Preliminary Bibliography of Best-Known Black Appalachian Musicians

By Freed, Mark | Black Music Research Journal, Spring 2004 | Go to article overview

Preliminary Bibliography of Best-Known Black Appalachian Musicians


Freed, Mark, Black Music Research Journal


African-American musicians have lived in, contributed to, and influenced Appalachian music since the introduction of the banjo and African work songs and chants through modern blues, jazz, gospel, pop, and rock music. While some of these musicians have been documented for their individual achievements, only recently have they been considered collectively in terms of the Appalachian region.

This bibliography is not a comprehensive collection of all black music in Appalachia, but it highlights the best-known artists who were born within the Appalachian region. It does not include scores or record reviews. It favors blues and folk music over sacred, jazz, R&B, and soul.

The App alachia covered by this bibliography is the classic definition of John C. Campbell (1921). Musicians born in the region and groups that formed there are included. A good map of the included counties can be found by state or the entire region at http://www.library.appstate.edu/ appcoll/maps.html. Campbell's Ap-palachia does not include any counties in Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, or New York but it does contain Virginia counties that have historically been considered Appalachian in terms of geography and culture even though they are not included in the Appalachian Regional Commission's current border.

This index of black Appalachian musicians began as a final project for an introductory class on research methods in the Appalachian studies master's program at Appalachian State University. Most of the materials I located for the initial compilation were available at Appalachian State University in the W. L. Eury Appalachian Collection, the music library at ASU, or the libraries at University of North Carolina at Asheville and Western Carolina University. At the conclusion of the research methods course, I realized the music of black Appalachia was vast, diverse, and plentiful, and I continued to seek out sources through electronic databases and a visit to the libraries at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. I also acquired a preview of Robert Eagle's "Geographical Directory of Black Appalachian Musicians," which helped me discover some of the lesser-known artists; however, only those about whom there is published material in print--books, articles, newspaper columns, sound recordings, or videos--are listed in this index.

Sources containing information about three or more included musicians or containing a general discussion of black music in Appalachia can be found under General Sources. Sources for individual musicians and groups follow the general headings and are categorized alphabetically by musician, then by category of material, then by entry.

While this project reflects time restraints and the methodology does not cover every black Appalachian musician exhaustively, it is the first to compile the major known sources of the black artists in the region.

General Sources

General Dictionaries, Encyclopedias, and Guides

Arnaudon, Jean-Claude. 1977. Dictionnaire du blues. Paris: Filipacchi.

Carr, Ian. 1988. Jazz: The essential companion. New York: Prentice-Hall.

Clarke, Donald. 1989. The Penguin encyclopedia of popular music. New York: Viking Penguin.

Cowley, John, and Paul Oliver. 1996. The new Blackwell guide to recorded blues. Oxford: Blackwell.

Harris, Sheldon. 1979. Blues who's who. 5th ed. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House.

Kernfeld, Barry, ed. 2002. The new Grove dictionary of jazz. 3rd ed. New York: Grove's Dictionaries.

Kinkle, Roger D. 1974. The complete encyclopedia of popular music and jazz, 1900-1950. New Rochelle, N.Y.: Arlington House.

Larkin, Colin. 1993. The Guinness who's who of blues. 2nd ed. Enfield, England: Guinness World Records.

--. 1998. The encyclopedia of popular music. 3rd ed. New York: Muze; distributed in the U.S. by Grove Dictionaries.

Santelli, Robert. …

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