The Best Black Gospel Music Books

This article is a collaborative effort, crafted and edited by a team of dedicated professionals.

Contributors: Andranick Tanguiane, Fred Lerdahl,


Looking for the best books on black gospel music? Here are our top picks, including both history books and artist biographies.

Books about the history of black gospel music

1. “The Gospel Truth” by Anthony Heilbut

2. “The Gospel Sound” by Tony Lawrence

3. “The Gospel Music Encyclopedia” by Terry Butler

4. “African American Religious Music” by Hansonia Caldwell

5. “A History of African American Christian Worship” by Cain Hope Felder

Books with biographies of black gospel music artists

Here are some great books with biographies of black gospel music artists:

-“Mo’ Better Blues: The Life and Times of Walt Whitman” by Mark Bego
-“And the Band Played On: The Life and Times of Booker T. Washington” by Calvin Facilities
-“The Life and Times of Cab Calloway” by Whitney Balliett
– “Swanee River: The Life and Times of Blind Lemon Jefferson” by John Chisum

Books with sheet music for black gospel songs

One of the main reasons why people learn to play an instrument is so they can join or form a band. But what if you want to play music by yourself, or you want to play gospel music specifically? In that case, you’re going to need some sheet music.

Fortunately, there are plenty of great books out there that contain sheet music for black gospel songs. Here are just a few of the best ones:

“The African American Heritage Hymnal” – This hymnal consists of over 500 traditional and contemporary gospel songs, including many well-known tunes such as “Amazing Grace,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” and “We Shall Overcome.”

“The Giant Book of Gospel Sheet Music” – As its name suggests, this book is absolutely massive, containing over 600 pages of sheet music for gospel classics. Some of the included songs are “Oh Happy Day,” “I Saw the Light,” and “ Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone).”

“The Gospel Piano Method” – This method book is designed specifically for those who want to learn how to play gospel piano. It includes lessons on chords, progressions, techniques, and more; plus, it comes with a CD so you can hear how the songs should sound.

“The Best Black Gospel Songs Ever” – This songbook features 75 classic gospel songs arranged for voice and piano. Some of the included tunes are “He Touched Me,” “His Eye Is On the Sparrow,” and “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.”

Books with interviews of black gospel music artists

In a previous blog post, we talked about the best black gospel music albums. In this post, we want to focus on the best black gospel music books.

There are several great books that have been written about black gospel music and its history. These books are a great way to learn more about the genre and the artists who have made it so popular.

One of the best black gospel music books is “The Gospel Sound: Good News and Bad Times” by Tony Heilbut. This book features interviews with some of the biggest names in black gospel music, including Clara Ward, James Cleveland, Shirley Caesar, and many others. Heilbut offers a fascinating look at the history of gospel music and its impact on American culture.

Another great book is “Shoutin’ Time: The Life and Times of Thomas A. Dorsey” by Michael Harris. This book tells the story of one of the most important figures in black gospel music history – Thomas A. Dorsey. Dorsey was a prolific composer and performer who helped to popularize gospel music in the early 20th century. Harris’s book is a fascinating look at Dorsey’s life and career, as well as the impact he had on black gospel music.

If you are looking for a more general history of black gospel music, “The Gospel Music Association Encyclopedia of Gospel Music” by Stormie Omartian is a great place to start. This book provides a comprehensive overview of the genre, from its roots in African-American spirituals to its modern incarnation as a popular form of contemporary Christian music. Omartian’s book is an essential reference for anyone interested in learning more about black gospel music.

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