Black Manhattan Volume 3

World Premiere recordings of music by
New York’s pioneering African-American composers, 1879-1922

The finale of the Orchestra’s acclaimed Black Manhattan series


Featuring the world premiere recording of the original score of
“Lift Every Voice and Sing!”

Includes a deluxe 48 page illustrated booklet

$15.00 USD

(New World Records 80795-2):

Performed by the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, Rick Benjamin conductor;
featuring Janai Brugger, soprano; Chauncey Packer, tenor; Edward Pleasant, baritone;
Andrea Jones Soprano; Paul Draper, banjo.


  • “Pork and Beans Rag” (1913), Luckey Roberts.
  • “I’m Just Wild About Harry” (one-step from Shuffle Along, 1921), Eubie Blake.
  • “The Dancing Deacon: Clef Club Fox-Trot” (1915), Frederick M. Bryan.
  • “Jewel of the Big Blue Nile” (song from the Lafayette Theatre production Baby Blues, 1919), Luckey Roberts / Alex C. Rogers.
  • “We’ll Raise the Roof To-Night” (cakewalk, 1904), Sidney L. Perrin.
  • “Chant” from Bandana Sketches (1921), Clarence Cameron White.
  • “Dear Old Southland” (foxtrot from , 1921), J. Turner Layton.
  • “Wall Street ‘Rag'” (descriptive, 1909), Scott Joplin.
  • “Oh Dem Golden Slippers” (minstrel song, 1879), James A. Bland.
    – Featuring the Paragon Minstrel Band –
  • “In the Baggage Coach Ahead” (ballad, 1896), Gussie L. Davis.
  • “Love Will Find A Way” (song from Shuffle Along, 1921), Sissle & Blake.
  • Overture to My Friend From Kentucky (from the 1913 Lafayette Theatre production), J. Leubrie Hill.
  • “Royal Garden Blues” (1919), Spencer Williams & Clarence Williams.
  • “The Tremelo Trot” (one-step, 1914), Luckey Roberts.
  • “Just One Word of Consolation” (ballad, 1905), Tom Lemonier.
  • “After You’ve Gone” (one-step, 1918), J. Turner Layton.
  • “Delicioso: Tango Aristocratico” (1914), Will H. Dixon.
  • “The Zoo-Step” (from the Smart Set Co., 1916), Clarence G. Wilson.
  • “The Slow Drag Blues” (1919), Q. Roscoe Snowden arr. William Grant Still.
  • “Ianthia March” (1902), Al. Johns.
  • “I’m Going Home” (Spiritual setting, 1921), Clarence Cameron White.
  • “Lift Every Voice and Sing!: National Negro Hymn” (original 1900 score),
    James Weldon Johnson & J. Rosamond Johnson.

                                                       “Bluesy Effervescence” (headline)
The New York Times

“Once again, Rick Benjamin and the PRO offer a carefully curated project… shedding light on lesser known composers and works, and advancing the study of American music.”
Black Grooves

“Rick Benjamin and the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra shine the spotlight once again on a terrific selection of songs by African Americans…. It’s an astonishing collection of material…. a treat from start to finish!”

                       “Benjamin’s wish that his ‘efforts have started to close this gap in America’s cultural memory’ and ‘enable the world to rediscover this magnificent music’
is admirably served by this album.”

Whole Note


From Rick Benjamin, series curator and conductor:

“This is the third volume of Paragon Ragtime Orchestra recordings documenting the music of important African-American composers from late 19th- and early 20th-century New York City. The inspiration for this effort came about twenty-five years ago, when I read James Weldon Johnson’s “Black Manhattan” (1930), a fascinating chronicle of the city’s black artistic life from the Victorian era to the Harlem Renaissance. I came to Johnson’s volume after finishing Eileen Southern’s “The Music of Black Americans” (1971), a wider-ranging academic work, but a no less revealing one. After reading these books I was excited to listen to the music they had described. But there was a problem: remarkably few recordings existed of historic African-American music, and even fewer to represent New York’s pioneering black composers. This inability to actually experience a considerable span of our musical heritage was a void that needed to be filled. Clearly it was time for a carefully curated, new recordings of first-rate performances played from authentic scores.

Fifteen years and three PRO Black Manhattan volumes later, we have recorded three and a half hours of this previously neglected music: sixty pieces by thirty-two outstanding African-American composers, spanning the seminal years of the 1870s to the early 1920s. It is our hope that these efforts have started to close this gap in America’s cultural memory. Our even greater hope is that these recordings will enable the world to rediscover this magnificent music and the gifted, spirited, and persevering people who gave it to us.”

Produced by multi-Grammy Award winning “Classical Producer of the Year” Judith Sherman, this album is an extraordinary voyage of discovery for everyone interested in American music.


$15.00 USD


Click here to learn about PRO’s BLACK MANHATTAN VOL. 1


[Return to STORE]

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Where America's Music Begins
© Copyright 2024 | Paragon Ragtime Orchestra