And if you want to find me I’ll be out in the sandbox,
wondering where the hell all the love has gone …
“Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” Robert Plant & Alison Krauss
“Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us,” Sam Phillips
“Tokyo Rose,” Vigilantes of Love
“Truganini,” Midnight Oil
“Valentino,” Diane Birch
“Mies van der Rohe,” Twitchen Vibes
“Verdi Cries,” 10,000 Maniacs
“Hey John Wayne,” Terry Taylor
“Brian Wilson,” Barenaked Ladies
“Jesus Loves You, Brian Wilson,” Lost Dogs
And this doesn’t fit with the name-in-the-title rule, but a friend once gave me a mix-CD that included Squeeze’s “Pulling Mussels (From the Shell),” mislabeling the song “William Tell,” which would’ve put it in this list. I’d also started out including Steve Taylor’s “Svengali” here, before realizing that he’s actually a fictional character from a du Maurier novel.
Here’s another terrific Sister Rosetta recording on YouTube — Tharpe and Albert Ammons playing “That’s All” in 1938. They’re playing rock & roll in 1938.
Some point to this as evidence that Tharpe is the musical genius who gave us rock & roll. The other possibility is that Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a time traveler.
PBS’ American Masters series focuses on her tonight, with “Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll.” Daniel Burke has a nice introduction to the documentary for RNS.
Oh, and one of the things that this world really, really needs is a good punk-pop cover version of “Verdi Cries.” Anybody know anyone in Me First and The Gimme Gimmes? Can we make this happen?