Prayer and praise hymns have become an integral part of the sacred hymnody of the African American religious experience. Twenty years after the Emancipation, the children of the slaves found themselves living in the reality of separateness, and their religious practice turned increasingly inward. A unique body of hymnody grew out of that period, approximately 1885–1925.
These are songs of Southern origin, of a rural people working the land. These songs are different from spirituals and Black meter music, yet show their influences. These songs are Bible-based, highly repetitive in accord with the nature of oral tradition, and of anonymous authorship.
Wyatt Tee Walker has researched this segment of the history of African American church music more than any other known scholar. His original three paperback volumes have been edited and combined by James Abbington into this clothbound edition worthy of its historical and musical significance.
The book now includes a recording of the twenty-four selected “prayer and praise” hymns researched by Rev. Dr. Walker. This exciting CD highlights not only the hymns, but the singing style of the period as well, being faithful to the impromptu harmonies and dissonance brought about by inspired song.
A separate songbook for choirs and congregations is also available, making this valuable repertoire accessible for use in Sunday worship.