46 “This Song of Love” by Middle Georgia Singing Convention No. 1


December 19, 2010 by gadaya

The shape-note singing we heard in the previous selection wasn’t only a white tradition in the South. Some black communities had also shape-note singing on meetings and “conventions” and used the same books as the whites, with the addition, in New Jersey, South Alabama and Florida communities, of “The Colored Sacred Harp”, a book compiled by Judge Jackson in 1934. Their singing style and repertoire ressembles those of the whites communities but has a distinctive african-american feeling.

The Wiregrass Sacred Harp singers is such a group, that kept this tradition alive for decades in Alabama.

Listen to The Wiregrass Sacred Harp Singers singing songs from “The Colored Sacred Harp”:

“The Signs of The Judgement”

“Shout and sing”

“Jesus lives in my soul”

-“This Song of Love” by Middle Georgia Singing Convention also belong to the african-american shape-note singing tradition but the style of the performance is quite distinct from Sacred Harp singing as the voices of the singers harmonize in very rhythmic and syncopated patterns giving the song an almost robotic cadence.

“This Song of Love” by Middle Georgia Singing Convention N.1

The Middle Georgia Singing Convention N.1, about whom nothing is known, recorded 6 sides in Atlanta, Georgia in December 1930. They are just one example of so many different black vocal groups and quartettes recorded during those years and in the years to come, either with secular or religious repertoires.

-Listen to two other performances by Middle Georgia Singing Convention:

“Belles of Love”

“I’m Going Home”

-This Document cd “Atlanta,Ga, Gospel (1923-1931) includes the six songs recorded by Middle Georgia Singing Convention N.1 and presents many other fine quartettes and performers of religious singing. Here are some of my favorite tracks on the disc:

“Let The Church Roll On” by The Thankful Quartette

“Going to Shout all over God’s Heaven” by The Thankful Quartette

“Ding Dong Bells” by Progressive Four

“I’m in my Savior’s Cave” by James Brothers Quartet

“Ain’t It A Shame” by James Brothers Quartet

-Another shape-note singing black group was recorded in Atlanta in 1931. Calling themselves “The Fa Sol La Singers”, their four recorded sides are available on another Document Cd intituled “Black Vocal Groups vol.4”

“Happy on the way” by Fa Sol La Singers

“Jesus Walk With Me” By Fa Sol La Singers

-Click here to download all the tracks from this post (and i added a few others as well…)


5 thoughts on “46 “This Song of Love” by Middle Georgia Singing Convention No. 1

  1. Steve Mullen says:

    Thank you so much for turning me on to this ‘other side’ of shape-note singing. Your research is very impressive. I’ve been teaching a class on America’s Musical Roots at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and just wish I’d found your blog earlier. The class is a work in progress, however, and I plan to follow you & go back and dig into your other posts.

    I’m more of a composer than educator, and was motivated to teach the class more from a creative standpoint than anything else because of my fascination with the links between the countless styles of regional music here, and the interplay between cultures in America. Music strikes me as one of the best places for us to work out who we are as a culture & nation precisely because it is so often impossible to articulate completely, and because of its distance from divisive rhetoric.

    Am so excited to have found your site. You bring so much background to the anthology. I look forward to exploring it more.
    Best. Steve

  2. B says:

    i love this site, great work…love peace and from argentina…
    keep on roking!!

  3. Brian says:

    Hi, and thanks for an unexpected pre-Christmas present!! I am always overjoyed to come upon a new posting and I have never signed up for your notifications because I enjoy the surprise!!! This is one of the best three or four music blogs around, and I wish you a very good Christmas and a happy new year ….

  4. Reblogged this on White Linen "The Tie That Binds" and commented:
    Beautiful Style and Beautiful Art of Music

  5. John A. Cherry says:

    This was absolutely fascinating and it brought tears to my eyes to listen to the sound of the Middle Georgia Singing Convention from so long ago. I am a third generation member of the convention and have been searching for history regarding the convention. What you have posted here is monumental and indelible. Praise God for you and your work.

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