With a voice capable of shifting from hushed intimacy to roof-raising power, and a guitar style that merged country-blues with jazz, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a completely unique performer. Primarily a gospel artist, she recognized no difference between the sacred and the personal, singing spirituals with a blues feeling and attacking the blues with gospel fervor. She was instrumental in moving gospel out of the churches and into the clubs and concert halls in the 1930s and '40s, single-handedly creating the concept of pop-gospel. This collection, Sister Rosetta's Gospel Train, is drawn from concerts she did in Europe in 1960, and features Tharpe solo, accompanied only by her electric guitar. Highlights include versions of two of her signature tunes, "That's All," originally recorded for Decca Records in 1938, and "Down by the Riverside," released by Decca in 1948. Her arrangement of "Didn't It Rain" is particularly powerful, driven by jazzy swing rhythms on the guitar, and she even strays into near-rockabilly territory with "Can't Sit Down." Sister Rosetta's Gospel Train is identical to the Sing Sister Sing album (only with different artwork) released by Fuel Records in 2003.
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AllMusic Review by Steve Leggett