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The School of Arizona Dranes

Gospel Music Pioneer

Timothy Dodge

Arizona Dranes (1889-1963) was a true musical innovator whose recordings made for the Okeh label during the years 1926-1928 helped lay the foundations for what would soon be known as gospel music. Her unique blend of ragtime, barrelhouse, and boogie woogie piano plus her exciting and emotional Pentecostal style of singing influenced the development of gospel music for the next forty years and beyond.
The School of Arizona Dranes: Gospel Music Pioneer covers the life and career of Dranes and situates her accomplishments in the broader history of African American gospel music and the rise of the Pentecostal movement. Starting with the earliest recordings of the music in the late nineteenth century, this book provides a history of African American sacred and gospel music that convincingly demonstrates the revolutionary nature of Dranes’s musical accomplishment. Using specific examples, the author traces the far-reaching influence of Arizona Dranes on African American gospel piano playing and singing.
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Lexington Books
Pages: 206Size: 6 1/4 x 9 1/4
978-0-7391-6712-0 • Hardback • September 2013 • $90.00 • (£60.00)
978-0-7391-6713-7 • eBook • September 2013 • $85.00 • (£54.95)
Timothy Dodge is a reference librarian at Auburn University with prior experience at the University of New Hampshire and Barry University. Since 1970 he has been a collector of rhythm and blues, African American gospel, and related genres of music. Dodge has been hosting the Golden Oldies show on WEGL – Auburn, Ala. FM 91.1 since 1998.
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Arizona Dranes: Her Life and her Work
Chapter 3: The Pentecostal Church and Black Sacred Music
Chapter 4: The Role of Women in the Pentecostal Church
Chapter 5: Early Twentieth-Century Black Sacred Music and the Recording Industry
Chapter 6: The School of Arizona Dranes
Chapter 7: Conclusion
At long last a scholarly book on Texas-born blind pianist and singer Juanita "Arizona" Dranes who was greatly encouraged to record her music by founding Church of God in Christ Evangelist Bishop Samuel M. Crouch. She first recorded in Chicago during the late 1920s where she left her indelible signature on the primal development of modern-day gospel piano.
Opal Louis Nations, Gospel musicologist and music producer

The School of Arizona Dranes: Gospel Music Pioneer lovingly frames the life of an extraordinary blind, southern, black singer who introduced the "gospel beat" and the percussive use of voice in her performances. As a Pentecostal singer in the Church of God in Christ, Dranes created an ecstatic, sensuous sound that shaped both modern gospel music and rock and roll. Since his discovery of Arizona Dranes's music as a 19-year-old student at Swarthmore College 37 years ago, Timothy Dodge has been on a mission to learn about the singer's life and to honor her contributions to American music and religion. The School of Arizona Dranes: Gospel Music Pioneer is a timeless study that captures both Dranes and her musical legacy with grace and beauty.
William Ferris, University of Mississippi