Cover image for The Cambridge companion to blues and gospel music
The Cambridge companion to blues and gospel music
Moore, Allan F.
Publication Information:
Cambridge ; New York : Cambridge University Press, [2002]

Physical Description:
xviii, 208 pages, 8 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, music ; 25 cm.
Added Author:

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
ML3521 .C36 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
ML3521 .C36 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



From Robert Johnson to Aretha Franklin, Mahalia Jackson to John Lee Hooker, blues and gospel artists play significant roles in twentieth-century culture. This overview of these genres provides an expression of the twentieth-century black American experience. Histories are questioned; songs and lyrical imagery are analyzed; perspectives are presented from the standpoint of voice, guitar, piano, and working musician. A concluding chapter discusses the impact that the genres have had on mainstream musical culture.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Comprising 11 chapters, a chronology, and quite brief bibliography, discography, and index, this volume includes several chapters especially suited for a reference work. These include Evans's balanced and succinct history of the blues, though he fails to recognize the pivotal role played by those musicians who broadcast over Arkansas stations KFFA and KWEM; Titon's discussion of the confusion in the labeling of African American music; Headlam's examination of popular music's appropriation of blues and gospel (apart from multiple errors, e.g., Ray Charles recorded for ABC not RCA, Flames were "Famous" not "Fabulous," Mance Lipscomb and others were not "re"-discovered), and York on keyboard techniques. Other chapters are inconclusive but suggestive for future research: Jungr on "vocal expression" and van Rijn on imagery in prewar lyrics. Tracey's excellent article on performance conditions for black artists explores an area that has generally been ignored. Moore's introduction is misleading, contains errors, and fails to mention important recent scholarship (e.g., by Angela Davis, Clyde Woods). Cusic on gospel demonstrates a lack of knowledge of both black music and American church history, and Backer's contribution on the guitar is rife with error. Typos, misspellings, and inconsistent citations are too common, so the book lacks authority and credibility. ^BSumming Up: Optional. Comprehensive graduate and research collections. F. J. Hay Appalachian State University

Table of Contents

1 Surveying the field: our knowledge of blues and gospel musicAllan Moore
2 Labels: identifying categories of blues and gospelJeff Todd Titon
3 The development of the bluesDavid Evans
4 The development of gospel musicDon Cusic
5 Twelve key recordingsGraeme Boone
6 'Black twice': performance conditions for blues and gospel artistsSteve Tracy
7 Vocal expression in the blues and gospelBarb Jungr
8 The guitarMatt Backer
9 Keyboard techniquesAdrian York
10 Imagery in the lyricsGuido van Rijn
11 Appropriations of blues and gospel in popular musicDave Headlam