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About Alabama Sacred Harp Singers

A rural Alabama choir of "sacred harp" (or shape-note) singing, the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers recorded for Columbia during the late '20s and the Library of Congress in the early '40s. The sacred harp tradition, which had journeyed from Britain to the early American colonies and later spread to the southeastern United States, relied on a more stark, Bible-based form of gospel music than traditional black choirs. Led by Paine Denson, A. Marcus Cagle, and "Uncle Dock" Owen, the Alabama Sacred Harp Singers recorded several sides for Columbia in 1928 (two were later compiled on the 1952 folksong compendium Anthology of American Folk Music). In 1942, Alan Lomax and George Pullen Jackson recorded the group for the Library of Congress, a series of songs that were later reissued on Rounder as Sacred Harp Singing. Similar recordings can also be found on volumes nine and ten in the Rounder series known as Southern Journey. ~ John Bush

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