Prove It If You Can
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Alabama Sacred Harp Singers - "Sherburne"

"Sherburne," recorded in the early 1940's by Alan Lomax for the library of congress, is a masterpiece of counterpoint and cadence. It begins unportentously, as several men tune their voices to one another, then emit incomprehensible utterances in quick succession. What follows though, is something rather more impressive than the sum of its parts: a fiercely sung round of religious faith, that also reminds one of the horrors of war and the power of community in the face of adversity. Like a stunningly beautiful vocal "the wave". [Buy]


Old Crow Medicine Show - "Wagon Wheel"

There's not much interesting about the Old Crow Medicine Show, and this song could have easily been recorded by The Band, but luckily for OCMS, it wasn't.

Tender like the beef I'm chewing right now (filet mignon (avec sauce au poivre, et des asperges blanches)) and legal unlike the tender I used to buy it. [Buy]

Posted by Jordan at January 30, 2006 4:54 PM

Not much interesting about OCMS? Perhaps you should see them play. Or maybe listen to the record before making such pronouncements. They're certainly more interesting than the endless parade of indie rock soundalikes making their rounds on ye olde blog-o-sphere.

Posted by AK at January 30, 2006 6:07 PM

It's true - it's nice to get away from the indie rock echosphere. And OCMS has an unpretentious/authenticity thing going on.

Posted by mtl3p at January 30, 2006 6:41 PM

Against Me! has a nice cover of Wagon Wheel too.

Posted by Alex at January 30, 2006 7:57 PM

ooooh, i love this song, someone put in on a mix cd for me once.....ohh memories.

Posted by rachell at January 30, 2006 8:33 PM

I think "Wagon Wheel" is pretty interesting. It's got a little story behind it - seems to be an unreleased Bob Dylan tune that OCMS pretty much made their own. has some more info.

Great song.

Posted by brian at January 30, 2006 8:40 PM

Perhaps I dismissed them too harshly. I don't tend to like genre bands, and a lot of their music seems like "now we're going to do a jug band song." Bleh. But I do like this song and a few others ("Caroline", in particular), so I was probably too mean.

Posted by Jordan at January 30, 2006 9:22 PM

Wow, thank you for that Sacred Harp track. Amazing.

Posted by Andy at January 30, 2006 9:23 PM

What tender did you use? Liberty dollars?

Posted by nofrontin at January 30, 2006 10:14 PM

That Sacred Harp track is great. I've come across shape-note a few times now, and always been floored. Can anyone recommend any other worthwhile albums?

Posted by wes at January 30, 2006 10:45 PM

Strange. I just saw this blog for the first time yesterday, loved it {especially the Guillermots}, and today I hear 'Wagon Wheel'. Aside from being a wonderful song, I am from Raleigh, North Carolina so it particularly hits home. Thanks for all you do and I get the feeling I'll be coming back here for a long time.

Posted by brooks at January 31, 2006 11:37 AM

yeah, I spelled Guillemots wrong, apologies ;)

Posted by brooks at January 31, 2006 11:39 AM

More Sacred Harp for wes:

"In Sweetest Union Join," recording of the 1999 United Sacred Harp Convention done on the 40th anniversary of Alan Lomax recording the same convention, and a couple of years before songs were recorded for the movie "Cold Mountain" at the same church. This is a double CD.

"Sacred Harp Singing in Western Massachusetts," a younger group of singers in both age and length of singing, maybe a little more overtly exuberant. Good recording quality.

"Sacred Harp Singers: Lookout Mountain Convention, 1968," if you like old-school - this was recorded by a singer on a reel-to-reel tape recorder.

All available at

Posted by Laura at January 31, 2006 12:53 PM

Please repost this one! i Just saw Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers at the Iron Horse in Northampton, and they rocked the house with this tune!

Posted by Jeff at April 5, 2007 4:38 PM

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This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

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Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

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