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 untold story of 2018 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Sister Rosetta Tharpe, America’s first rock guitar diva

A New York Times Book Review Editor’s Pick

Long before “women in rock” became a media catchphrase, Rosetta Tharpe proved in spectacular fashion that women could rock. Born in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, in 1915, she was gospel’s first superstar and the preeminent crossover figure of its “golden age” (1945-1965). Everyone who saw her perform said she could “make that guitar talk.”

Shout, Sister, Shout! is the first biography of this trailblazing performer who influenced scores of popular musicians, from Elvis Presley and Little Richard to Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt. An African American guitar virtuoso, Tharpe defied categorization. Blues singer, gospel singer, folk artist, and rock-and-roller, she “went electric” in the late 1930s, amazing northern and southern, U.S. and international, and white and black audiences with her charisma and skill. Ambitious and relentlessly public, Tharpe even staged her own wedding as a gospel concert-in a stadium holding 20,000 people!

Wald’s eye-opening biography, which draws on the memories of over 150 people who knew or worked with Tharpe, introduces us to this intriguing and forgotten musical heavyweight, forever altering our understanding of both women in rock and U.S. popular music.
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“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

Shout, Sister, Shout is a revelation, an important document and fascinating story. Praise to Gayle Wald for digging deep into the roots of rock.” -David Ritz, author, Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye

“Before Mahalia Jackson’s name was known and before Edwin Hawkins was born, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a gospel super star. Her unique style of singing, playing guitar and emoting was packaged by Little Richard and the Rolling Stones and led to Rock and Roll. Wald tells ‘Sister’s’ story with understanding, passion and tremendous knowledge of the music and the people. Finally, ‘Sister’ can rest in peace!”
-Horace Clarence Boyer, author of The Golden Age of Gospel


Review: Vibe Magazine - April 1, 2007
“Mixing tireless reporting with nuanced musical and cultural insights, Wald’s Shout, Sister, Shout! is about as good as musical reparations get.”
Review: New York Times Book Review - March 18, 2007
"Rosetta Tharpe's story, salvaged here by Wald, a professor of English at George Washington University, is very much a woman's story, refreshingly free of Svengalis and impresarios. Her picaresque journey from Pentecostal child prodigy in Cotton Plant, Ark., to preteen phenom on Chicago's church circuit to Cotton Club darling to one of gospel's first recording starts in constantly surprising."
Review: Booklist - January 1, 2007
“Ward’s illuminating biography brings the deliciously flamboyant singer to life as gospel’s first superstar and a seminal figure defying musical categorization.”
Review: Library Journal - November 15, 2006
“Wald digs deeply into sensitive personal, cultural, and artistic issues to capture the essence of both the individual and the performer while deftly examining a variety of elements that impacted Tharpe's life and work—from the challenges of being an African American woman to the strictures of the religious environment that gave rise to her gospel sound. This candid and thorough biography will certainly appeal to those familiar with this accomplished performer and will inspire others to seek out her recordings.”

Review: Publishers Weekly - November 13, 2006
“With the publication of this entertaining and enlightening biography, Tharpe—who reputedly played her electric guitar "like a man," withstood failed marriages, racial and sexual discrimination plus economic hardships—should receive the recognition she deserves.”
Review by: Joan Osbourne, Singer-songwriter - June 14, 2006
"A book like this is long overdue. Rosetta Tharpe was a major star and a huge influence on the musicians of her day. Listen to her recordings and you can hear all the building blocks of rock and roll."
Review by: Bonnie Raitt, Singer/songwriter - June 14, 2006
"Rosetta was one of the most beloved and influential artists ever in gospel music... and she blazed a trail for the rest of us women guitarists with her indomitable spirit and accomplished, engaging style. She has long been deserving of wider recognition and a place of honor in the field of music history."
Review by: Isaac Hayes, Singer/songwriter - June 14, 2006
"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."
Review by: Greil Marcus, author:Mystery Train:Images of America in Rock-n-Roll - June 14, 2006
"Rosetta Tharpe was larger than life--but sometimes, as Gayle Wald tells the story, she was larger than herself. Wald's account of Tharpe's 1951 marriage in Griffith Stadium in Washington, D. C.-she signed a contract for the wedding, then went looking for the husband-is a classic American tall tale, except that it happened, and, in these pages, you are there."

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Shout, Sister, Shout!

ISBN: 978-080700984-0
Publication Date: 2/15/2007
Pages: 264
Size:6 x 9 Inches (US)
Price:  $25.95
Format: Cloth
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