"Nobody's fault but mine/Nobody's fault but mine/If I die and my soul be lost/Nobody's fault but mine"
— from "Nobody's Fault but Mine"
Traditional gospel music has always had an uneasy relationship with its jazzier and bluesier offspring. Favored sons or daughters who blend faith-inspired lyrics with the innovative looks and sounds of the day are likely to find themselves in a lonely place—languishing in the no-man's-land between the sacred and the secular music worlds until what is considered "sacrilegious" becomes the standard (usually about 20 years!).
Although artists like Tonéx, Kirk Franklin, the Winans and Andraé Crouch are relatively recent examples of this phenomenon, the story of Sister Rosetta Tharpe is one of the more poignant ones.
This tribute album, released 30 years after Tharpe's death, is a testimony to the impact of this original church-grown chick-with-a-guitar whose gritty, expressive style influenced artists as diverse as Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, B.B. King, Johnny Cash and Isaac Hayes—and that's the short, male list.
On this tribute album, Maria Muldaur is one of several women influenced by Tharpe who perform a collection of her best-loved songs. The enhanced CD also includes footage of Tharpe performing "Down By The Riverside" circa 1960.
Shout, Sister, Shout! opens with Joan Osborne's earthy, folksy rendition of "Nobody's Fault But Mine," followed by Muldaur and Bonnie Raitt in "My Journey to the Sky." Other outstanding tracks include Toshi Reagon's hard-driving interpretation of "Rock Me," one of the songs that put the gospel-circuit child prodigy on the map as a young recording artist. This song was originally written and performed by Thomas Dorsey under the name "Hide ...1