About the Music

Sacred songs from the early American period (late 1700’s to mid 1800’s), particularly those that flourished first in the New England states, and then migrated through the mid and southern rural districts, are full of the rich imagery and expression that finds its root in the music of the common people: folk music.

Often the early American songs were directly based on traditional folk melodies, united with the Biblical poetry of Isaac Watts, the Wesley’s, and other gifted Christian poets of the 18th century. The music on these recordings is drawn either directly from the early American tradition, or a continuation in the same spirit and style.

About the Particular Songs

Music Feast, Communion, Concert, Family Circle, Gospel Pool, Heavenly Road, House of the Lord, The Lord Will Provide, Sharon, and Protecting Power, are drawn directly from early American songbooks such as The Sacred Harp and Southern Harmony.

Brittle Clay, Disappointed, and The Resolve were taken from Jeremiah IngallsChristian Harmony.

A Humbler Temple and New Sabbath are based on melodies by the 18th century composer, G.F. Handel.

The Dew of Hermon, Everlasting Portion, Refuge, Wisdom’s Warning, Glorious Sight, Holy Law, and Secure Abode are taken from Nova Scotian or Canadian folk melodies, combined with words from poets such as Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, and the Canadian poet, Wilson MacDonald.

The melody for Divine Shepherd is a well-known American cowboy song.

Love is Come Again is an old French carol.

Life is Full of Trouble, Hidden Fount, and Partaker come from a famous 16th century Protestant collection of sacred music: Piae Cantiones.

Feast of Love is a song from the first hymn-book published by John Wesley in 1742, The Foundery Tune Book.

The melody for Childlike Trust came from an English carol.

The melodies for Deep Distress, The Upward Way, Water Brooks and Celestial Courts, come from Scottish, Gaelic, and Irish folk music.

God Be In My Heart is a Greek folk melody.

The 18th century English composer, Henry Purcell, wrote the melody and harmony used in Ancient Freedom.

The Purpose

These recordings were taken from the Song in the Night songbook. They were not intended to be a polished production for easy listening. Instead, their purpose is educational:

  • to teach the songs to others,
  • to fix the words in their memory,
  • and to provide a practice recording for them to sing along with.

We believe that God wants all His people to use and develop their vocal talents, and not just to let others do it for them.

Recording Details

Recorded on Wednesday, May 26, 1999 from 7:30 pm to 11:00 pm, in a basement in Vancouver, B.C., Canada, by members of the Sabbath Rest Advent Church in North America.

A few of the songs were recorded the next morning by my wife and I, with just ourselves and guitar: Bethany, Childlike Trust, Life is Full of Trouble, Partaker, Protecting Power, United in Love.

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