Friday night Fa-so-la-ists

Via Adam Edwards and because a lot of my intellectual energy right now is being devoted to the shape-note origins of southern gospel, here’s a quartet of old-timers recorded on a Gaither video from the 90s singing a classic quartet number.

Gaither’s introduction mentions “No Tears in Heaven,” one of my favorite convention tunes ever. I’d really like to find a quality video recording of that on the internet. For now, all I have is this, which is pretty crummy quality of recording, but is worth your time for two reasons: one is the gospel piano (particularly, Rosa Nell Speer Powell’s first turnaround, but Ruth Stewart holds her own quite well, too), and the other is the song leader, bless her heart, who reminds me of a thousand dear Maxines and Friedas and Agneses and Maudes from back home whom I’ve known.

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  1. Irishlad wrote:

    Re: the Maxines,Friedas,Agneses and Maudes:our church has at least a half dozen of each.So much for the perceived cultural difference,or maybe it’s that old South/Irish-Ulster/Scots connection.

  2. JulieBelle wrote:

    Rosa Nell is one of a kind in a lot of ways…but you don’t hear playing like that much any more…now it’s a lot of flash and less substance (except for Stan W)

  3. BUICK wrote:

    Thanks for posting the vid! I’d forgot how solid Rex’s voice was. I consider him one of the most musical and almost majestic of basses.

  4. Phil wrote:

    #1 IrishLad…..SO TRUE! The names must have filtered through somehow!

  5. Gayla Fooks wrote:


  6. wackythinker wrote:

    Re the Gaither clip: I see dead people. They’re just singing. They don’t even know they’re dead.

    Great clip. I really enjoyed watching it again.

  7. Casual Observer wrote:

    I cannot stop smiling - that was sheer delight. Thanks for posting this. I’m glad it was captured for posterity’s sake!

  8. David J. Stuart wrote:

    That was always one of my favorite clips off the Gaither videos.

  9. rr wrote:

    It’s interesting - a clip like this, which is highly intriguing to me, gets so little response. Is it because folks can’t relate to the shaped notes and hearing their names used for the syllables? I grew up singing those, and had to struggle to learn to read lines and spaces. I loved hearing this clip.

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