Lomax Archives/ACE’s Global Jukebox releases: Sacred Harp Convention, ’59

By on January 15, 2013



The Alan Lomax Archives/Association For Cultural Equity’s digital-only imprint Global Jukebox will be releasing United Sacred Harp Convention: The Alan Lomax Recordings,1959 February  12,  2013.


United Sacred Harp Convention: The Alan Lomax Recordings, 1959 conveys  the  deep  emotion  and  intensity  of  Southern  shape-­-note  singing across  18  performances,  nine  of  which  have  been  previously  unreleased, and  is  comprised  of  new  re-­-masters  from  Lomax’s  original  stereo  tapes.  The recording  of  “The  Last  Words  of  Copernicus”  that  begins  the  album  was used  as  a  sample  in  Bruce  Springsteen’s  “Death  to  My  Hometown,”  on  his 2012  Wrecking  Ball.   


Alan   Lomax’s   recordings   of   the   56th   annual   convention   of   the   United Sacred  Harp  Musical  Association  in  Fyffe,  Alabama,  were  the  first  made  of four-­-part  shape-­-note  singing  –  America’s  most  powerful  tradition  of  folk hymnody  –  in  stereo.  Lomax  had,  as  he  later  wrote,  “tried  and  failed,  as had   many   others,   to   record   this   music   monaurally”   at   the   Sacred   Harp Singing  Society  of  Birmingham,  Alabama,  in  1942.  In  ’59  he  hoped  to  “finally do   justice   to   its   haunting   beauty.”   Over   the   course   of   the   two-­-day  convention,   nearly   two   hundred   songs,   memorial   lessons,   and   prayers passed   over   the   heads   of   his   two-­-

track   Ampex   recorder,   with   Alan’s notations  filling  the  margins  of  his  notebook:  “stately,”  “militant,”  “lively,” “marvelous,”  “fascinating  performance,”  “wonderful  sound.”  





1.  The  Last  Words  of  Copernicus  (112)    

2.  The  Bower  of  Prayer  (100)*  

3.  Newburgh  (182)  

4.  Minister’s  Farewell  (69t)*  

5.  Logan  (302)*    

6.  Sabbath  Morning  (283)*  

7.  New  Topia  (215)*  

8.  Present  Joys  (318)  

9.  Greenwich  (183)    

10.  Arbacoochie  (430)*  

11.  Invitation  (327)*  

12.  Huntington  (193)*  

13.  Morning  Prayer  (411)*  

14.  Mount  Zion  (220)    

15.  New  Jerusalem  (299)    

16.  The  Parting  Hand  (62)  

17.  Hallelujah  /  New  Britain  (146  /  45t)  

*Previously  unreleased.  

Numbers  denote  page  number  in  the  1991  edition  of  The  Sacred  Harp.  





Author: DaveHHM

Dave Luttrull: Owner/Editor in Chief of Hellhound Music. Star Wars nerd, Gamer, Destiny homer, blogger, writer and lover of all things music.