Hallelujah! This Full Band Friday, the CME House Band remembers the godmother of rock' n' roll, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, with a rousing rendition of her 1947 call and response classic, "Up Above My Head," played on a Polaris White 1962 Gibson Les Paul Custom.
"Up Above My Head" is a gospel song of traditional origin, first recorded in 1941 (as "Above My Head I Hear Music In The Air") by The Southern Sons, a vocal group formed by William Langford of the Golden Gate Quartet. In the version that is now the best-known, it was recorded in 1947 by Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight as a duo.
The spiritual "Over My Head", apparently dating from the 19th century but of unknown authorship, contains many of the same lines as "Up Above My Head" – "Over my head / I hear music in the air../ There must be a God somewhere" – and may be presumed to be its origin. Civil rights leader Bernice Johnson Reagon changed the traditional words of the song in 1961, to "Over my head / I see freedom in the air..."