The School of Arizona Dranes: Gospel Music Pioneer covers the life and career of Dranes and situates her accomplishments in the broader history of African American gospel music and the rise of the Pentecostal movement. Starting with the earliest recordings of the music in the late nineteenth century, this book provides a history of African American sacred and gospel music that convincingly demonstrates the revolutionary nature of Dranes’s musical accomplishment. Using specific examples, the author traces the far-reaching influence of Arizona Dranes on African American gospel piano playing and singing.
Marovich follows gospel music from early hymns and camp meetings through the Great Migration that brought it to Chicago. In time, the music grew into the sanctified soundtrack of the city's mainline black Protestant churches. In addition to drawing on print media and ephemera, Marovich mines hours of interviews with nearly fifty artists, ministers, and historians--as well as discussions with relatives and friends of past gospel pioneers--to recover many forgotten singers, musicians, songwriters, and industry leaders. He also examines how a lack of economic opportunity bred an entrepreneurial spirit that fueled gospel music's rise to popularity and opened a gate to social mobility for a number of its practitioners. As Marovich shows, gospel music expressed a yearning for freedom from earthly pains, racial prejudice, and life's hardships. In the end, it proved to be a sound too mighty and too joyous for even church walls to hold.
This is the untold story of living legend Mavis Staples—lead singer of the Staple Singers and a major figure in the music that shaped the civil rights era. One of the most enduring artists of popular music, Mavis and her talented family fused gospel, soul, folk, and rock to transcend racism and oppression through song. Honing her prodigious talent on the Southern gospel circuit of the 1950s, Mavis and the Staple Singers went on to sell more than 30 million records, with message-oriented soul music that became a soundtrack to the civil rights movement—inspiring Martin Luther King, Jr. himself.
Critically acclaimed biographer and Chicago Tribune music critic Greg Kot cuts to the heart of Mavis Staples’s music, revealing the intimate stories of her sixty-year career. From her love affair with Bob Dylan, to her creative collaborations with Prince, to her recent revival alongside Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, this definitive account shows Mavis as you’ve never seen her before. I’ll Take You There was written with the complete cooperation of Mavis and her family. Readers will also hear from Prince, Bonnie Raitt, David Byrne, and many others whose lives have been influenced by Mavis’s talent.
Filled with never-before-told stories, this fascinating biography illuminates a legendary singer and group during a historic period of change in America. “Ultimately, Kot depicts the endurance of Mavis Staples and her family’s music as an inspiration, a saga that takes us, like the song that inspired this book’s name, to a place where ain’t nobody crying” (The Washington Post).
- Scott Tucker, looks at the theme of "heaven" in six of the Gaither Homecoming songbooks
- David Fillingim looks at how Southern Gospel Music answers the question of theodicy from the perspective of the rural white, working class
- Robert M. McManus explores selected song lyrics to show how Southern
- Gospel Music helps construct the identity of the community compared to Contemporary Christian Music
- Darlene R. Graves identifies key sustaining personality strengths of women that tend to preserve consistency between their public performance and personal spiritual walk
- Elizabeth F. Desnoyers Colas and Stephanie Howard (Asabi) explore Southern Gospel and Black Gospel music through the influence of Thomas A. Dorsey
- Michael Graves examines how the culture of Southern Gospel Music deals with its inevitable prodigal sons
- Raymond D.S. Anderson analyzes the Gaither Homecoming videos as examples of the postmodern turn in American popular Christian culture
- John D. Keeler presents the first audience study of Southern Gospel Music employing a "Uses and Gratifications" research framework
- Paul A. Creasman examines the ways Southern Gospel Musicas a culture memorializes its dead by use of the Internet
- Naaman Wood reviews significant scholarly approaches to the study of popular music.
The Homecomings represent ï¿½southern gospel.ï¿½ Typically that means a musical style popular among white evangelical Christians in the American South and Midwest, and it sometimes overlaps in style, theme, and audience with country music. The Homecomingsï¿½ nostalgic orientationï¿½their celebration of ï¿½traditionalï¿½ kinds of American Christian lifeï¿½harmonize well with southern gospel music, past and present. But amidst the backward gazes, the Homecomings also portend and manifest change. The Gaithersï¿½ deliberate racial integration of their stages, their careful articulation of a relatively inclusive evangelical theology, and their experiments with an array of musical forms demonstrate that the Homecoming is neither simplistically nostalgic, nor solely ï¿½southern.ï¿½
Harper reveals how the Gaithers negotiate a tension between traditional and changing community norms as they seek simultaneously to maintain and expand their audience as well as to initiate and respond to shifts within their fan base. Pulling from his field work at Homecoming concerts, behind the scenes with the Gaithers, and with numerous Homecoming fans, Harper reveals the Homecoming world to be a dynamic, complicated constellation in the formation of American religious identity.
Lift Every Voice traces the roots of black music in Africa and slavery and its evolution in the United States from the end of slavery to the present day. The music's creators, consumers, and distributors are all part of the story. Musical genres such as spirituals, ragtime, the blues, jazz, gospel, rhythm and blues, rock, soul, and hip-hop—as well as black contributions to classical, country, and other American music forms—depict the continuities and innovations that mark both the music and the history of African Americans. A rich selection of documents help to define the place of music within African American communities and the nation as a whole.
Soul music is one of America's greatest cultural achievements, and Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, and Curtis Mayfield are three of its most inspired practitioners. In midcentury America it was soul music--particularly the dazzling stream of recordings made by these three stars--that helped bring the gospel vision of the black church into the mainstream, energizing the era’s social movements and defining a new American gospel where the sacred and the secular met. What made this gospel all the more amazing was that its most influential articulators were the sons and daughters of sharecroppers, storefront preachers, and single parents in the projects, whose genius gave voice to a new vision of American possibility.
Higher Ground seamlessly weaves the specific and intensely personal narratives of Stevie, Aretha, and Curtis’s lives into the historical fabric of their times. The three shared many similarities: They were all children of the great migration and of the black church. But the gospel impulse manifested itself in different ways within the dramas of their individual lives and musical creations. In Stevie Wonder’s case, it was a literally color-blind universal sense of spirituality that expressed itself in his life and music as an urge toward transcendence, particularly in the mid-seventies when albums like Innervisions and Songs in the Key of Life radically revised what a pop album could be. For Aretha Franklin, the traditional gospel vision of a beloved community anchored in the strength of women comforted her through a life littered with tragedy and found expression in propulsive pop songs like "Respect" as well as in her legendary gospel albums. And for Curtis Mayfield, the gospel notion of conscious living inspired him to create songs that served the purposes of the Civil Rights movement and the radical Black Power movement alike, from the gritty street drama of Superfly to the transcendent call of "People Get Ready."
Werner doesn't just provide a narrative of three fascinating lives; he ties them together with a provocative thesis about American history and culture that compels us to reconsider both the music and the times. And aside from the personalities and the history, he writes beautifully about music itself, the nuts and bolts of its creation and performance, in a way that brings a new awareness and understanding to the most familiar music, forcing readers to listen to songs they've heard a thousand times with fresh ears. In Higher Ground, Werner illuminates the lives of three unparalleled American artists, reminding us why their music mattered then and still resonates with us today.
From the Hardcover edition.