Singing Traditions of the Primitive and Regular Baptists in Appalachia

Scope: 

The Primitive and Regular Baptists have continued the centuries old tradition of congregational hymn singing without the accompaniment of musical instruments - a practice which had previously been standard for most protestant faiths. This pathfinder will provide a good starting point for researchers seeking information about that tradition. The singing practices of both the Primitives and Regulars have been included here because they are so similar in many respects, but it is not the author's intent to infer that they are one in the same. Also, shape note music, a topic worthy of its own pathfinder, often provides some information on the singing traditions among the Primitives and Regulars. In the LC Subject Headings section below, under the "More General" sub-section, a group of subject headings dealing with shape note music has been included.

Introductory Text: 

A good introduction to Primitive Baptist singing can be found in Beverly Patterson's Sound of the Dove: Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Churches.

Patterson, Beverly Bush. Sound of the Dove: Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Churches. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1995. ASU APP COLL ML 3160.P28.

A good introduction for Regular Baptist singing can be found in the liner notes to the Songs of the Old Regular Baptists CD.

Titon, Jeff Todd, Elwood Cornett, and John Wallhausser. Songs of the Old Regular Baptists: Lined-Out Hymnody from South Eastern Kentucky. Smithsonian Folkways SFCD 40106, 1997. ASU APP COLL CD #414 (also available as a cassette tape, ASU APP COLL CD # 179)

Library of Congress Subject Headings: 

Highly Relevant:

  • Primitive Baptists
  • Primitive Baptists - Appalachian Region
  • Primitive Baptists - History
  • Primitive Baptists -- Hymns
  • Primitive Baptists -- Hymns - History and Criticism
  • Old Regular Baptists -- Hymns
  • Old Regular Baptists -- Music

Also Relevant:

  • Baptists -- Hymns
  • Church Music -- Appalachian Region
  • Church Music -- Appalachian Region - Southern
  • Church Music -- History
  • Church Music -- Kentucky
  • Church Music -- Old Regular Baptists
  • Church Music -- Primitive Baptists
  • Music -- Appalachian Region, Southern
  • Regular Baptists -- NC
  • Rural Churches -- Appalachian Region, Southern

More General:

  • Shape Note Singing
  • Shape Note Singing -- Kentucky - Benton
  • Shape Note Singing -- Southern States
  • Shape Note Singing -- United States
  • Spirituals (Songs) -- Southern States
  • Sacred Songs

Related:

  • Hymns, English
  • Hymns, English -- Appalachian Region
  • Hymns, English -- Appalachian Region - Southern
  • Hymns, English -- Southern States
  • Hymns, English -- Baptist -- Southern States
Clipping Files Subject Headings - W.L. Eury Appalachian Collection: 
  • Music -- Appalachia Religion
Library of Congress Call Numbers: 
  • ML 3545
  • ML 3160
  • ML 3186
  • M 2122 (Hymnals)
  • M 1628
  • BV 380
  • BV 381
  • BX 6383 - BX 6389 (Note: These texts cover the Primitive and Regular Baptists faiths in general and will contain, to varying degrees, information on hymn singing)
Books: 

Patterson, Beverly Bush. Sound of the Dove: Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Churches. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1995. ASU APP COLL ML 3160.P28.

Drummond, Robert Paul. A Portion for the Singers. Atwood, Tennessee: Christian Baptist Library and Publishing Co., 1989. ASU APP COLL ML 3160.D7.

Billups, Edward W., comp. The Sweet Songster; A Collection of the Most Popular and Approved Songs, Hymns, and Ballads. Wayne, W. VA.: Arrowood Bros., 1854 (1970? Reprint) ASU SPEC APP COLL M1628 .B585S95

Daily, Elder John R. Primitive Baptist Hymn and Tune Book: A Collection of Sacred Hymns and Tunes Arranged to Suit All Occasions of Public or Private Worship. Cincinnati, Ohio: Old School Hymnal Co., 1918 (1980 Reprint). ASU APP COLL CLO M 2122.P88

Durand, Silas H. and P.G. Lester. Hymn and Tune Book for Use in Old School or Primitive Baptist Churches. Greenfield, Indiana: D.H. Goble Printing Co., 1886. ASU APP COLL CLO M 2122.H92

Goble, D.H. Primitive Baptist Hymn Book, for All Lovers of Sacred Song, Compiled by D.H. Goble. Greenfield, Indiana: D.H. Goble Printing Co., 1887. ASU APP COLL CLO M 2122.G62 P7

Bibliographies: 

A good bibliographic source pertaining to both Primitive and Regular Baptist singing can be found on the web at http://www.fasola.org/bibliography.
Note: The focus of fasola.org is shape note singing which is independent of any denomination or faith. Nonetheless, this site contains an extensive bibliography with many entrees for Primitive and Regular Baptist singing. The bibliography is formatted into a subject-searchable index. Germane entrees can be found under subjects such as Primitive Baptist Church, Old Regular Baptist Church, and Lining Out.

While the validity of the information provided in the articles cannot be relied on, the Wikipedia articles on both Primitive and Old Regular Baptists both contain good bibliographic sources at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Regular_Baptist and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Primitive_Baptist

An excellent bibliography for Primitive Baptist singing can be found in Patterson's The Sound of the Dove.

Patterson, Beverly Bush. Sound of the Dove: Singing in Appalachian Primitive Baptist Churches. Urbana, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1995. ASU APP COLL ML 3160.P28.

Another bibliography pertaining to both Primitive and Regular Baptists is The George Pullen Jackson Collection of Southern Hymnody, a Bibliography.

Revitt, Paul J. The George Pullen Jackson Collection of Southern Hymnody, a Bibliography. Los Angeles, University of California Library, 1964. ASU APP COLL Z733.C15753 no. 13

Abstracts and Indices: 

RILM Abstracts of Musical Literature: http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org/
MLA Bibliography: http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org/
ATLAReligion: http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org/
Arts and Humanities Search: http://newfirstsearch.oclc.org/

Journals: 

Baptist History and Heritage

Websites: 

Primitive Baptist Webstation: http://www.pb.org

Primitive Baptist Churches: http://www.primitivebaptistchurches.com
Note: This site also have .mp3s of songs in their "other media" section

"Old Regular Baptist:" http://pages.suddenlink.net/orb/orb/index.htm
Note: A site with information on the faith and songs for listening compiled by Elder Bobby Scott.

Youtube video search for Primitive Baptist or Regular Baptist Singing: http://www.youtube.com
Note: There are several videos of church singing that gives a visual idea of how the singing happens in a church setting.

Audio and Video Sources: 

Often, a lot of good information on music traditions is found in the liner notes accompanying musical recordings. Below is a list of four recordings with quality liner notes provided.

Lomax, Alan. The Gospel Ship: Baptist Hymns and White Spirituals from the Southern Mountains. New World Records 80294-2, 1977. ASU APP COLL CD # 45

Sovine, Melanie L. Been a Long Time Travlin': Three Primitive Baptist Women. Lexington, Kentucky: University of Kentucky, 1982. ASU APP COLL ML 3186.B4 (Notes) and ASU APP COLL Tape # 496 (Recording).

Sutton, Brett. Primitive Baptist Hymns of the Blue Ridge. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press, 1982. ASU APP COLL Rec # 490.

Titon, Jeff Todd, Elwood Cornett, and John Wallhausser. Songs of the Old Regular Baptists: Lined-Out Hymnody from South Eastern Kentucky. Smithsonian Folkways SFCD 40106, 1997. ASU APP COLL CD #414 (also available as a cassette tape, ASU APP COLL CD # 179)

Compiled by: 

Compiler: Eddie Huffman, 10 December 2002

Updated by: 

Updated: Coty Hogue, Fall 2009

Subject: