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.

Sam Cooke, Lou Rawls and Johnny Taylor all spent time as part of the Highway QC's.  The group is still going strong today.


Chicago and Birmingham will always be hot beds of gospel music, but gospel music has flourished across the U.S.  for decades.


Gospel's music's most prolific artist is, no question, the Reverend James Cleveland. 


Doris Akers was a Gospel Hall of Fame vocalist, pianist, composer, arranger and choir director. From 1945 to 1995 she worked with Gospels best loved artists.


If the only thing you know about The Highway QC's is that they were the group that Sam Cook left to join the Soul Stirrers, then you've missed out on some seriously great gospel music. 


The Golden Age of Gospel music was also the Golden Age of Gospel Quartets.


Learn about the House of Beauty record label. 


Roscoe is the living embodiment of Southern black music history.


The Rev. Cleophus Robinson hails from the famous Greater Bethlehem Baptist Church of St. Louis - and it's really hard to separate the two. 


Rev. W. Leo Daniels died young but left behind dozens of incredible recorded sermons.  


J.M. Gates was influential to the sound of authentic black preaching and music.  


Alex Bradford had one of the greatest hits of Gospel Music.


In this episode of Shout! host Robert Darden recounts a conversation with a hero of the freedom movement.  


In this episode of Shout! host Robert Darden brings us the Spirit of Memphis Quartet's classic lineup with a track from their best days.


In this episode of Shout! host Robert Darden takes us to Oakland, California to visit the Soulful Sons of Zion.


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