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Singing for Freedom: The Hutchinson Family Singers and the Nineteenth-Century Culture of Reform 1st Edition
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Reading Singing for Freedom gave it extra heft, an extra dimension. It is especially interesting to see how the abolitionist movement, and the Hutchinson's performing career, grew directly from The Second Great Awakening. And the author has not hesitated to take some side roads, answering practical and historical questions as they were created in the course of the narrative (such as What is The Second Great Awakening?). I'm not really surprised that the family hitched its wagon to many popular issues: anti-smoking, temperance, women's rights and abolition among them. And I'm not surprised to know that they started in camaraderie and ended in bitter fraternal infighting, dragging their artistic career as an ensemble into a second decade, the decade immediately preceding the Civil War, simply because it was all they knew how to do (besides farming). But in their heyday, the were everywhere.Read more ›
The Hutchinsons as they performed in their most popular days were three brothers and a sister, John, Asa, Judson, and Abby. They were from a farming family in Milford, New Hampshire, and absorbed the Baptist music of their upbringing. They often used such tunes, and popular tunes of the time, changing the lyrics to fit a message. The Hutchinsons themselves had faith that the return of Jesus was imminent and would come in their days, as did many of their Baptist brethren of the time.Read more ›
The book mostly covers the main singers of the group, John, Asa, Judson, and Abby. Their rise to fame, travels, and legacy are included here. John Hutchinson was the only brother to live into the early 1900's, and continued to perform late in life. The book also briefly covers some other groups that were popular at the time, including African-American bugle player Frank Johnson.
Overall it was pretty interesting and well researched, although I wish the photo with the 10 brothers together would have given names to go with the faces for those who don't have the older books written about them. There are at least six other books relating the Hutchinson family, but they were written long ago and can be hard to find or very expensive. If you are collecting those books, this one should be part of your collection as well. If you are interested in American history that you missed out on in High School or College, this is a great read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an intricate accounting of the abolitionists and their times. I was looking for more detail about the travels of the family members, as I was trying to figure out how my... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Lila Aamodt