Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs - Titles index page

A collection of (updated now with 300+ songs) African American Negro Spirituals and Slave Songs. With lyrics plus printable PDF for download.

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Negro Spirituals, a definition

Negro Spirituals Lyrics Collection

The term has mostly been used to indicate a religious Negro folk-song, originating firstly in the South of the United states during the slavery period. Although born in slavery its traditions have been continued and the Spiritual as a musical genre continues to this day. According to noted Negro musician Dr. Melville Charlton, organist of the Union Theological Seminary at New York for 18 years, "a Spiritual is in a specific sense as an American Negro religious folk-song." He would also include any Negro religious song, not composed, in this category. J. Rosamond Johnson, who has studied, sung and composed the music of his race very extensively, defines a Spiritual as "an American Negro folk-song, who's rhythm derived from the African tom-tom beat, with the substance of its text based on prayer and religious fervour; set to the characteristic musical cadence of Negro melody." His brother, James Weldon Johnson, who wrote a very understanding and instructive preface to Mr. Johnson's collection of Spirituals, puts it in slightly different words when he writes, "They are religious folk-songs origi- nated by the Negro in the South and used strictly for purposes of religious worship." Harry T. Burleigh, who is equally well known as a composer and as soloist of St. George's Church, New York, defines a Spiritual as follows:

"The plantation songs known as Spirituals are the spontaneous outpourings of intense religious fervour and have their origin chiefly in camp-meetings, revivals, and other religious exercises. They were never composed but sprang into life ready made from the heat of religious fervour, during some protracted meeting in camp or church, as the simple, ecstatic utterance of wholly untutored minds, and are practically the only music of America which meets the scientific definition of folk-song." Mr. Burleigh then goes on to state that deep spirituality and rhythm are essential components and makes the rather impressive statement that the voice is not so important as the spirit.

It would appear from these various definitions that there are several fundamental properties of the Spiritual, namely: origin among Southern Negro folk, that it shall have grown up uncomposed, its subject matter religion, and possessed of much fervour; a characteristic melody; its rhythm based on the native African tom-tom beat and finally, that it should be the spontaneous outpouring of the spirit. They are suited to communal singing, often use a call-and-response structure, with between the leader and the group.


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For Negro Spiritual song books and Sheet Music to buy check the
Negro Spirituals Collection at Sheet Music Plus

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Aint Going To Tarry Here
Aint Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Roun
Aint Got Time To Die Hall Johnson
Aint That Good News
All Gods Chillun Got Wings
All I Do, The Church Keep A Grumbling
Almost Done Toiling Here
A Little Talk With Jesus
Babylons Falling(2)
Babylons Falling
Beams Of Heaven (someday)
Before Id Be A Slave William E Barton
Blow Your Trumpet, Gabriel
Bound For Canaan Land
Bound To Go
Bow Low, Mary
Buked And Scorned
Bye And Bye
Changed Mah Name
Children Go Where I Send Thee
Children We All Shall Be Free
City Called Heaven
Climbin Up D Mountain
Come Down, Angel
Come Down
Come Go With Me
Come Here Jesus, If You Please
Come Here Lord
Come Unto Me
Cry Holy
Daniel Saw The Stone
Deep River
Dese Bones Gwine Rise Again
Dey Crucified My Lord
De Angel Roll De Stone Away
De Blind Man Stood On De Road En Cried
Didnt My Lord Deliver Daniel
Didnt Old Pharaoh Get Lost
Did Your Hear My Jesus
Do, Lord, Remember Me
Dont Be Weary, Traveler
Dont You Let Nobody Turn You Roun
Down By The Riverside
Down By The River Side
Down In The Valley
Do Lord Remember Me
Dry Bones(2)
Dry Bones (1)
Dry Bones (third Version)
Early In The Morning
Every Dayll Be Sunday
Evry Time I Feel De Spirit(2)
Evry Time I Feel De Spirit
Ezekiels Wheel
Ezekiel Saw The Wheel
Fare Ye Well
Free At Last(2)
Free At Last (1)
Get Away Jordan
Git Yo Ticket
Give Me Jesus(2)
Give Me Jesus (1)
Give Me That Old Time Religion
Give Me Your Hand
Glory, Glory, Hallelujah
Going Home
Going To Set Down
Going To Shout All Over Gods Heaven
Good Morning Everybody
Good News
Got My Letter
Go Down, Moses
Go Down Moses(2)
Go Down Moses (1)
Go In The Wilderness
Great Day
Hail Mary
Hangman Johnny
Hard Trials
Heaven Is A Beautiful Place
Hes Got The Whole World In His Hands
Hes The Lilly Of The Valley
Hes The Lily Of The Valley
He Never Said A Mumbling Word
Hide A Me
His Eye Is On The Sparrow
Hold On
Hold The Wind, Dont Let It Blow
Hold The Wind
Hold Your Light
Holy Baby (i Shall Send Thee)
Holy Bible
Holy I Got Over
Humble Yourself, The Bells Done Ring
If I Have Mah Tickit Lawd
Ill Be Sleepin In Mah Grave
Im A Rollin
Im An Everyday Witness
Im A Rollin
Im Going To Join The Band
Im Going Up
Im Gwine Up To Heaven Anyhow
Im Runnin On
Im So Glad Trouble Dont Last Always
Im Troubled In Mind
Int That Good News J W Work
In Bright Mansions Above
In Dat Great Gittin Up Mornin(2)
In Dat Great Gittin Up Mornin
In The Army Of The Lord
In The Morning
In This Field
It May Be De Las Time
Ive Been Buked An Ive Been Scorned
Ive Got Peace Like A River
I Aint Gonna Grieve My Lord No More
I Am A Poor Wayfaring Stranger
I Am Free
I Am Seeking For A City
I Believe Ill Go Back Home
I Cant Stay Behind
I Couldnt Hear Nobody Pray
I Found Jesus Over In Zion
I Got A Hidin Place
I Got A Home In That Rock
I Got A Key To The Kingdom
I Got Mah Swoad In Mah Han
I Heard From Heaven Today
I Know Moon Rise
I Mean To Lift Up A Standard For My King
I Must Walk My Lonesome Valley
I Shall Not Be Moved
I Stood On The River Of Jordan
I Stood Outside The Gate
I Wanta Live So God Can Use Me
I Want Jesus To Walk With Me
I Want To Be Ready
Jesus Gonna
Jesus On The Waterside
Jesus With Us
John Done Saw Dat Numbuh
John Saw
John Saw The Holy Number
John The Revelator
Joshua Fit De Battle Of Jericho
Joy To The World
Judgment Day Is A Rolling Around
Keep Me From Sinking Down
King Jesus Is A Listening
Kum Ba Yah (come By Here)
Kum Ba Yah Come By Here
Lawd I Want Two Wings
Let The Church Roll On
Lift Every Voice And Sing
Listen To The Lambs
Little Black Train Is A Comin
Little David Play On Your Harp
Live A Humble
Lord, I Don Done
Lord, Remember Me
Lord I Cant Stay Here By Myself
Lord Remember Me
Lord Until I Reach My Home
Many Thousand Go
Marching Up The Heavenly Road
March Down To Jordan
Mary And Martha
Mary Had A Baby
Mary Wept An Marthy Moaned
Master Going To Sell Us Tomorrow
Members Dont Get Weary
Michael, Row The Boat A Shore
Mos (almost) Don Toiling Here
My Army Cross Over
My God Is A Man Of War
My Good Lords Done Been Here
My Lord What A Morning
My Ship Is On The Ocean
Nobody Knows De Trouble Ive Seen
Nobody Knows The Trouble Ive Had
Nobody Knows The Trouble Ive Seen
Nobody Knows Who I Am
Nothing Between
Now Let Me Fly
No Condemnation In My Soul
Oer The Crossing
Oh, Mother, Dont You Weep
Oh, Peter, Go Ring The Bells
Oh, Sinner Man, You Had Better Pray
Oh Freedom
Oh Mary, Oh Marthy
Oh Sinner
Oh What A Beautiful City
Oh Yes
Old Zions Children Marching Along
One More River
One More River To Cross
On My Journey Now, Mount Zion
Open The Window, Noah
O Mary Dont You Weep
O Mother Dont You Weep
O Rocks Dont Fall On Me
O The Dying Lamb
O Yes, Lord
O Yes Lord
Pass Me Not
Peace In The Valley
Poor Me
Poor Mourners
Pray On
Ride In, Kind Savior
Ride In Kind Savior
Ride On King Jesus
Ride On Moses
Rise, Shine, For Thy Light Is A Coming
Rise And Shine
Rise Up, Shepherd, And Follow
Rise Up, Shepherd, And Follow 2
Rise Up Dear Shepherd
Rock My Soul
Rock Of Ages
Roll Jordan, Roll
Roll On
Roll The Chariot Along
Room In There
Run Mary Run
Run Mouner Run
Run Mourner Run
Scandalized My Name
Shout For Joy
Singing Wid A Sword In Ma Han
Singin Wid A Sword In Ma Han
Sinner, Please Dont Let This Harvest Pass
Sinner Please
Slavery Chain
Sometimes I Feel Like A Motherless Daughter
Some Of These Days
Some O These Days
Soon A Will Be Done(2)
Soon A Will Be Done (1)
Soon A Will Be Done 1
Soon A Will Be Done 2
Soon One Mawnin Death Come Creepin In Yo Room
Soon One Morning
So Glad Ive Got The Stone
Stand By Me
Stand Still Jordan
Steal Away And Pray
Steal Away To Jesus
Steal Away To Mah Fathuhs Kingdom
Study War No More
Sunday Morning Band
Sweet Canaans Happy Land
Sweet Music
Swing Low Sweet Chariot(2)
Swing Low Sweet Chariot
Swing Low Sweet Chariot (1)
Swing Low Sweet Chariot 2
Take My Mother Home
Tell All The World, John
Tell Em Im Gone
Thank God Im On My Way To Heaven
That Lonesome Valley
Theres A Great Camp Meeting
Theres A Meeting Here Tonight
There Is A Balm In Gilead
There Is A Land Of Pure Delight
The Baby Gone Home
The Blind Man Stood By The Road
The Coming Day
The Driver
The Gift Of God Is Eternal Life
The Gospel Train
The Hangman Johnny
The Heavenly Road
The Old Sheep Know The Road
The Ship Of Zion
The Ship Of Zion (1)
The Ship Of Zion (third Version)
The Ship Of Zion 1
The Ship Of Zion 2
The Ship Of Zion 3
This Little Light Of Mine
This May Be The Last Time
This Old Time Religion
This World Almost Done
Time Is Drawin Nigh
To My Fathers House
Traveling Shoes
Trouble Done Bore Me Down
Tryin To Get Home
Turn Back Pharaohs Army
Until I Reach A Ma Home
Until I Reach A Ma Home
View The Land
Wade In The Water
Walkem Easy
Walk About Elders
Walk Em Easy
Walk Together Children
Walk You In The Light
Want To Go Home
Way In The Kingdom
Well Soon Be Free
Well Understand It By And By
Were Marching To Zion
Weve Come A Long Way
We Am Climin Jacobs Ladder
We Are Climbing Jacobs Ladder (1)
We Are Climbing Jacobs Ladder 2
We Ll Soon Be Free
We Shall Overcome
We Shall Walk Through The Valley
What Month Was Jesus Born In
When Im Gone
When I Can Hear My Title Clear
When Jesus Comes
When The Saints Go Marching In
When The Trains Come Along
Where Shall I Go
Where You There
Will The Circle Be Unbroken
Wish Is In Heaven Settin Down
Wish I Was In Heabum Settin Down
Witness For My Lord
Woke Up Dis Morning
Wonder Where Is Good Ole Daniel
Wrestling Jacob
Wring My Hands And Cry
You Better Get A Home In That Rock
You May Bury Me In The East
Yo Sins Are Gonna Find You Out
Zekiel Saw The Wheel

You may also be interested in other African American Songs on this site:

There are also many other Christian pieces on this site which are included with other collections, e.g. the Children's Songs section contains quite a few.