Oh Rosetta

Album: The Things That We Are Made Of (2016)

Songfacts®:

  • This song was written by Mary Chapin Carpenter when she was feeling despondent about the modern political and social climate. "I think there are pockets of unity, light, and love. But, if you were to travel far away and look down and see it all, there's reasons to feel despair," she told Billboard magazine." I've definitely had my days."

    "That song was written on a day where I felt that," Carpenter continued. "It's an imaginary conversation with Sister Rosetta Tharpe. I was thinking about her song 'Up Above My Head,' and I heard music. I heard singing – her beautiful spirit. Why she came into my head that day, I have no idea. But, that's where it came from. I was seeking guidance, I was trying to be comforted. I felt loss and despair. There are days that if I pay too much attention to the news, I still will feel that way. It's as if my armor isn't strong enough that day."
  • Sister Rosetta Tharpe, the inspiration for this song, was an influential guitarist and singer of the 1930s and 1940s. Her unique mixture of spiritual lyrics and rhythmic accompaniment was a precursor of rock and roll.

    "Up Over My Head" was a call and response gospel song, recorded in the 1940s by Sister Rosetta Tharpe as a duet with Marie Knight. Elvis Presley performed the tune in his 1968 TV special, Elvis as part of a gospel medley with the songs: "Where Could I Go But To The Lord" and "Saved."

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