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Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia (Book) Paperback – August 1, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 21 customer reviews

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"An invaluable and long overdue gem." -- Billboard magazine, September 20, 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 508 pages
  • Publisher: Backbeat Books (August 23, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879308419
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879308414
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,874,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Some reviewers have noted (correctly so) significant Gospel artists missing from this encyclopedia. Others have also noted (again correctly) factual inaccuracies (though they are FAR outweighed by dead-on, correct facts and information). This book is the first credible attempt to bring to Gospel that which most every other genre has boasted for decades: a serious compendium of a MASSIVE amount of information. Carpenter, the author, has publicly and repeatedly affirmed that he is assiduously taking careful notes regarding EVERY discrepancy brought to his attention, and that all will be addressed, corrected, and included in this amazing book's second edition. Give the man (and his book) its due. This is a laudable, and HIGHLY readable attempt at bringing a vast genre of music, and the people who made and make it, into one volume. It reads like a great book, not a series of disjointed blurbs. I suggest Gospel fans stop complaining, sit back and enjoy the read, and simply contact the author, c/o his publisher I'm sure, with any corrections. This is a great start, and it only promises to get better.
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Format: Paperback
Writing an encyclopedia of Gospel music (or really of any other kind) has to be an almost impossible task. Where would even start to find out who did Gospel songs? And just how do you define Gospel anyway? Some Gospel is awfully close to Country & Western. And what about a predominately C&W singer who does a Gospel song once in a while.

Bil Carpenter has put together this encyclopedia. He lists about 650 singers. Are they the 650 he should have listed. Of course not. Everyone is going to have ideas for other people he should have listed, and would take out some that he did list. Of course if he had doubled the size of the book to 800 pages and put in 1,300 artists, he'd have covered them all - NOT.

So here you have 650 (or so) of the Gospel singers that Bil Carpenter has selected, and with each one you get a mini-biography of their lives and careers. There are pictures in the book, perhaps a hundred or more. But they are small and most pages are just text. A lot of text. I find it hard to imagine how one person could put together so much information. It's an amazing book.
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By S. M. Linen on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A work that contains information on all branches of knowledge or treats comprehensively a particular branch of knowledge usually in articles arranged alphabetically often by subject". That is the definition for encyclopedia established in Webster Dictionary. Uncloudy Day is not just an encyclopedia of Gospel Music, but the greatest treasure of information contained in one book. You will read narratives that chronicles the lives behind the music. You will read about very renowned household names, to some not so well recognized, but all have helped to make gospel music what it is today. I am sure you will be encouraged when you read the stories behind the celebrated performers in this book. Also included is a Glossary of Terms, Gospel Trivia, Charts and a great deal more. As a Gospel Radio Announcer I highly recommend this book. If I had to put it in one word it would be "Astounding". Bil Carpenter has produced a MASTERPIECE.

Musically Yours,

Harrisburg's Prince of Gospel Music

Pastor Stephen M. Linen
Joyful Praise - WWII 720
Melodies & More Internet Radio
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Format: Paperback
I believe the book can best be summed up as 'hit and miss'. I'm a tradional gospel music fan who favors quartet singing. I felt that most of the writeups on this style of music fell in the 'miss' category. A lot of the traditional singer's history was very basic and didn't seem to give justice to the struggles, trials, and tribulations many of these groups have endured to deliver God's music. However, I think that as far as contempory gospel music, the author did well. The writeups seemed to be longer and more concise. For example, the Canton Spirituals began signing 44 years before Lil iRocc was born and I'm sure most gospel fans have heard of them and their music. However, it seems that there was more than twice as much to say about Lil iRoc than the Canton Spirituals. I'm not hating on Lil Iroc; I just think that the Canton Spirituals may have a more rich and extensive gospel music history. Also, a group I was interested in learning something about is the Dixie Hummingbirds. However, the 70+ year old group did not make it into the book.

On another note, throughout the book the author gave what seemed to be his opinion on what many of the groups best albums were. I don't know if these opinions came from his own personal taste in music or from actual record sales. Either way, I felt that it was unneccesary and often only represented the casual or commercial listeners taste. Fans of any artist music know that many times they feel that the artist's best work or show of talent isn't what is played most or becomes most popular. My personal opinion is that the book would be better off if the author just dealt with the facts and left the rest out.

All in all, I fell this is a good basic reference book that has room for improvement. However, this is coming from someone whose interest is in traditional gospel and not contemporary. Fan's of contemporary music may have a quite different opinion.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I also echo the sentiments of other reviewers who feel that a lot of legends are missing from the Encyclopedia and some secular artists who should not have been included WERE. Personally, the only secular artists who should be listed in a book such as this should be those who got their start singing gospel professionally as a soloist or as part of a group, such as: Aretha Franklin, Della Reese, Johnny Taylor, Sam Cooke, Judy Clay, Dionne Warwick, etc. Not those artists who may have sung at a few Easter or Christmas specials in their childhood. Then you would have to include almost every Black singer in America.

Being a Mahalia Jackson fan, I found the entry on her very lopsided. It seems to have been based on interviews with people that resented her rather than appreciated her as a human being and a pioneer. The same Mahalia Jackson who this book paints as being selfish and self-serving was responsible for getting the Clara Ward Singers, the Gay Sisters (and little Bro. Donald Gay), The Drinkard (family) Singers on as opening "acts" for her first Carnegie Hall appearance - she was the featured Gospel singer. She was also instrumental in getting her friends Ira Tucker and the Dixie Hummingbirds and Ruth Jones (later known as Dinah Washington) on Apollo Records. Mahalia Jackson also promoted the music of her good friends gospel composers, Doris Akers and Margaret Aikens (songs such as, "Lord Don't Move the Mountain, The Only Hope We Have is Jesus, Not My Will But Thine Be Done").

Mahalia Jackson was also responsible for encouraging many young gospel talents from the 1930s thru 1960s to launch out and make names for themselves such as Rev.
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