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”
“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…)