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Fairfield Four sheet music collection

Accession Numbers


Physical Description

30 pieces of small sheet music (CPMSM-000896-000929)



Provenance and Acquisition Information

Gift of Mrs. John Battle, Nashville, Tennessee, through Doug Seroff.

Agency History/Biographical Sketch

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).


Center for Popular Music, Middle Tennessee State University


Gospel music


Battle, John

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