Virtually all of the early old-time musicians learned the rudiments of music in church or from the singing-school teachers who often traveled the country by horseback teaching note reading as well as "shaped-note" singing. The gospel songs are especially enjoyable because the message alone makes them good.
We paid homage to the 1930's Georgia Field Hands version of Mary Don't You Weep, right up to the five guys (?) in overalls on the tree stump stage. For full appreciation, you might want to view the Georgia Field Hands before listening in here. Musically sparse, the donkeys of Hootenanny Haven added in antics for your enjoyment.
Old-Time Religion dates from 1873, when it was included in a list of Jubilee songs, originally sung by Africian Americans. It was first published by Charles Davis Tillman after he attended a gospel camp meeting in 1889. Listen to the Hootenanny's version performed on the steps of the little church that has sat on the same corner of Enon and Haint Hollow Roads since 1794. Now that's some old-time religion!
A Carter family standard which dates back to te 1800's, River of Jordan, is a fine old-time Gospel number about the glories of heaven. The Carters recorded this song twice, in 1928 and again in 1934. Listen in as the Shuffelo gals really strike the chords here with their family harmonies.
Old Ark's A Moverin' dates back to the 1800's but was first recorded in 1911 by the Fisk University Jubilee Quartet. Homer Rodeheaver recorded a version on Silvertone in 1927. One of the more interesting old-time versions was recorded by A.A. Gray and Seven Foot Dilly in 1930. The Hootenanny puts its own spin on this spiritual as Uncle Shuff gets to feeling it at the end.
Keys to the Kingdom, an old Negro spiritual, was first recorded by Lillie Knox in 1937. Perk up your ears here as Uncle Shuffelo tells it like it is and the Hootenanny gals sing about the real keys to the kingdom.