30 pieces of small sheet music (CPMSM-000896-000929)
Gift of Mrs. John Battle, Nashville, Tennessee, through Doug Seroff.
The Fairfield Four, a black, all-male gospel singing group, was formed
in the early 1920s by John Battle and brothers Rufus and Harold Carrethers,
all members of the Fairfield Baptist Church, Nashville, Tennessee. The
group sang at its own and other churches and at social gatherings in Nashville
during the 1920s and 1930s and in 1942 won a promotional contest including
an appearance on WLAC, Nashville.
This appearance led to a regular show broadcast for over a decade on
the station, a 50,000 watt clear-channel CBS affiliate, and through their
show the group became national celebrities. During this period John Battle
directed the song arrangements of the group, and in 1946 the group recorded
its first commercial disc for Nashville's Bullet label.
John Battle, who contracted tuberculosis soon thereafter performed with
the group for the last time in Birmingham, Alabama. With his death the
following year the Fairfield Four list an important stabilizing force and
in 1947 the group split to form and reform with various personnel for the
next fifty years.
A detailed story of the group's evolution may be found in "A Capsule
History of the Fairfield Four" by Doug Seroff in the 1988 Gospel Arts Day
program from which the above was taken. A copy is filed in the subject
vertical file under "Gospel Music--Programs."
Scope and Content:
This collection consists of 30 pieces of sheet music used by Battle
while a member of the Fairfield Four. Some but not all are stamped with
the group's name.
These pieces are filed with the Center for Popular Music Small Sheet Music Collection (CPMSM-000896-000929).