Greg Poppleton

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Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Phantom Dancer 13 Oct 2020

Sister Rosetta Tharpe, big band and gospel singer, is this week’s Phantom Dancer feature artist. You’ll hear her with Lucky Millinder’s Orchestra from records and radio broadcasts.Greg Poppleton brings you The Phantom Dancer, your non-stop mix of swing and jazz from live 1920s-60s radio and TV. On-air every week since 1985.Hear The Phantom Dancer online from 12:04pm AEST Tuesday 6 October at where you can also hear two years of archived shows.The finyl hour is vinyl.
sister rosetta tharpe and lucky millinder


Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a musical prodigy who began singing and playing the guitar as Little Rosetta Nubin at the age of four.By age six, in 1921, Tharpe had joined her mother as a regular performer in a traveling evangelical troupe. Billed as a “singing and guitar playing miracle,” she accompanied her mother in performances that were part sermon and part gospel concert before audiences across the American South. In the mid-1920s, Tharpe and her mother settled in Chicago, Illinois, where they performed religious concerts at the Roberts Temple COGIC, occasionally traveling to perform at church conventions throughout the country. Tharpe developed considerable fame as a musical prodigy, standing out in an era when prominent black female guitarists were rare. In 1934, at age 19, she married Thomas Thorpe, a COGIC preacher, who accompanied her and her mother on many of their tours. The marriage lasted only a few years, but she decided to adopt a version of her husband’s surname as her stage name, Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
sister rosetta tharpe 1964


In 1938, she left her husband and moved with her mother to New York City. Although she married several times, she performed as Rosetta Tharpe for the rest of her life.On October 31, 1938, aged 23, Tharpe recorded for the first time – four sides for Decca Records backed by Lucky Millinder‘s jazz orchestra. The first gospel songs recorded by Decca, “Rock Me”, “That’s All“, “My Man and I” and “The Lonesome Road” were instant hits, establishing Tharpe as an overnight sensation and one of the first commercially successful gospel recording artists.She had signed a seven-year contract with Millinder. Her records caused an immediate furor: many churchgoers were shocked by the mixture of gospel-based lyrics and secular-sounding music, but secular audiences loved them. Tharpe played on several occasions with the white singing group the Jordanaires.Tharpe’s appearances with Cab Calloway at Harlem‘s Cotton Club in October 1938 and in John Hammond‘s “Spirituals to Swing” concert at Carnegie Hall on December 23, 1938, gained her more fame, along with notoriety. Performing gospel music for secular nightclub audiences and alongside blues and jazz musicians and dancers was unusual, and in conservative religious circles a woman playing the guitar in such settings was frowned upon. Tharpe fell out of favor with segments of the gospel community.
sister rosetta tharpe wedding


By 1943 she considered rebuilding a strictly gospel act, but she was contractually required to perform more worldly material.  Her nightclub performances, in which she would sometimes sing gospel songs amid scantily clad showgirls, caused her to be shunned by some in the gospel community.Tharpe continued recording during World War II, one of only two gospel artists able to record V-discs for troops overseas.Her song “Strange Things Happening Every Day“, recorded in 1944 with Sammy Price, Decca’s house boogie woogie pianist, was the first gospel song to appear on the Billboard magazine Harlem Hit Parade.


Play List – The Phantom Dancer
107.3 2SER-FM Sydney, Live Stream Community Radio Network Show CRN #434

107.3 2SER Tuesday 4 October 202012:04 – 2:00pm (+11 hours GMT) and Saturdays 5 – 5:55pmNational Program: 1ART ArtsoundFM Canberra Sunday 10 – 11pm 5GTR Mt Gambier Monday 2:30 – 3:30am 3MBR Murrayville Monday 3 – 4am 4NAG Keppel FM Monday 3 – 4am 2SEA Eden Monday 3 – 4am 2MIA Griffith Monday 3 – 4pm 2BAR Edge FM Bega Monday 3 – 4pm 3VKV Alpine Radio Monday 6 – 7pm 7MID Oatlands Tuesday 8 – 9pm  2ARM Armidale Friday 12 – 1pm 7LTN Launceston Sunday 5 – 6am 3MGB Mallacoota Sunday 5 – 6am 6GME Radio Goolarri Broome Sunday 5 – 6am

Set 1
1950s Radio Dance Bands
Theme + The Trolley Song
Jill Corey (voc) Johnny Long Orchestra
‘Let’s Go To Town’Radio TranscriptionLos Angeles1952
Theme + Manhattan Spiritual
Jerry Gray and his Band of Today
Palladium BallroomKFI NBC LA30 Oct 1959
So Tired + The Sheik of Araby + Close
Russ Morgan Orchestra (voc) Russ Morgan
Club Del MarSanta MonicaKFI NBC LA22 Aug 1959
Set 2
One Night Stand 1944
Up, Up, Up, Up + Brahm’s Hungarian Dance No. 5
Shep Fields and his New Music (voc) Tommy Lucas and Band
‘One Night Stand’Copacabana NYCAFRS Re-broadcast9 Aug 1944
Theme + Desert Night
John Kirby Sextet
‘One Night Stand’Aquarium RestaurantAFRS Re-broadcastJul 1944
Riff Raff + In a Sentimental Mood (close)
Bob Strong Orchestra (voc) Band
‘One Night Stand’Glen Island CasinoNew Rochelle NYAFRS Re-broadcast20 Aug 1944
Set 3
Dixieland Radio
Tin Roof Blues
Red Nichols
Radio Transcription Los Angeles
The Savoy Blues
Kid Ory
Club HangoverKCBS San Francisco5 Feb 1955
When My Dream Comes Home + Theme
Preacher Rollo and The Five Saints
‘Dixieland Club’AFRS Hollywood
Set 4
Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Down By The Riverside
Sister Rosetta Tharpe & Band (voc) Lucky Millinder Orchestra
AFRS Hollywood1943
Rock Me
Sister Rosetta Tharpe & Band (voc) Lucky Millinder Orchestra
Comm Rec
5 Sep 1941
Tall Skinny Papa
Sister Rosetta Tharpe & Band (voc) Lucky Millinder Orchestra
AFRS Hollywood1943
Set 5
King Porter Stomp
King Porter Stomp
Count Basie Orchestra
Blue RoomHotel LincolnWABC CBS NY14 Apr 1944
King Porter Stomp
Tony Pastor Orchestra
Aircheck NYCJan 1945
King Porter Stomp
Metronome All Stars
Rehearsal DiscNYC7 Jan 1940
King Porter Stomp + Close
Les Brown Orchestra
Paladium BallroomKNX CBS LANov 1943
Set 6
Blue Barron Radio Transcriptions
The Yam
Blue Barron Orchestra
Radio Transciption1938
Heart and Soul
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Russ Carlyle
Radio Transciption1938
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Charlie Fisher
Radio Transciption1939
Blues My Naughty Sweetie Gives To Me
Blue Barron Orchestra (voc) Three Blue Notes
Radio Transciption1940
Set 7
1920s Radio
Sweet Jennie Lee
Reser’s Radio Band (voc) Frank Luther
Hit of the Week Record NYCDec 1930
The Eskimo Pie Orchestra (voc) Kay Palmer
‘The Eskimo Pie Program’Radio TranscriptionNYCJul 1929
You’re the Cream in my Coffee
Ray Miller Orchestra (voc) Bob Nolan
‘The Sunny Meadows Program’Radio Transcription18 Jan 1929
Painting the Clouds with Sunshine + Lonesome Little Doll
Dixie Two-Steppers
Radio Transcription1929
Set 8
1950s Radio Jazz
Tippin’ Out (theme) + Too Marvelous
Errol Garner
‘The Basin Street’WCBS CBS NYMay 1956
Love Walked In
Dave Brubeck
‘The Basin Street’WCBS CBS NYFeb 1956
Blues in G
Lester Young
BirdlandWABC ABC NY 5 Sep 1956
When Your Lover Has Gone + Theme
Errol Garner
‘Storyville’Copley Square HotelWHDH BostonDec 1953

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