Friday, October 30, 2009

S Whit Denson / Denson Quartet

Jet Magazine, July 9, 1964

S Whit Denson / Denson Quartet

Denson Ep 555

9101 – I Won't Turn Back / New Morning Sun
9102 - The Better Land / Wonderous Love

Sacred Hillbilly Music Birmingham, Alabama.

The Denson family has been active in composing, arranging, and performing Sacred Harp material since 1844; Whit Denson was a third-generation Denson who led a number of Sacred Harp groups on important early recordings in the twenties and was noted for his very smooth, almost sweet alto voice.

About Sacred Harp Singing

Sacred Harp singing -- a form of Southern gospel music that's rather obscure to much of the general population -- "is characterized by mass participation, full-voiced singing, lack of instrumental accompaniment, and rotation of song leaders."

What is Sacred Harp Singing?

* Sacred Harp singing is an American folk tradition of singing hymns and gospel songs from The Sacred Harp, a 150 year old songbook that uses shaped note heads to indicate position in the scale.
* This is the type of singing that took place in the church scene in Cold Mountain.
* Sacred Harp singing is a participatory event, not a performance, although visitors are welcome to come and listen.
* The singers sit in a hollow square facing each other and take turns leading songs, which are sung in several parts without instrumental accompaniment.
* The music has a distinctive open and modal sound, and the singing is usually exuberant, rhythmic and full of feeling.

Minnesota State Sacred Harp Singing Convention Midwinter Singing Sunday Brunch, St Paul, MN, 2/10/08. The first two verses of "I Won't Turn Back" by Whit Denson (abridged due to camera limitations).
[Source : YouTube]

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