Philadelphia: Turner & Fisher.
First Edition. Hardcover (Full Leather). Very Good Condition. Item #048423
Original red leather publisher's binding, rubbed, worn, but sound. Lettering and minstrel figure on spine. A few minor stains, final blank torn, generally very clean internally. 448pp
The first collection of its sort, it is both hugely important and, of course, hugely problematic. Most of the songs are not African American in origin but, instead, from minstrel shows. However, many of the songs represent the first written record of actual spirituals that were then appropriated for minstrel shows (A Few Days, De Jim Crow, Dandy Jim of Caroline, others). Many verses lingered on well into the 20th century. For example Memphis bluesman Frank Stokes who toured early on with minstrel shows adapted lines from the book, as did the turn of the century Unique Quartet. Stephen Foster did a version of the purely minstrel song Pompey O'Smash which appears in this volume. The roots of I shall be Free, the 1962 Bob Dylan song, a reworking of the much earlier song made famous in the 1940s by Leadbelly and Woody Guthrie can be traced directly back (to You shall be Free, Moanish Lady, Poor Mourner) to verses in The Negro Singer's Own Book. Filled with slurs, caricatures, and all the other racist elements of minstrel culture, it is, nevertheless, genuinely important in the history of American music.
8 copies in OCLC, very rare in commerce. Size: 16mo . Quantity Available: 1. Shipped Weight: Under 1 kilo. Category: Music; Americana. Inventory No: 048423.