Week 8 Open Thread


Thanks for a great discussion today – I’m glad we got a chance to hear Sister Rosetta Tharpe and spend a little time talking about Sam Cooke. Ellie asked a question about how it could be that so few people had heard of Sister Rosetta, and I neglected to give the obvious answer, which I think is also the true one: African-American gospel music is very unlikely to be heard by white people. Sam Cooke’s pop breakthrough sent a few of us back to his earlier records, but it wasn’t easy to find those records in white America. Sister Rosetta achieved great fame in the black community: in 1951, twenty thousand people paid to attend her wedding. But in a year when the most popular white singers were Patti Page and Perry Como, there wasn’t much of a chance that Sister Tharpe would hit the charts.

Ellie also mentioned the movie Songcatcher today, but we never got around to talking about it. I haven’t seen it, but have a CD of songs from the movie which is quite good. Your video treat this evening is the Songcatcher trailer. Some music, some violence, a little kissing – all in two minutes and thirty-one seconds! By the way, that’s Iris Dement singing Pretty Saro near the end. She does Let the Mystery Be on your CD this week.


2 Responses to “Week 8 Open Thread”

  1. Trish Says:

    What a pleasant surprise! Love to see this film. Do you know when it was made?

  2. Don Bashline Says:

    It was made in 2000 – I think Ellie mentioned that she got it from Netflix, so it’s still available.

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