Best-Loved Negro Spirituals



Best-Loved Negro Spirituals

This edition

"Best-Loved Negro Spirituals: Complete Lyrics to 178 Songs of Faith". Ed. Nicole Beaulieu Herder and Ronald Herder. Foreword Paul T. Kwami. Mineola, NY: Dover, 2001. 112 pp.

Online access

Preview available online via Google Books:

Publisher's description

From back cover:
"Negro spirituals were profoundly influenced both by the African origins of the singers and by the nature of slavery itself. Music permeated every part of African culture from birth to death, and continued to have a powerful, healing role among the people brought to America against their will. The influence of African music on spirituals can be seen in the many elements they have in common, as well as in a diversity that reflects individual tribal influences. Of these songs, famed scholar and collector Natalie Curtis-Burlin wrote, 'The Negro spirituals rank with the great folk-music of the world, and are among the loveliest of chanted prayers.'
"This anthology features complete lyrics to 178 of the best-loved spirituals, including such lasting favorites as “Balm in Gilead,” “Deep River,” “Down by the Riverside,” “Ezekiel Saw the Wheel,” “Gonna Shout All Over God's Heaven,” “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hand,” “Roll, Jordan, Roll,” “Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child,” “Steal Away to Jesus,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” “This Train,” “We Are Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” “Were You There When They Crucified My Lord?” and many more. An excellent source of familiar song lyrics ideal for sing-alongs, community programs, church functions, and other events, this handsome collection will provide readers and singers alike with hours of pleasure.
"Dover (2001) original compilation of complete lyrics to 178 songs drawn from authoritative sources. Foreword. Notes on the Negro Folk Song. Editors' Note. 128pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2. . . . Pa[perback] $7.95"

See also

Kathleen Abromeit, music librarian at Oberlin Conservatory Library, mentions this work alongside several other collections of lyrics to African American spirituals in "Need Help Finding Lyrics to a Spiritual?" ("Spirituals Research" blog 20 March 2016):
The other volumes Abromeit lists include:
● Hickman, Cynthia. "Spirituals: A Folk Anthology". New York: Dunbar, 2002. ("An anthology of lyrics from 225 spirituals")
● Newman, Richard. "Go Down, Moses: A Celebration of the African-American Spiritual". Foreword Cornel West. New York: Clarkson Potter, 1998. ("Collects the lyrics to two hundred spirituals")
● Peters, Erskine. "Lyrics of the Afro-American Spiritual: A Documentary Collection". Westport, CT: Greenwood, 1993. ("An anthology of lyrics from 978 spirituals")
Ingrid Sturgis, in a review of "The Trouble I've Seen: The Big Book of Negro Spirituals" by Bruno Chenu (Judson Press, 2003) ("Black Issues Book Review" 1 Nov. 2004) notes that Chenu's book gives the lyrics to 210 Negro spirituals. It also notes that nearly 6,000 spirituals have been compiled by the Library of Congress and the LOC American Folk Life Center has field recordings of some of these songs from as early as 1920.

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