Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022

Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022

I am honored to announce the release of my second book, Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022, just published by McFarland and Co.

As the book’s compiler, I documented commercially produced recordings of Negro spirituals composed for solo concert vocalists. Presently, tracks listed in the book reference over 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 or other print resources.

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 musicians 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 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.

Three features have been added to Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022. First, where I was able to listen to the recordings, I evaluated the level of dialect discerned in the performance and categorized the tracks as either “no dialect discerned,” “light dialect,” “moderate dialect,” or “heavy dialect.” Also, intending to address as many of the recordings where the composer information is either lacking or listed only as “Traditional” as I could find, I assessed the recordings available and provided composer information when possible.

Finally, I selected 29 of the most frequently recorded spirituals–representing nearly 60% of the book’s entries–and created introductory notes that variously include scriptural references, song texts, song collections containing the concert spiritual, as well as comments about performance practice, compositional approach, and/or historical information.

NOTE: Since the contents referenced in Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022 are commercially produced sound recordings, I organized the book in the manner of a discography. There are, indeed, many elements of a discography included; however, this guide is intended to encourage the use of the recordings themselves, rather than solely to provide historical data.

Order information for Recorded Solo Concert Spirituals, 1916-2022 is available at The book is available in softcover ($75.00) and ebook ($44.95).

Limited portions of the book’s contents are available on the free online site, The Spirituals Database (URL: The site contains a variety of information that is not available in the book and, thus, supports the book’s entries.

Since you are here and have made it to this point, let me share this discount offer for 20% off purchase of the book. The form is available at Please note that the discount ends June 17, 2023.

Thanks for your interest!