Robert Darden

Host of Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments

 

Robert F. Darden is the author of two dozen books, most recently: Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume II: Black Sacred Music from Sit-In to Resurrection City (Penn State University Press, 2016); Nothing But Love in God’s Water, Volume I: Black Sacred Music from the Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement(Penn State University Press, 2014); Jesus Laughed: The Redemptive Power of Humor(Abingdon Press, 2008), Reluctant Prophets and Clueless Disciples: Understanding the Bible by Telling Its Stories(Abingdon Press, 2006); and People Get Ready! A New History of Black Gospel Music(Continuum/Bloomsbury, 2004).

He is the founder of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project at Baylor University, the world’s largest initiative to identify, acquire, digitize, categorize and eventually make accessible fast-vanishing vinyl of gospel music from gospel’s Golden Age (1945-1970). The BGMRP provides the gospel music for the Smithsonian’s new National Museum of African American History & Culture. www.baylor.edu/lib/gospel

At Baylor, Darden has won virtually every major teaching and research award, including The Cornelia Marschall Smith Award as Outstanding Professor (2011); the first Baylor University Diversity Award (2010) and received the honor again in 2017 as the founder and member of the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project team; the Outstanding Research Professor, College of Arts & Sciences (2008); Outstanding Teaching Professor, College of Arts & Sciences (2018); and the Baylor Centennial Award (2008).

He is a popular speaker and has been the keynote speaker at a host of seminars, conferences, and stand-alone events at the University Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland, the Ralph Bunche Library of the Department of State’s American Author Lecture Series, Princeton University, Yale University, the Texas Book Festival, the Louisiana Book Festival and many others.

Darden’s articles and essays have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Times to the Oxford American. He has been featured in hundreds of radio and television programs, including Fresh Air with Terri Gross(NPR), 1A with Joshua Johnson, All Things Considered(NPR), CSPAN, BBC World Service, BBC Outlook, Austrian Public Broadcasting, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 

He has also been published in The New Grove Dictionary of American Music, The Cambridge Dictionary of Christianity, the World Book Encyclopedia, the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress and is a frequent contributor toHuffington Post and Christianity Today Online.

Additionally, Darden spent twenty years as the Senior Editor forThe Wittenburg Door and another fifteen years as Gospel Music Editor forBillboard Magazine. In 2016, he created the radio insert “Shout! Black Gospel Music Moments” for KWBU-FM Waco. Darden researches, writes, and records the weekly show, which (as of July 2019) now appears on a dozen NPR stations, including KERA-FM Dallas.

Darden is married to Dr. Mary Landon Darden, CEO of the education consulting firm Higher Education Innovation, Inc. and the author of Beyond 2020: Envisioning the Future of Universities in America(American Council on Education/Rowman & Littlefield, 2009). The couple live in Waco, Texas, and have three children and four grandchildren. They are active in Seventh & James Baptist Church in Waco.

"Mother's Advice" by Georgia's Taylor Brothers is a gently rocking country gospel jewel.

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Sister Josephine James' slow and bluesy rendition of "God Can Make a Way" will give you shivers!

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Sister Rosetta Tharp's legacy as one of the greatest gospel artists of all time is cemented by breezy, bouncy gospel swing tunes like this one, "Go Ahead".


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"Glad That Trouble Don't Last Alsways" is a lasting tribute to one of gospel's least-known - but always listenable - labels: Designer Records from Memphis, Tennessee.


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Emma Weeks and the Faith Temple Radio Choir of COGIC sing their hearts out on Rosie Wallace’s famed “Get Your Business Fixed.”

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The D.C. Christian Harmonizers released several joyfully funky 45s on a variety of small gospel labels in the late '60's and early '70's.

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The Imperial Gospel Singers’ “Fountain of Blood” will remind you of the powerful harmonies of their Philadelphia neighbors, the legendary Angelics. 

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Chicago’s Argo Singers released a host of fine 45s for Vee-Jays Records in the mid-1960s, including the bouncy “Fill Me Now.” 

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For more than 50 years, Evelyn’s singing and songwriting made the Gay Sisters one of gospel’s most influential artists

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The Imperial Gospel Singers’ “Fountain of Blood” will remind you of the powerful harmonies of their Philadelphia neighbors, the legendary Angelics. 


Click the title above to read along.
Hear the full SHOUT! segment here. 

 Click here to listen to this episode's featured song. 

  

The mainstay of that city’s vibrant gospel music scene, the Cleveland Golden Echoes have been thrilling audiences since 1938. 

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Anita Butler’s towering “Every Day of My Life” is one of several highlights from the otherwise unknown Richburgh Record label.

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You’ll hear echoes of Mahalia Jackson in Georgia Louis’ version of “Move on Up a Little Higher.”

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Guitar great Benny Turner got his start with the Kindly Shepherds on this wonderful gospel tune, “Every Year Carries a Number.”
 

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Anita Butler’s towering “Every Day of My Life” is one of several highlights from the otherwise unknown Richburgh Record label.

Click the title above to read along.
Hear the full SHOUT! segment here. 

Listen to this week's featured song here:

  

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