hayes

“Wald makes a good case that Tharpe’s R&B spirituals played a key role in inventing rock.”
Entertainment Weekly

“Seeing Sister Rosetta . . . really gave me a sense that this was a birthright of mine.”
—Celisse Henderson

Preface to the 2023 Edition

Preface: The Lonesome Road

1. Cotton Plant (1915–1920)
2. Got on My Travelin’ Shoes (1920–1937)
3. From Spirituals to Swing (1938–1940)
4. Shout, Sister, Shout (1940–1946)

BRIDGE: “She Made That Guitar Talk”

5. Little Sister (1947–1949)
6. At Home and on the Road (1948–1950)
7. “The World’s Greatest Spiritual Concert” (1950–1951)
8. Sister in Opryland (1952)
9. Don’t Leave Me Here (1953–1957)

BRIDGE: “The Men Would Stand Back”

10. Rebirth and Revival (1957–1964)
11. Riding the Gospel Train (1960–1970)
12. I Looked Down the Line (1970–1973)

Epilogue: Vibrations, Strong and Mean

Epilogue to the 2023 Edition



Selected Discography
Credits and Permissions



Shout, Sister, Shout!

ISBN: 978-080701184-3
Publication Date: 1/31/2023
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $18.95
Format: Paperback
Availability: In stock.