185 pp

Another welcome book on African-American classical singers.  Rosalyn Story’s “And so I sing” (Amistad publishers) had the drawback of focussing on female singers only so a book dealing with the males as well was more than necessary. For many Darryl Nettles’s book will fill that void. It did so for me yet only partially. The main reason is that this endeavour is a work of love and a more scholarly method is lacking. The criteria handled by the author are therefore often in contradiction with the title of the book. Concert singers are often mainly opera singers, and ‘before 1950’ is –luckily- often ignored. So in most cases criteria for including such and such singer are arbitry. For instance he discusses the career of Carol Brice yet completely ignores her husband Thomas Carey. Assets are the many reviews included and the personal comments on several singers by William Warfield with whom the author studied. Some wonderful and rare photographs are used but the discography is rather poor and incomplete. Nevertheless the book reveals a lot of information on totally forgotten singers sketchy as some of the biographical outlines may be.
It will serve as one of the reference sources for serious record collectors and for people with an interest in African-American opera and concert singers this book is a must.
Please also visit our gallery of African-American singers.

Rudi van den Bulck, Opera nostalgia