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Rivers of Delight / Folk Hymns

4.6 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 7, 1992
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Editorial Reviews

American Folk Hymns from the Sacred Harp Tradition - Word of Mouth Chorus Includes - Northfield - Soar Away - Cowper - Evening Shade - Windham - White - Eternal Day - Sweet Prospect - North Port - Greenwich - Wondrous Love - Peace and Joy - Parting Friends - Weeping Mary - Alabama - Milford - New Jerusalem - The Better Land - Kedron - Idumea - Morning for a total of 21 selections.

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Northfield
  2. Soar Away
  3. Cowper
  4. Evening Shade
  5. Windham
  6. White
  7. Eternal Day
  8. Sweet Prospect
  9. North Port
  10. Greenwich
  11. Wondrous Love
  12. Peace And Joy
  13. Parting Friends
  14. Weeping Mary
  15. Alabama
  16. Milford
  17. New Jerusalem
  18. The Better Land
  19. Kedron
  20. Idumea
  21. Morning


Product Details

  • Performer: Larry Gordon
  • Audio CD (May 7, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005IVY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #258,530 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Richard Hershberger on May 6, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Recordings of sacred harp music tend toward being either field recordings with poor production standards or over-civilized, lifeless professional performances. This classic recording strikes the right balance. It serves particularly well as an introduction to the genre. It is a fine addition to any music collection, whether or not there is any other sacred harp included.
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Format: Audio CD
This is a great recording if you like the harmonies of shape-note music but you insist on trained rather than folk voices. The voices are nice and natural, but precise in pitch and tempo. The singers also attempt some sacred harp numbers that are hard to find on most recordings of authentic folk singings, such as "A Better Land." If there were more Word of Mouth recordings, I'd certainly buy them.
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Format: Audio CD
As far as I am concerned, this is the ONLY decent shape note recording. All the others are either low budget amateur affairs or are stiff high art classical recordings. The songs are sung with abandon and feeling; many of the best shape note hymns are done here. You can't beat the price, too.
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Format: Audio CD
ACADEMICALLY AND HISTORICALLY INTERESTING
American shape-note music with its freshness and durability, is the product of circumstances different from our own. It still survives and flourishes today in a variety of styles and places across the continental United States.

Shape-note music evolved with the 'singing school', an American institution dating back to the early 18th century. In Colonial days, traveling singing masters taught part-singing to townsfolk in a community activity that combined sacred and secular values.
The singing-school music was usually sung a cappela and in 3 or 4 parts-tenor(or melody), bass, treble, and usually alto or counter.

By the early 1800's, the music of New England tunesmiths-William Billings,Daniel Reed, Justin Morgan, and others-had spread throughout the Southern and Central states. There , together with folk hymns and camp-meeting songs, it formed the basis for a sturdy tradition of community singing and religious expression.

The 'Sacred Harp', first compiled in 1844 by two Georgians, Benjamin Franklyn White and his assistant E.J. King, is one of the richest collections of tunes; it is also one of the few shape-note books from that era still in print today.

The sound of Sacred Harp singing has several elements: The surging beat, the intonation of the singers, the minor-modal melodies, and the open harmonies. In the Sacred Harp tradition, mens's and women's voices double the tenor and treble parts, with men and women alone singing the bass and alto, respectively. Dynamics are sacrificed for a uniformly strong sound.
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2 Comments 4 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Audio CD
this is a very good recording. Excellent acapella renditions of the Sacred Harp songs know to early colonists and continued in the Bible belt today. Farewell my friend I'm bound for Canaan is probably the best. The lyrics fit the melody so well you will be ready for the next plane of existence. Really!!!
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Format: Audio CD
I was first introduced to shaped note or sacred harp music by listening to the music in the movie Cold Mountain. "I'm going home" recorded at the Liberty Church in Alababma is an extremely powerful song. I immediately bought Southern Journey, Vol 9 & 10- sacred harp music recored by Alan Lomax in 1959. Its almost too crude to enjoy with a lot of people singing off key but there are some really good songs on them too. I also bought "In Sweetest Union" recorded in 1999 again at the Liberty Church. THAT is a great album that has real church-goin singers, mostly on key, singing with all of their hearts. That is what is missing from Rivers of Delight. No one is off key and I just don't hear the heart that makes sacred harp music so powerful.
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By A Customer on January 19, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I am very impressed with this CD. I can hear the words. And these folks sound better then we did when we were singing these songs [like we wished we sounded].
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Format: Audio CD
Having watched the first episode in the recent BBC4 series, "Sacred Music", which featured the history and examples of Sacred Harp singing, I wanted to track down some of the music. After listening to short extracts from various albums, I went for this compilation. I am in no way religious but found the simple and, at times, robust songs to be - in places - very moving and a real breath of fresh air.
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