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Rivers of Delight / Folk Hymns

Word of Mouth Chorus , Larry Gordon Audio CD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)


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MP3 Music, 21 Songs, 2006 $8.99  
Audio CD, 1992 --  
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Product Details

  • Performer: Larry Gordon
  • Audio CD (May 7, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005IVY
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #45,229 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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
See all 21 tracks on this disc

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.

Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
(15)
4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shape-note perfection July 29, 2002
Format:Audio CD
The Word of Mouth Chorus, from Vermont, started out as a "normal" choir, doing standard church choir repertoire. They started singing "shape-note" music shortly after their founding, but the performances sounded like a normal church choir. A few years later, some of the choir members were inroduced to the "real McCoy" at a singing convention in Georgia. The "performance practice", for lack of a better term, of the folks in Georgia had a profound effect on them.
The result was that they completely rethought and relearned how to perform this music. They don't sound like a normal church choir here; they sound raucous and untutored, with loud nasal voices sticking out of a group of other loud, raucous voices. The effect is exhilerating; the drive and energy are like nothing you've ever heard. Other recordings of the shape note music of the Sacred Harp tradition of the American South take the brash rough edges off the tone. Not here -- you get the real deal; raw, edgy, unabashed, and a lot of fun.
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42 of 44 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely and Haunting January 7, 2004
Format:Audio CD
Words cannot explain the power of this recording. There is something beautiful about shapenote singing, yet it is also a little eerie and unsettling in its deliberate atonality. If you look at the tombstones in any historic cemetery and see how lovely the old carvings are on them - how they are works of art in themselves - you will appreciate that there can be beauty in the most simple of earthly things. That, to me, defines shapenote singing - it is beautiful like old tombstones are beautiful. However talented the singers, shapenote singing should never lose touch with its earthiness. It should be heavenly and yet tied to mortality. The Word of Mouth Chorus are wonderfully talented and polished, yet they sing with an emotionality and spirit that sets this recording apart from so many others. I have several shape note CDs in my collection. All of the others are either too professional, belying shapenote's roots, or too rustic. If you only buy one CD of shapenote music, it should be this one. To this day, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck every time I hear "Windham" - and that is how it should be.
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39 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good balance 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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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Cleaned-up" shape-note music September 28, 2000
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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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars one of the best recordings of shape note I've heard January 30, 2006
Format:Audio CD
Like many, I was first introduced to Sacred Harp music through the music on the Cold Mountain soundtrack. While those recordings are probably my favorites, Rivers of Delight has some excellent recordings of popular, as well as obscure, songs. Although the album lacks the raw energy present in Sacred Harp sings, it gives the listener a good idea of how the different parts sound (sometimes the older rural recordings just sound like caterwauling), without being extremely formal. The album also has a couple renditions of shape note classics in 2 and 4 person arrangements, rather than the larger group. All in all, this album is worthwhile, especially if you're just discovering Shape note singing and would like a good, comprehensive introduction.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The only shape note CD to own July 29, 1999
By A Customer
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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan February 10, 2007
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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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Lost Simplicity
This is a great look back into expressions of faith from American Christianity. The simplicity of the music and the content of the verse reveal the thoughts and notions of the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by J. Turner
1.0 out of 5 stars A Huge Disappointment (but not the music)
I hate the "cloud storage" where my purchase is stored. I am often unable to access it in continuous time, so listening is a major disappointment. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Fr. Sam+
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
I had a landlord in Chapel Hill, NC who introduced me to this wonderful album. There's something almost hypnotic about the style - it's so intriguing! Read more
Published 17 months ago by K. Emery
5.0 out of 5 stars A "must-hear"
This is as good as Sacred Harp singing gets. The case was slightly smudged but the disk was spotless. I'll be giving as a Christmas gift.
Published 20 months ago by A School Teacher
5.0 out of 5 stars RIVERS OF DELIGHT
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... Read more
Published on April 24, 2008 by nilblak
3.0 out of 5 stars The Shaped Note Singing is TOO Polished
I was first introduced to shaped note or sacred harp music by listening to the music in the movie Cold Mountain. Read more
Published on February 3, 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars Rivers of Delight
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].
Published on January 19, 2002
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