- Paperback: 440 pages
- Publisher: Continuum (October 5, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0826417523
- ISBN-13: 978-0826417527
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 18 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #674,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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People Get Ready!: A New History of Black Gospel Music
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“Darden reaches back to Africa to establish a foundation for his cogent discussion of matter relevant to a historical study of religion and sacred music, and he makes these matters seem like part of the complete fabric rather than vignettes.… The approach is scholarly throughout, but the narrative is as lucid and flowing as any lay reader might wish.…the book covers a broad range and merits serious consideration. Highly recommended.” –Choice, 5/05 (CHOICE)
Mentioned. –Dallas Morning News!, Article: Rhythm & Pews, 4/1/05 (CHOICE)
“…a meticulously researched but living, breathing story…Darden’s book is especially valuable in detailing how much effort, debate and study have gone into finding gospel’s origins and into recording authentic examples that have long fascinated researchers. Indeed, his 25-page, A to Z discography stretched in time and scope from Afro-American Spirituals, Work Song, and Ballads, early samples from the Library of Congress, to Vickie Winans by Vickie Winans.” –AOL Black Voices. May 2005
“This meticulously researched book traces the way in which Negro spirituals evolved into contemporary African-American gospel songs…Ultimately, this is the story of the intense and often painful experiences of black Americans and the inspirational music which they have poured out in response.” –The Tablet, May 2005
Mentioned. –Dallas Morning News!, Article: Rhythm & Pews, 4/1/05 (CHOICE)
About the Author
Robert Darden is Assistant Professor of English at Baylor University, and Senior Editor of The Door Magazine. He was gospel music editor for Billboard magazine for 10 years and has written about religious music for most of his adult life. He lives in Waco.
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But now I've read the excellent "People Get Ready!" and this book will tell you everything you need to know from the earliest beginnings in Africa to contemporary times.
He paints a picture from the Western African tribes and their styles of music, right through the coded ways of singing to elude the white slave masters. The most interesting part of the books ends for me somewhere in the 1960's.
You don't have to be religious (I'm not) to enjoy the music and the book. It is very clearly shown through Mr. Darden's writing that the influence of gospel on rock and roll, soul etc is great, a lot greater than many people think.
"People Get Ready" will teach you everything you need to know on the history of gospel, and through that also a large part of the history of rock and roll in America.
Entry for 24 May 2007 Gospel Music A Message _People Get Ready!! Passeh Passeh!! Previous | Next
Gospel music From People Get Ready! (A New History of Black Gospel Music) by Robert DARDEN A Continuum (2004) ISBN 0-8264-1436-2
Some early writers including Dr. Seth Rogers, a Northern surgeon during the Civil War, point to field hollers and work songs as one of the basic components of the spirituals. And it is clear that slaves brought the work songs (also known as hollers, "cottonfield hollers," cries, or "whoops") with them from Africa. "A slave's call or cry could mean any of a number of things: a call for water. food, or help, a call to let others know where he was working, or simply a cry of loneliness, sorrow or happiness." Like most of the work songs (some captured by Alan Lomax in the seminal field recordings of the Georgia Sea Islands CD), the hollers contained a rhytmic quality that made the work seem easier, be it rowing, picking cotton, or laying railroad ties. Most were performed in the now-familiar "call and response" format. Noted Ethiopian scholar Ashenafi Kebede differentiates calls from cries. Whereas calls may have been primarily used to communicate information _to alert a dozing friend of a fast-approaching white overseer _cries, on the other hand
express a deeply felt emotional experience, such as hunger, loneliness, or lovesickness. They are half-sung half-yelled. Vocables are often intermixed in the text. The melodies are performed in a free and spontaneous style, they are often ornamented and employ many African vocal devices, such as yodels, echolike falsetto, tonal glides, embellished melismas, and microtonal inflections that are often impossible to indicate in European staff notation.
These cries, Kebede believes, may have evolved into te religious songs of spirituals of African Americans. "There is no doubt,"he writes "that these calls were African in derivation and that they were sung in African dialects in the early part of slave history."
Suddenly [a slave] raised such a sound as I have never heard before, a long loud musical shout, rising and falling, and breaking into falsetto, his voice ringing through the woods in the clear frosty night air, like a bugle call. As he finished the melody was caught up by another, and then, another, and then,by several in chorus. (p.43)
Despite the inroad made by the Holiness/Pentecostal churches, more African Americans were still Baptists than any other denomination, with sixty-one percent of the 5.2 million black church members in the mid-1920s calling themselves Baptist, folowed by the Methodists in distant second. Until Sherwood and Tindley, black Baptist and Methodist churches generally sang modified spirituals and camp meeting songs, along with "hymn-like compositions,"similar to those sung in mainstream white churches. According to Boyer, these songs always featured a salvation-based message, a standard verse/chorus format (eight bars each), rhythms dominated by quarter and dotted eighth notes, and an antiphonal chorus. ... Tindley's lyrics focused instead on specific concerns of African-American christians, including "worldly sorrows, blessings, and woes, as well as the joys of the afterlife. Furthermore, most of his songs were placed in the pentatonic scale and allowed ample room for rhythmic,melodic, and even lyric improvisations. The Tindley Gospel Singers .. to come from the predominant Baptist tradition who were attracted to the new, more emotional music emanating from the Sanctified tradition, but .. "I'll Overcome Someday" (1901) ...(p. 161) Even the more conservative older gospel groups, such as the Pace Jubilee Singers, found his songs too singable to ignore _ their version of Tindley's "Stand by me" was a hit in 1930. (p162)
One of Tindley's contemporaries was a woman .. Lucie .. Campbell [self-taught] ... NBC National Baptist Convention Convention Golden Gems, Inspirational Melodies, Spirituals Triumphant and Gospel Pearls .._ all of which, incidentally, included her compositions. (p.163)