Apollo performer Inez Andrews … remembers Sam Cooke chiding guitarists after they shared a stage with Tharpe: “Man, I wouldn’t let a woman outplay me!” Maybe not, but now they’ll all have to move over a step or two to make room for the good Sister’s big break into the canon of rock and soul legends.New York Times March 18, 2007

—By Laura Sinagra, New York Times Book Review

“A book like this is long overdue. Rosetta Tharpe was a major star and a huge influence on the musicians of her day. Listen to her recordings and you can hear all the building blocks of rock and roll.”

—Singer—songwriter Joan Osborne


“Rosetta was one of the most beloved and influential artists ever in gospel music. and she blazed a trail for the rest of us women guitarists with her indomitable spirit and accomplished, engaging style. She has long been deserving of wider recognition and a place of honor in the field of music history.”

—Bonnie Raitt

“Rosetta Tharpe was larger than life-but sometimes, as Gayle Wald tells the story, she was larger than herself. Wald’s account of Tharpe’s 1951 marriage in Griffith Stadium in Washington, D.C.—she signed a contract for the wedding, then went looking for the husband—is a classic American tall tale, except that it happened, and, in these pages, you are there.”

—Greil Marcus, cultural critic and author of Mystery Train: Images of America in Rock ‘n’ Roll Music

“Rosetta Tharpe was one of my first influences, one of the first people I heard sing. I’m glad Gayle Wald has done a book on her because people need to know.”

—Isaac Hayes

“Gayle Wald has written a compelling and exciting work about a complicated and underappreciated musical treasure, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Honest, forthright and engaging, Shout, Sister, Shout! will forever change the way we think about the origins of rock and roll.”

—Farah Jasmine Griffin, author of If You Can’t Be Free, Be a Mystery: In Search of Billie Holiday

“Tharpe sang gospel and blues with commanding authority. As a guitarist, she played expert swinging jazz and loud, outlandish blues that anticipated rock ‘n’ roll well before Elvis Presley. Thapre only now gets her just desserts thanks to the publication of Gayle Wald’s spendid biography, Shout, Sister, Shout!
Wald… has a special aptitude for drawing from a mountain of research … and reshaping it all into a scholarly yet highly readable life story. With grace and fluency, the author threads the theme of Tharpe’s uncertainty over whether to spread God’s message via gospel or to traffic in worldly music throughout the book.”

— Frank-John Hadley, Downbeat

“Imagine a cross between Mahalia Jackson and Chuck Berry. Unlikely? Get thee to YouTube and stream Sister Rosetta Tharpe doing “Down By the Riverside”—and stay to hear the gospel star shred on a Gibson. Wald makes a good case that Tharpe’s R&B spirituals played a key role in inventing rock.”

—Chris Willman, Entertainment Weekly

“Tharpe, gospel music’s first certified superstar, finally gets her props in this revealing biography. Wald offers a spirited portrait of a guitar virtuoso who influenced a wide range of performers, from Little Richard to Bonnie Raitt, by singing gospel to the strums of a rock ‘n’ roll beat.”

-Essence Magazine