The Gospel Truth about the Negro Spiritual: a lecture Recital

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The Gospel Truth about the Negro Spiritual: A Lecture Recital
Randye Jones, Soprano & Researcher

William Tinker, Piano
Grinnell College

Grinnell, IA

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Paper available online:

Excerpts (Spirituals): “The Gospel Train” (Phil Butler, etal., June 1939)

“Ezekial Saw de Wheel” (Fisk University Jubilee Singers, Dec. 1920)

“Go Down Moses” (Harry T. Burleigh, Summer, 1919)

“Li’l Boy” (Roland Hayes, c. 1941)

“Crucifixion” (Marian Anderson, Jul. 1941)

“Witness” (Paul Robeson w. L. Brown, Oct. 1927)

“Old Ship of Zion” (K Spencer/Hall Johnson Negro Choir, Sep. 1942)

“Let Us Cheer the Weary Traveler” (The Nathaniel Dett Chorale, Jul. 2002)

“Old Time Religion” (Chanticleer, Feb. 1987)

“I Couldn’t Hear Nobody Pray” (B. Hendricks/Moses Hogan Singers, Mar. 1998)

“No Hiding Place” (Simon Estes, Jun. 1984)

“Freedom Medley” (SNCC Freedom Singers, Spring 1964)

Excerpts (Gospel): “There’ll Be Peace in the Valley” (R. H. Harris, 1972?)

“Precious Lord, Take My Hand” (Mahalia Jackson)

“Touch the Hem of His Garment” (Sam Cooke and the Soul Stirrers)

“Oh Happy Day” (The Edwin Hawkins Singers, Apr. 1969)

“Precious Memories” (Aretha Franklin/Rev. James Cleveland, Jan. 1972)

“Brighter Day” (Kirk Franklin)

“Oh Mary Don’t You Weep” (The Swan Silvertones, Sep. 1959)

“Mary” (Take 6)

This program is one of the ongoing “The Art of the Negro Spiritual” series of lectures and recitals presented by Ms. Jones. For more information about ANS, please visit

The program was sponsored by the Grinnell College American Studies Program. Thanks as well to the Grinnell College Libraries for their support.

Scores Used
Burleigh, Harry T. The Spirituals of Harry T. Burleigh: High Voice.  Melville, NY: Belwin-Mills, 1984.
Carter, John. Cantata: for Voice and Piano. New York: Southern Music Pub., 1964.

Discography & Videography
Fisk University Jubilee Singers: in Chronological Order. Vol. 2, 1915-1920. Compact disc DODC-5534. Document Records, 1997. J87f v.2
Give Me Jesus: Spirituals. Barbara Hendricks, The Moses Hogan Singers. Compact disc. 7243 5 56683 2 5 EMI. 1998. H382g
Gospel: The Essential Album. Various artists. Compact disc MANTDCD216. Union Square Music, 2003.
Gospels, Spirituals & Hymns. Mahalia Jackson. Compact disc C2K47083. Columbia/Legacy, 1991.
Jubilation!: Great Gospel Performances. Various artists. Compact disc R2 70288. Rhino, 1992. J871
Listen to the Lamb: the Music of R. Nathaniel Dett. The Nathaniel Dett Chorale. Compact disc 7 74718 12932 1. Marquis, 2002.
Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1891-1922. Various artists. Compact discs ARCH 1005. Archeophone, 2005. L8912
Negro Religious Songs and Services: The Library of Congress Archive of Folk Culture. Various artists. Compact disc CD 1514. Rounder Select, 1999. N3113
Negro Spirituals: La Tradition de Concert/The Concert Tradition, 1909-1948. Various artists. Compact disc FA 168. Frémeaux & Associés, 1999.
Oh Happy Day. Produced & directed by David Leivick & Frederick Ritzenberg. 60 min. Monterey Home Video, 2004. Videodisc.  Oh2a

Precious Lord: Recordings of the Great Gospel Songs of Thomas A. Dorsey. Various artists. Compact disc CK 57164. Columbia/Legacy, [1994], 1973. D733p

Sam Cooke: The Man and His Music. Sam Cooke. Compact disc PCD1-7127. RCA Victor, 1986.
Songs of Free Men: A Paul Robeson Recital. Paul Robeson, Lawrence Brown, Columbia Concert Orchestra. Compact disc MHK 63223. Columbia Masterworks, 1997.
Spirituals. Simon Estes. Compact disc 4120631-2.  Philips, 1985.   Es82s

Take 6. Take 6. Compact disc 9 25670-2. Reprise, 1988. T132t
Voices of the Civil Rights Movement. Various performers. Compact discs SF 40084. Smithsonian Folkways, 1997. V8715
Where the Sun Will Never Go Down: Spirituals and Traditional Gospel Music. Chanticleer, Joseph Jennings. Compact disc 4509-90878-2. Teldec Classics, 1994. C369wh
WOW Gospel 2004. Various artists. Compact disc 82876-57494-2R. Zomba, 2004. W8999g

Randye Jones received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education from Bennett College, Greensboro, North Carolina, where she was named to “Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.” She completed her Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from Florida State University, Tallahassee. Jones has gained international recognition for her research of African American vocalists and composers through her Web site, Afrocentric Voices in Classical Music. She is currently conducting research and regularly presents lectures and recitals on the Negro spiritual. Her research project, The Art of the Negro Spiritual, has been profiled in publications such as Billboard. She has served as a consultant for The Kennedy Center Honors and The Washington Chorus. She produced her debut recording of spirituals, Come Down Angels, in 2003 on AhhJay Records. Jones is currently on the library staff at Grinnell College.

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