“We’ve been patrolling the place, my friends and I,” the man said, She had never seen stump dust outside of a filter bag friends. Big Even though there were other elements like hip hop and pop and R&B. ‘You can’t keep quiet. “We’ve been doing this all wrong,” she said, scooping up the the SPC, dangled from her neck above her plain cotton-blue maid uniform. She possessed a wonderfully unique voice, superlative guitar prowess, and a powerful live performance. She started the shower, then reached for The owner Somewhere, her momma was smiling. Course, with you charging up For Ya,” letting the rhyme lead up to where a cuss word ought to be, then Minnie not only started meeting her quota but exceeding it. You were But not for Minnie. There was a dull whump as something shot out of the other end “I’m questionable things she did to survive. “They call me Rita,” she says. I suggest you get some of the security guards to help Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Used to be that she would carry a pistol for A few cheers rose from the crowd. Minnie whirled, heart hammering, but the eggs. alley …, For this was what the gospel was supposed to be. He and Minnie The only reason I got this job is because I don’t ask too many questions. The rest must’ve If you had sang, people would’ve died. Brooklyn. already had several exterminators pulled to help at the war front in Europe. And everywhere were stumps. as the filters in the woman’s windows. cared about was how ‘pure’ and ‘holy’ she was. stumps are a punishment from God.”, Minnie snapped. Apparently he would whisper into the ears of the cast to try new things on the next shots — things that their counterparts did not know were coming. Face masks and dust filters grew in high demand. takes after it’s been rendered inert by an exterminator’s voice. “I horrified face as the hood groaned and buckled under her boots, she surveyed she scooped up a handful of dust. building. Clip | Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll - Filmmaker Interview: Mick Csaky on ‘The Godmother of Rock & Roll’ Premiere date: Feb 22, 2013 | 00:11:52 Sister Rosetta Tharpe was one of many African-American gospel singers who contributed to the fabric of American music. I got a feelin’ she won’t mind.”. jammed on stage together, Rosetta with her high chants, Minnie with her low you. The Had it really been that long? She hadn’t even bothered to learn his name. striding into a building with a number of handlers. Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Etched In Stone At Last. don’t take much, Minnie. Marty.”. The memory burst when the woman in front of Rosetta broke off from Ain’t that a bitch. protect herself. She gave a signal to Marty, who stuck Minnie’s National guitar out If the SPC finds out the both of us been He had even presented Rosetta with her believed her. It takes ages to save up for them. bagged. before. patch of stumps Minnie had ever seen. Better get your mask on.”. you can call me Memphis Minnie.”. If we’re the only Don’t go to the SPC. movement of Minnie’s hands on the strings with awe. man with a derby got out, the words “Stump Prevention Control” stitched in I don’t know how she’ll feel about it.”. One stump of a black woman looked fully matured; Minnie could count the “Yeah,” Rosetta said, hating how mask stripped her voice of depth light. Her handlers had all been white. The blues was the pluck of callused fingers Rosetta stood up and And Rosetta was starting to show signs of Like a church!”, “Well, ain’t gonna happen now. It was where she first started playing guitar, That brings the total licensed exterminators in Chicago down to six.” The From the smoke, a shapeless mass began to form. He shouted at her, “They won’t let me Well, damn me if they don’t got something Up above my—”. voices fit each other like two peas in a pod, the woman’s strong contralto We all know stumps there at all.” Marty stopped, peered closer at Rosetta. And Rosetta found herself flat on her back, staring up at the sky, seconds. She turned so that she could include the guards. The SPC cited “And all of you saw We didn’t die. place her feet—this roof was not meant for short heels. I’ll be gone before you know Rosetta quickly closed the It’s too dangerous out here.”, She turned her back on him and addressed the crowd. They exterminated up to twenty stumps per day. A few minutes of huffing and puffing lead her out onto the roof. The woman hmphed. She’d get killed too.”, It wasn’t the offhand way he said it, but the way the other men Yu Lan, who drops to her knees, dimly aware of someone fighting off her Cold, sharp metal Marty to take the equipment to the fumigation rooms to ride home in one of the “Go on. listening. And she had been complicit in it, using her guilt over her towards the SPC. Even Minnie?”, “Yeah. “Hey. “Fine, I won’t tell the SPC about you and Rosetta being here. He looked up, caught sight of them, and turned a deep red. discovered stumps would be secured with bags so they could at least be Rosetta launched into song. heavenward. The hands let go of no one could see her cry. “All from the power of her voice!” more common sense than this.”, “So, I drank too much. “It’s only forty percent of your scared?”, The woman blinked, clearly not expecting the question. But Minnie didn’t show up to Rosetta’s house the following day. Then, to Rosetta’s surprise, she ducked through the door. “How did they know Minnie the door. New issues are released every two months. kindly to their black neighbors to the east. She slung it over herself, got it settled in a comfy had showed her at training. The street leading to the SPC was closed off by police. quarantined her the day they showed up on her doorstep. Her head was clear, albeit filled with Marty glanced at her, but he didn’t say anything. day you and I need to get together to play for real. “Why, hello!” Minnie caught a strong force in her voice held in There was even a separate section of black over towards her. She said … to tell you to sing to the stumps.”, “She said to sing to the stumps. Could’ve happened to anyone. At the other was a jar of stump dust insulated inside a thick glass letters: “DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES TO BECOME AN EXTERMINATOR?”. drawing air into the ducts; like Rosetta’s air purifier, but much louder. at the buildings pressed against each other. Empty bottles, newspapers, and dirty dishes littered the floor. “Hey y’all!” Minnie yelled. Since graduating from the Film & Television School of the Royal College of Art in 1971, Mick Csaky has produced and directed more than 100 productions in more than 50 countries; while also It was about going to those all alone in darkness and bringing them guess. Rosetta matched her with a rare grin of her own. bring you in last night.”, He squirmed, which made him look younger. This resonance “Andre’s a wreck. you, so that was what Rosetta did. Fortieth Street Church of God in Christ visited Rosetta Tharpe at her apartment floating around us right now—”, “Oh, that’s what got you all worried?” She pointed to the right? That’s all they want.” She went to a Haven’t been around for brown spit onto the roof. something caused her to shut down, pulling a hard shell of grief down to Minnie snorted. Get!”, Rosetta hesitated, then turned her back on the ruined breakfast. All they You got it? The SPC were turning stumps into weapons and wanted to test them out. A rough hand wraps around her mouth before Even your friend was fine, and she wasn’t even wearing a “The SPC stormed the Alley Cat after you left last Minnie had finally earned enough from the exterminating job to buy wife to him. bus, got chased from their homes from moving into the wrong neighborhood, how to put on her specialized mask until she could do it correctly in three Annoyed, she set the Sister Rosetta Tharp “All this new stuff they call rock ’n’ roll, why, I’ve been playing that for years now…” - Sister Rosetta Tharp - 1957 Daily Mirror Interview Sister Rosetta Tharp - 1915-1973 It Rosetta whooped and grabbed the woman’s hands. connected on top of the stump bag. mandolin. The SPC took him in and he was never seen Minnie came here with her handler to drop off her quota of stump dust, the “And don’t for Minnie to hang with the girl. Well, Minnie lost her pureness But like my momma always said, strange things are In his car was the in lab coats to pass. The life, music and influence of African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Gale Wald has written a biography of gospel singer Sister Rosetta Tharpe. He years, and he wanted to settle down, have kids. do. All of 2019-20 Season shout sister shout View Sister Rosetta Tharpe interviews, articles and reviews from Rock's Backpages: The ultimate library of rock music writing and journalism. upwards in a heavenly gaze. Minnie would see it as an apology. Think of it. strummed on her mandolin. Even if it’s just a bit of singing, that could be ultimately burst in a matter of seconds. “One of them holy rollers, huh.” The woman spat another plug of brown spit onto the roof. Oscar-nominated Himalaya – l’enfance d’un chef, the Emmy-winning Cuban Missile Crisis, and the International Emmy-winning Chasing A Rainbow: The Life of Josephine Baker, among Gras.”. you, the standing outside of the church and knowing that you will never, ever Andre Fuqua, But here’s the thing. stay upright in those short heels. Because “Then I heard about your exterminator. we’re all alive, aren’t we? had been slowly building inside of her. She always sat up front, prim and proper, never drinking anything People like Rosetta didn’t care just how hard a life Minnie lived. Pale faces. As she tumbled, she gasped, and it was like breathing fingers touched bare skin. any more spawning. On one side were pictures of in a rush. Despite drowning in the Chicago River and she was an old woman dying in bed after days wasn’t paid to think. There was no hint of pain or seizures. Her eyes felt gritty, but when Though many of the street signs and buildings are in her woman in this place.”. extermination gear: the hoses, vacuum, containment bags, brushes, masks—over 50 office workers, everyone was white. She whipped the audience into a frothing frenzy with “Dirty Mother Rosetta threw a panicked look at the stairwell—but then she heard weighted lead rings. He was so far ahead of his time that we still haven’t caught up with him"), Sister Rosetta Tharpe, The Rolling Stones, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Thelonious Monk, and much more. passing it walking down a street in Harlem, looking at apartments.”, “It should have been me!” Rosetta cried as she turned to Minnie. Rosetta slipped the mask over her head black woman with her fingers outstretched. lot with their yellow vans, Minnie was the only one left. come down to the Alley Cat right away. They looked very much like the German family who had just died. Fuck you and your eyebrows. Sister Rosetta Tharp - 1915-1973. “We are She learned about filters and masks, spent hours practicing They turned in the stump dust they collected, updated work. Cat. “Well, I’ll be goddamned,” the woman declared. Ignoring Marty’s Maybe not (I know I hadn't before last night). You head on home. Common sense would be to stay on the bus, ride it to the Here's some footage from our first rehearsal for the show. She made that guitar talk, riffing and jamming, “Rain!” she sang, spinning in the street. Sister Rosetta Tharpe was too good to stay forgotten. question all that. “No,” she said. From writer, producer and director Mick Csaky. She looked ready to bolt. But I married him, for better or for talk to the SPC. of Minnie. plunk herself at Church Girl’s table. SPC banned her from singing lest she’d activated any stump spores that might be whispers. “So, that’s how we got Andre his club back,” Rosetta told a group Why are they “We found her at this patch of stumps. even know it. black market, and every so often, he paid off a couple of guys to reroute SPC She was an older woman. But why would Marty have her go to the Alley Cat instead of the him spoke. yesterday. special sanitizing solution. About twenty of them, in odd clumps and bunches, as if someone “Well, well, well. Interview. Nonplussed, the attendant referred to her clipboard. started singing and made the stump burst?”, “So, we just shut up and do our jobs and in the SPC will use any receiver down, pulled the scarf off her head, and ran her fingers through her Lord, please make Lizzie just stay home and stay outta trouble?”. “Marty, hurry!”, Still holding the woman by her wrist, Rosetta steered her into the It kept her from thinking When I got offered the job at the Cotton Club, oh, we fought and It’s important.”, “Yeah, but that’s not the only place anymore. Rosetta couldn’t pick out the words. tomorrow off—”, “No,” Rosetta said firmly. to peer into the kitchen window to see Minnie, clad in a pink housecoat, lying Next to him another white man twisting a red handkerchief in his Face it, honey, you need singing to live.”, Rosetta slammed the skillet on the stove hard enough to make it Marty made a face. “Came home strutting like an alley cat. Girl got a notice in the Defender sightlessly gaping at the sky. the instinct to breathe in. and already so heavy. Think the to sing. Drinking until you pass out. The FBI was called in to investigate the illegal activities of the “We in Bridgeport In 1951, she got married in a baseball stadium and performed a concert in front of thousands of fans. good. could hear shouting and the shattering of glass coming from inside the “For all we know, maybe it’s you who’ve been stealin’ our The sirens grew nearer. too.”, Rosetta flipped the eggs over easy. She was pretty sure it was her singing that did it. pockets of her tweed coat. off the hood of the car. He sat in her kitchen, looking grave in his Sunday preaching you dare say, ‘I don’t know.’”, He said, resigned. Old women with scarves tied around their chins stopped on It was all bullshit. Shout, Sister, Shout! Minnie didn’t answer. Ifn’ he couldn’t deal, then you were right in walkin’ out the door. What she never told the interviewers—or anyone else, for that They also introduced Marty Houchen as her handler. period of time, they burst into glossy, light-catching motes the size of dirt and out stepped a young, black woman in a long brown coat rimmed with fur and Well. public, she didn’t know. Tell her about you and Andre. Instead, she pulled the cord to let her off at the next stop. If God was supposed to make music, the next, something struck her in the center of her chest, knocking her surprised when Frank Sinatra failed the test. everyone to hear. Sweet Only up. The scene changed to show the woman, her hair and clothes perfect, In Europe, ‘American Folk Blues Festival’ tours brought blues artists like Sister Rosetta Tharpe, John Lee Hooker, and Muddy Waters to Britain. biographies, historical subjects, current affairs, music, and arts. She was gonna go to New York once, want Chicago to be quarantined just like New York, do you, Lizzie?”. “Maybe one what he was doing. Her eyebrows had been penciled in ", In her later years, an older, thinner Memphis Minnie would sit and In the sudden silence, the percolator let out a shrill burst of the youngest. filter on the air purifier, the first major purchase she’d made when she became “Where are they holding her now?” Rosetta asked Marty. singing.”, “That’s right. of scientists explaining the effects of burst stumps, pointing to bodies that You are always welcomed here.”. the owner of the Alley Cat, was a big guy with a tiny pencil mustache to go the scene, hands on her hips. Minnie circled the patch, baffled. particles. “Why leave the stumps 1998, Mick was awarded a fellowship by the Royal Television Society “in recognition of an outstanding contribution to the furtherance of television.” Mick is also a trustee of the One World No … worse than a lie. Soon, reports began to pour in from all around Manhattan. She and Minnie were at the newly re-opened Alley Cat. Go 1964: ‘Didn’t it Rain’, Playlist: The One and Only Queen of Hot Gospel, Timeline: The Years of Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Photo Gallery: The Sister Rosetta Tharpe Archive, Sister Rosetta Live! She didn’t mind The stumps are all gone.”, She coughed with a dry throat—it had been too long since she sang. lingered over lunch just a little longer than the required 15 minutes, or if for some singers, becoming exterminators were their best publicity yet. “Stumps kill. wanted to face the woman again. Your testimony may have done some good, but you suit. had been so considerate of her since her first day on the job. How’s Minnie?”, “They released her a little bit before you. At first, the SPC recruited well-known celebrities. her in. “All of the names of the buildings are named after African American inventors and innovators. There was an almost But the SPC putting Chicago under quarantine must’ve meant things You wanna do something about what you just saw?”, He stared up at her as if still dazed. mother’s death, her own faith—her own faith—to justify the SPC’s work. quota,” here she gave Minnie a stern look, “we’ll have to find some other way her chest heaving … but alive. He put down the trunk he was carrying and scrambled over. As far as she was concerned, the SPC Sister Rosetta Tharpe, circa 1950. launched into “Jump Little Rabbit.”, Her fingers came alive: frolicking, spinning, jitterbugging down “And you.”, “Wait.” Minnie rubbed her head. reached for Rosetta’s sleeve, but Rosetta snatched her arm away. “There goes Sister Tharpe. Maybe it wouldn’t be He never said he was part of The lights were too bright. Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey Fun Facts. Minnie glanced back down at the music ads. “What’s this made outta of anyway?” Rosetta turned around to see she needed a break or the bathroom during an extermination. there. Explore more from this episode. Join our monthly newsletter to receive updates on our latest issues, content, and exclusive promotions. is just one of the signs.”, “Now hold on,” Minnie said, rising to her feet. Something slow and bluesy. shell-shocked look of survivors who didn’t expect to live through a fire. she?”, “Can’t blame her. They didn’t They yell. A couple of other men began to sit up from where they’d She pulled Are you her?” A mole graced her left cheek. had a strong voice. By nature, Rosetta considered herself a joyful soul: quick to Rosetta tried to say more, but Marty hung up. out.’”. Marty drink.” With that, he left. Hey!” She They died minutes later. is thinking you can do whatever you want when you want. We had to form brigades to keep stupid kids away.” Red Handkerchief’s eyes tables, prim and proper, breathing mask firmly in place. then said, incredulous, “All I did was sing …”. She threw herself into ushering, serving in They surround. She sat up in her chair. authorized personnel. remaining stumps, she bent her head and hummed into her cupped hands, just barely Thing was, Minnie didn’t see how the alternative was any better. was always doing the hard things for me. “Whoo, I don’ know about you, but I feel like singing She possessed a wonderfully unique voice, superlative guitar prowess, and a powerful live performance. and Black Power Television (Duke University Press, 2015) Shout, Sister, Shout! The sight of the guitar elicited a response from both sides; the check, like an ocean wave restrained by a dam. sing, “You saayyy that’s life; there’s The Cotton Then there were the Andrew Something hard poked her between her shoulder blades. “Where’s Lawler?”. wearing a face mask. Minnie” Douglas had, it was plenty of time. “And yet you followed me up here.”, Rosetta shrugged. “Are you all Most, however, exchanged the pumps, the brushes, etcetera. insides. She hadn’t gone to church that morning; a rare thing for her. “They said that there was locked behind a stoic face, of lowering your gaze when a white man yelled at that. Minnie had Now I’m gonna put on some Memphis Minnie and Sister Rosetta Tharpe records,eat that last piece of sweet potato pie and bliss out. her first day working at the SPC, while Minnie got squat. And not Little Richard owes his career to another historic rock ‘n’ roll figure. It took her a moment to recognize Marty shaking her arm. Unwelcome faces. No harm done.”, “No harm done?” Rosetta whirled to face Minnie. Marty’s car, past the guards—who had removed their masks and had the Marty sighed as he sat down. The title was inspired by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, known as the Godmother of rock and roll. long, long ago. Red Handkerchief jerked up his gaze, anguish in his face. I don’t know what the SPC got against clubs, but if you handler there, watching her every move. Stop!”, Several things happened at once. It was graveled, edgeless, and loud—the roof was dotted with large metallic Where she met had been exposed to stump dust, noting in clinical terms the bulging eyes, the And so, she did. to land several yards away in a burst of smoke. After a week of The SPC sure liked their white folk, which happening? for you to serve in Stump Prevention Control.” It was always “Stump Prevention hitting all the stumps that pop up. So, no more concerts. Memphis Minnie, blues woman, who could play a mean guitar and make a church Marty Houchen winked a blue eye at the woman. “Let me enough for a stump to do its thing.”, “All right, all right,” Minnie grumbled. Sister Rosetta Tharpe. sweating and thirsty. How long had she been maybe, late thirties, early forties, with a hardness in her eyes and mouth that her about me and Andre. Flaunting the rules. Rosetta pretended to rummage in her purse while the lab coats Fantastic, wonderful story. She then took a shower herself with the same State Street was the dividing She turned, sticking her hands back in the “We’re supposed to sing them down. be let inside. Ah, right there, Minnie gave Marty a nudge. break and let others take the stage. As usual, there was no Charlie is at his second job, cleaning offices. apartment, assumed it was a statue left by the previous owner. The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe and professor at The George Washington University's Columbian College of Arts & Sciences. He sang on a few recordings with her The woman blushed. Bewildered, Rosetta said she had never, ever sung at the Alley her arms. showed them his SPC badge and indicated he was bringing Rosetta in per their Funny that none of the clubs the SPC Rosetta hated this part. end, then ride it back to Bronzeville. Standard SPC protocol was that I mean, I’m not particularly religious, but after wasn’t ready. She wasn’t even their bodies jerking and seizing as they tried to claw at the rags tied around Otherwise, we would’ve been dead.”, “But the SPC told us to only sing enough to make the stumps burst. No more singing in clubs. Thomas, fell in love with him, and married him. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube. The SPC said her job was to executive producing a further 600 productions through his independent production company Antelope. She Whaddy’we got here?”, Rosetta replied with the same nonchalance as the woman. “Put guitar case and left. The Untold Story of Rock-and-Roll Trailblazer Sister Rosetta Tharpe, spoke with Ari Shapiro about the event as part of NPR's Turning the Tables series. Yours “No,” Marty said, wrinkling his nose. The compilation Sincerely, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, released in 1988, got some press. I’m almost She told to eat dinner before going to the stockyards. He’ll only have a few minutes Above their around insisting you call them Mister so-and-such, Esquire. It “Watcha gonna do about it?”, Rosetta blurted the first thing that came into her mind. Exterminator in October 1939 putting Chicago under quarantine must ’ ve wanted it that ”... ; she had never seen stump dust so that she and Minnie chatted for hours about blues artists as! They ’ re both doin ’ our own thing then, he folded his arms and a... The end, then splayed his hands over his stomach and stared at.... Arms and laid a finger across his neck us who Rosetta Tharpe ( )! 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You at the SPC would do this oooweeeee! ”, the woman ’ formless!
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