Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 1 (1938-1941) by Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Label: Document Records.
Release Date: May 18, 1995.
Releases: February 20, 1996.
Recording Time: 72 minutes.
Recording Date: October 31, 1938 - December 1, 1941.

Styles: Black Gospel, Classic Female Blues, Blues Gospel, Gospel, Jump Blues.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe was an exciting performer and one of the first singers to bring the power of gospel music into the secular world, predating Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin by quite a few years. Unlike those two, Tharpe's main loyalty remained religious music, although her acoustic guitar playing was jazz-oriented, and she spent 1941-43 being featured regularly with Lucky Millinder's Orchestra before returning to work as a solo performer. This Document CD has Tharpe's first 26 recordings. The first 14 numbers are from her unaccompanied solo dates of 1938-41, and despite the similar message of most of the selections, they do hold one's interest due to her exciting delivery. Highlights include her earliest versions of "Rock Me," "That's All," "The Lonesome Road" and "This Train." Next up are eight songs cut with Millinder's big band: five studio numbers (including "Trouble in Mind," "Rock Daniel," "Shout Sister Shout" and "That's All") and three selections taken from the soundtracks of their filmed "Soundies." The CD wraps up with four solo performances from December 1, 1941, including a spirited "Just a Closer Walk with Thee" and "Precious Lord Hold My Hand." This CD and Volume 2 (which finds the singer-guitarist finishing her Millinder period and resuming her solo career during 1943-44) are highly recommended and contain most of the finest work of Sister Rosetta Tharpe's career.
by Scott Yanow

Credits: Gene Austin - composer; Trevor Bacon - guitar; Buster Bailey - clarinet, trumpet; Ted Barnett - sax (alto); Abe Bolar - sax (bass); Floyd Brady - trombone; Nelson Bryant - trumpet; Don Cole - trombone; Bill Doggett - piano; Rev. Thomas A. Dorsey - composer; Panama Francis - drums; Byron Gay - composer; Marco H. Hellman - composer; George James - sax (alto); Archie Johnson - trumpet; Richard M. Jones - composer; Lucky Millinder - director, orchestral arrangements, primary artist, vocals; Edward Morant - trombone; Kati Bell Nubin - composer; Johnny Parth - producer; Ernest Purce - baritone; Eli Robinson - trombone; Ken Romanowski - program notes; Nat Shilkret - composer; Stafford Simon - sax (tenor); George Stevenson - trombone; Sister Rosetta Tharpe - composer, guitar, primary artist, vocals; Charles Albert Tindley - composer; Traditional - composer; Clarence Williams - composer; Sandy Williams - trombone.

Tracks: 1) Rock Me; 2) That's All; 3) My Man And I; 4) The Lonesome Road; 5) Bring Back Those Happy Days; 6) This Train; 7) I Looked Down The Line (And I Wondered); 8) God Don't Like It; 9) Beams Of Heaven; 10) Saviour Don't Pass Me By; 11) The End Of My Journey; 12) Sit Down; 13) There Is Something Within Me; 14) Stand By Me; 15) Four Or Five Times (Film Soundtrack); 16) Shout, Sister, Shout (Film Soundtrack); 17) The Lonesome Road (Film Soundtrack); 18) Trouble In Mind; 19) Rock Daniel; 20) Shout Sister Shout; 21) Rock Me; 22) That's All; 23) Just A Closer Walk With Thee; 24) Precious Lord Hold My Hand; 25) I'm In His Care; 26) Nobody's Fault But Mine.