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Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Ain’t No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down

By Dag Walker The singing, guitar playing gold-toothed Gospel Ranger, Claude Ely, born in 1922, lay in be a’dying as a 12 year old, tuberculosis slowly dragging him to the grave in Puckett’s Creek, Va., in the  Appalachian Mountains. He wasn’t having it. “Ain’t no grave gonna hold my body down.” An uncle gave the boy a guitar to consolation, with which he composed his best known song, one that became a Pentacostal favourite of the folks of the Appalachian Mountains and beyond. The boy recovered, and took up preaching…

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