The Story of the Jubilee Singers
Last updated: 18.04.20
||Hodder and Stoughton
112 gospels as sung on their tours of America and Great Britain in 1871 and 1875.
This book is the oldest song book in my collection and one of pride and joy. It is in very good condition and I dip it often. It gives a vivid description of the original Jubilee Singers and their struggles to get established. It seems that they were the media event of their day. There is also detailed, if somewhat potted, biographies of these freed slaves and it makes depressing reading even today. There is also an article on the "Freedmen's Missions Aid Society" of which The Earl of Shafttesbury was president. I would like to quote from the book:
"According to Dr Livingstone, Sir Bartle Frere, and other distinguished authorities, not less than 1,000.000 of Ethiopia's wretched children are stolen every year out of their country for the slavemarts of the world. That such a crime is permitted, in this nineteenth century, for a single year, is a burning shame to the civilised nations. Surely, England and America should sound forth their reprobation throughout the world as through a brazen trumpet! Doing less, we can hardly vindicate our common Christianity before the world, much less before high Heaven."
As this twentieth century draws to a close it seems that we have made little progress since the Jubilee singers made their mark in the world.
For the practical musician, this book is a treasure trove. For example, "Go down, Moses" has 25 verses against the mere three or four given in most modern books!. This is the source for:
- Deep river
- John Brown's Body
- Nobody knows the trouble I've seen
- Roll, Jordan, roll
- Swing low, sweet chariot
- When Israel was in Egypt's land