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Woke Me Up This Morning

Black Gospel Singers and the Gospel Life

Alan Young

Publication Year: 1997

Published by: University Press of Mississippi

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. ix-xi

As the Dixie Hummingbirds swung into song at the Newport Folk Festival in 1966, they brought a new experience to many in the large audience—the excitement of seeing an African-American gospel quartet in performance. And while the enthusiastic throng may not have realized...

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Music in the Air: An Introduction

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pp. xiii-xxxvi

Blues. Rock 'n' roll. Memphis. Mississippi. On one level, this is a collection of nouns; two are forms of music, and two are locations in the southern United States. But words can take on powers beyond their meaning, and these four (allowing rock 'n' roll as one) are among the...

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1. The Gospel Evangelists

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pp. 3-51

The itinerant musician is a recurring figure in the history of southern African-American folk music. Traveling from town to town with only a few possessions, such singers made a living performing for tips on street corners and at social gatherings. Typically they were blues singers...

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2. The Quartets

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pp. 52-104

Quartets occupy a unique place in gospel music. Although they are an essential part of African-American religious music, few are directly affiliated with churches, and much of their singing is done outside the church environment. They are the best-known practitioners of...

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3. Women's Voices

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pp. 105-140

"The first time I ever heard a boogie-woogie piano was the first time I ever went to church. That was the Holy Ghost Church in Dallas, Texas" Texas blues guitarist Aaron "T-Bone" Walker told an interviewer in 1955. He didn't say who the pianist was, but blues and gospel historian...

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4. On the Air

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pp. 141-185

Radio has played—and still plays—an important role in the gospel music story. Since the 1920s, preachers, choirs, soloists, and quartets have made broadcasts with the dual purpose of spreading the message and promoting "in person" appearances. The development in the 1960s...

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5. The Preachers

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pp. 186-232

The African-American church was born as a direct rejection of segregation in established white churches. It had its origins in the late eighteenth century, when some white churches opened their doors to slaves—but restricted them to designated seating, or held separate services for them...

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6. Back in Church

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pp. 233-261

The grainy videotape shows an elderly man seated on a plain wooden chair and holding a steel-bodied National resonator guitar, the sort prized by 1930s blues players for their volume and durability. Before he plays it again, the old man has a message for the mainly young...

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pp. 263-264

It was a cool fall Sunday evening when I traveled to Tunica, Mississippi, for the anniversary of the Tunica Harmonizers. I'd heard the program advertised on a gospel radio station, with the added promise of "mystery guests from Chicago." The Pilgrim Jubilees, from Chicago, were somewhere...

Suggested Listening

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pp. 265-278


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pp. 279-300


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pp. 301-316

Song and Sermon Index

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pp. 317-320

E-ISBN-13: 9781604737325
E-ISBN-10: 087805944X
Print-ISBN-13: 9780878059447

Publication Year: 1997

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