The Fairfield Four life and biography

The Fairfield Four picture, image, poster

The Fairfield Four biography

Date of birth : -
Date of death : -
Birthplace : Nashville, Tennessee
Nationality : American
Category : Arts and Entertainment
Last modified : 2010-12-06
Credited as : Soul and Black gospel singer, ,

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During the 1940s, the Fairfield Four were among the top-ranked gospel quartets, along with the Dixie Hummingbirds, Five Blind Boys, and Soul Stirrers. Originally a gospel duet created in the early '20s by the pastor of Fairfield Baptist Church in Nashville to occupy his sons, Harry and Rufus Carrethers, they became a gospel trio with the addition of John Battle. The group was transformed into a jubilee quartet by the '30s and began the first of numerous personnel changes. They recorded for RCA Victor and Columbia during the decade and were known for their reinterpretations of standard hymns, featuring bright, close baritone and tenor harmonies. When the Fairfield Four sang, they utilized the full extent of their voices, moving easily from deep, rolling basslines to the staccato upper peaks of the tenor range, all executed with precise, intricate harmonies and ever-shifting leads.

The Fairfield Four reached their broadest audience when the Sunway Vitamin Company sponsored a nationally broadcast radio show for them daily at 6:45 a.m. on WLAC, Nashville. At the same time, they also continued touring; it was a grueling schedule, especially with the drive to Nashville, and often the group would be missing a member or two on the show. In 1942, the quartet recorded for the Library of Congress, but by 1950, it all became too much. Coupled with some financial trouble and a dwindling radio audience, the Fairfield Four broke up, though one member, Reverend Sam McCrary, used the group name to perform with other quartets. In 1980, the Fairfield Four from the '40s was reunited for a concert in Birmingham, Alabama, by Black gospel specialist Doug Seroff. In 1989, they were designated as National Heritage Fellows by the National Endowment for the Arts. They continue to perform, though the original members are either deceased or retired.


* National Endowment for the Arts, National Heritage Award, 1989
* Tennessee Lifetime Achievement Award, 1994
* Nashville Music Award Lifetime Achievement Award, 1995
* James Cleveland Stellar Award, 1996
* Grammy Award, Best Traditional Gospel Recording, for I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray, 1997
* Gospel Music Hall of Fame, inducted in 1999


* "Don't Let Nobody Turn You Around/Standing in The Safety Zone", Dot, 1947
* "When I Get up in Heaven/Amazing Grace", Dot, 1947
* "Tree of Level/Jesus Met the Woman at the Well", Dot, 1949
* "Dear Lord, Look Down Upon Me/Savior Don't Pass Me By", Dot, 1949
* "In The Wilderness/Let Me Tell You About Jesus", Dot, 1949
* "In The Upper Room/I'll Tell The World", Dot, 1950
* "I Don't Know Why I Have to Cry/When I Move in the Room", Dot, 1950
* "Don't Drive Your Children Away/Does Jesus Care", Dot, 1950
* "Nobody To Depend On/Old Time Religion", Dot, 1950
* "No Room at the Inn/Talking About Jesus", Dot, 1950
* "I Love The Name Jesus/Leave Them There", Dot, 1950
* "On My Journey Now/Love Like a River", Dot, 1950
* "Poor Pilgrim of Sorrow/Don't Drive Her Away", Dot, 1950
* "Packing Every Burden/Don't Leave Me", Dot, 1951
* "My Prayer/Come on to This Altar", Dot, 1951
* "Waiting for Me/Angels Watching", Dot, 1951
* "I'm in Your Care/I Can Tell You the Time", Dot, 1951
* "When We Bow/Let's Go", Dot, 1951
* "Hope To Shout in Glory/All the Way", Dot, 1951
* "I'll Be Satisfied/I've Got Good Religion", Dot, 1951
* "Come Over Here/Who Is That Knocking", Dot, 1953
* "His Eye Is on the Sparrow/Every Day", Dot, 1953
* "How I Got Over/This Evening Our Father", Dot, 1953
* "Stand by Me/Hear Me When I Pray", Dot, 1953
* "When The Battle Is Over/Standing on the Rock", Dot, 1953
* "Somebody Touched Me/Mother Don't Worry", Dot, 1953
* "We Never Grow Old/Jesus in Heaven", Dot, 1954
* "God Knows I'm a Pilgrim/Heaven in My View", Dot, 1954


* Standing in the Safety Zone, Warner Bros. Records, 1992
* I Couldn't Hear Nobody Pray, Warner Bros. Records, 1997
* Wreckin' the House, Dead Reckoning, 1998
* Fairfield Four and Friends Live from Mountain Stage, Blue Plate, 2000
* The Bells Are Tolling, Ace, 2001
* Road to Glory, Fuel, 2001
* Beautiful Stars, Isaac Freeman and the Bluebloods, Lost Highway, 2002

Other contributions

* "Lonesome Valley", on O Brother, Where Art Thou? (soundtrack), 2000
* Lifted: Songs of the Spirit (2002, Sony/Hear Music) - "Roll Jordan Roll"

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