320 kbps | 93 MB | LINKS
The album was released in 1956 and consists of twelve flawless tracks. The album’s first and last songs, “Jericho” and “99 ½ Won’t Do,” are traditional tunes, and everything else, with the exception of Hanighen’s “Two Little Fishes, Five Loaves of Bread,” was written by Tharpe.
The woman is a powerhouse of talent. Her vocals seem to anticipate artists like Aretha Franklin and Billie Holiday, and sadly, her guitar playing ability seems to always be underappreciated. She is the only woman that I’ve seen play an electric guitar back in the 40s and 50s. She probably wasn’t the only one, but she was the most famous and certainly the most talented.
Tharpe, like many great artists of her time, combined jazz, swing, and blues together. My first introduction to Tharpe’s music was a video of her singing “Up Above My Head There’s Music in the Air.” A piano plays in the background while Tharpe effortlessly belts the lyrics and puts any other blues guitar players to shame. An enormous choir stands behind her and only claps – they aren’t needed for anything else.
Tharpe is part of a huge collection of artists that played jazz and blues, artists that sang gospel, and artists that, as a woman and an African American, went against the grain. But, she’s the only one that pretty much did it all.
Gospel Train is great because it doesn’t attempt to alter Tharpe or polish her into a gospel gem. The songs are raw representations of musical conviction, and I think that it is impossible to listen to the album without feeling something stir inside.