Recorded Concert Spirituals: A Guide for the Solo Vocalist

This is the opening notice of a new–if you can call a 5-plus-year project new–book project. Tentatively entitled Recorded Concert Spirituals: A Guide for the Solo Vocalist, the project is an effort by author and soprano Randye Jones to document commercially produced recordings of Negro spirituals composed for solo concert vocalists. Portions of the information that will be included in the book are currently available on the free online site, The Spirituals Database.

Presently, tracks listed in the project have exceeded 5,600 entries covering more than a century of recordings on compact discs, long-playing albums, 78 rpm records, 45 rpm discs, digital streamed files, audio cassettes, as well as demonstration recordings from musical score collections. The book’s goal is to assist the vocalist, the vocal coach/teacher or the accompanist who is looking for these recorded resources.  These recordings serve as an opportunity for the singer, voice instructor or other musician to discover resources that enhance their study of concert spiritual performance in a studio, concert, service or competition setting. Even the composer, music historian, educator, librarian, researcher, or the enthusiast who simply wants to hear these great songs performed will have reason to seek out information about the wide range of recordings.

Recordings include a variety of vocal and/or instrumental accompanying forces–such as chorus, piano, orchestra, guitar, flute, violin, etc.; however, those forces are always secondary to the role of the vocal soloist in the listed performance.  Also, the voice type (soprano, mezzo-soprano, contralto, countertenor, tenor, baritone, bass-baritone, bass) of the soloist is included to assist those who are looking for recordings by a specific voice type. An example of two standard entries:

Crucifixion – Tags: Crucifixion, NT – Matthew, NT – Mark, NT – Luke, NT – John, NT – Acts

Track Entry: 4
Track Title: Crucifixion [He never said a mumblin’ word]
Composer(s): Payne, John C.
Vocalist(s): Anderson, Marian (Contralto)
Album Title: Bach, Brahms, Schubert
Publisher: RCA Victor 7911-2-RG
Release Year: 1989
Format: CD
Accompanied By: Piano
Dialect: No dialect discerned

Done found my lost sheep – Tags: NT – Matthew, NT – Luke

Track Entry: 5
Track Title: Done foun’ my los’ sheep
Composer(s): Johnson, J. Rosamond
Vocalist(s): Anderson, Marian (Contralto)
Album Title: Farewell recital
Publisher: RCA Victor LSC 2781
Release Year: 1964
Format: LP
Accompanied By: Piano
Dialect: Moderate dialect

A more extensive sample of the guide is accessible through Researchgate at DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.26578.50887.

The guide is organized and indexed with the vocalist in mind.

Projected dates for release are to be announced.