i'm reading a bio on sister rosetta tharpe called shout sister, shout! that's really changing the way i see her as a rock and roll prototype and the way i see myself as a musician and performer.
look at how amazingly cool she is!
wierdly enough, she and i are a lot alike. we both grew up as members of the pentecostal church, in the sanctified church, otherwise known as C.O.G.I.C. we both had our first moments as vocalists and performers there -- although the image of her as a 5 year old standing on a piano and wielding a guitar is pretty stultifying. she's very much a holly roller and not surprisingly, she's a showgirl, a real comedienne and entertainer, a flashy, schmaltzy frontperson that believes in entertaining the audience. the photo to the left is pretty cool but in my favorite images of her, she's got on a long elegant glittery gown, she's wearing beautiful jewelry, she's flawlessly made up and gorgeous, and she's got a bonafide electric rock and roll guitar -- not some folksy, quiet, acoustic number.
i must say, i for one have never understood the urge to not dress up when appearing onstage. i'm the one that dresses up to get to the gig, so i can dress up all over again. any excuse to wear a gown of some sort -- even if it's denim -- and i'm probably going to take it.
in the videos i've seen, she's slinging her guitar with an authority and ease that's positively ballsy. and of course, absolutely unheard of, then and now. she's not a quiet strumming wallflower. everything about her is loud, from her amped up guitars to her over-the-top showmanship. and i love loud.
this is really inspiring me to dig in and continue to learn how to play guitar. but looking at the video clip below and watching her go at it is enough to make anyone want to plug in and rock out.
guitar-slinging blackgrrls have always been -- and continue to be -- legion. there are a lot of us out there to inspire me. (memphis minnie, anyone?)