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New database: African American Music, Contemporary World Music, American Song

The USF Libraries have acquired three new databases in music from Alexander Street Press: African American Song, Contemporary World Music and American Song. While currently in the building phase of these collections, Alexander Street Press expects that American Song will be at 50% and Contemporary World Music at 90% completion by the end of 2009.

African American Song

Covering jazz, blues, gospel, and other forms of African American musical expression, African American Music will contain over 50,000 tracks of music to document the history of African American music in sound. The collection contains recordings by the top names in the history of black American music. At least 5,000 of the tracks are rare or never-before-published, and the other 45,000 are in-copyright and included through arrangement with distinguished labels. The entire available catalog of Document Records, the world’s largest collection of rare and vintage blues, jazz, gospel, spiritual, boogie-woogie, and country recordings, is included. There are more than 2,300 performers spanning more than a hundred years—Duke Ellington, Sophie Tucker, Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker, Sarah Vaughn, Dizzy Gillespie, Chicago River Kings, Muddy Waters, Skip James, Blind, and hundreds of others. Through an agreement with the Library of Congress the collection includes field recordings of spirituals, farming and labor songs, war songs, drinking songs, children’s songs, and more. You’ll also find field recordings from Haiti, the Caribbean, and the American South, as recorded by Alan Lomax, Zora Neale Hurston, and Mary Elizabeth Barnacle, whose travels documented traditional culture and musical expression, including traditional folk songs, spirituals, ceremonial songs, and political songs.

Contemporary World Music

Contemporary World Music will contain 50,000 tracks that delivers the sounds of all regions from every continent. The database will contain important genres such as reggae, world beat, neo-traditional, world fusion, Balkanic jazz, African film, Bollywood, Arab swing and jazz, and other genres such as traditional music – Indian classical, fado, flamenco, klezmer, zydeco, gospel, gagaku, and more. This database is a complementary database to Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries. It includes a blend of contemporary and traditional world music recordings from many labels throughout the world. The focus is concentrated on contemporary genres, such as fusion and world beat. Users can trace the history of a people’s music by comparing the traditional styles with the modern interpretations offered in this database. Many of the titles are encyclopedic in their breadth of coverage. The Voice of the People from the Topic label, a 20-volume series of English, Irish, Scottish and Welsh traditional music, is here in its entirety, as will be the Passage to India Series from Navras. Liner notes to all the albums are included (in PDF format) as well as static URLs to each track and album in the database.

American Song

American Song is a database that will contain 50,000 tracks of music from America’s past. The database will include songs by and about American Indians, miners, immigrants, slaves, children, pioneers, and cowboys. Included in the database are the songs of Civil Rights, political campaigns, Prohibition, the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, anti-war protests and more.

American Song will focus on American roots music and pre-1960 American popular music but it also encompasses the great American musical genres including country, folk, bluegrass, Western, old time, American Indian, blues, gospel, and shape note singing – combined with powerful recordings by artists such as Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, Sleepy LaBeef, the New Lost City Ramblers, Otis Clay, Shawn Colvin, The Lilly Brothers, Merle Travis, and many others. Liner notes to all the albums are included (in PDF format) as well as static URLs to each track and album in the database. Future additions include music from King/Starday Records with content added on a regular basis.

For these databases and other library resources visit Click on Databases by “Search the databases” to begin.

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