E. Aagaard, Chico, CA, Amazon review
If you've never heard of Sacred Harp singing, this can serve as an introduction by a singer who has loved the music for many years. If you have ever been to a singing, you will understand a LOT more about it by reading this book. And if you are an experienced singer, there will even be things YOU didn't know in Buell Cobb's book.
E. Aagaard, Chico, CA, Amazon review
The book, on page 243, mentions that at least 28 of Alabama's 67 counties once held an annual courthouse Sacred Harp singing, with Cullman County being the only one with that distinction today . I've now been able to confirm that the number should be at least 30. Here's an alphabetical list of county seats that once hosted one of the annual courthouse events : Alexander City, Andalusia, Ashland, Ashville, Birmingham, Cullman, Dadeville, Decatur, Dothan, Double Springs, Elba, Fayette, Ft. Payne, Gadsden, Greenville, Guntersville, Hamilton, Heflin, Huntsville, Jasper, LaFayette, Monroeville, Montgomery, Moulton, Oneonta, Ozark, Russellville, Talladega, Tuscaloosa and Vernon.
Buell Cobb recounts the resurgence of interest in shape note singing, a tradition in the in the rural South, from the near-demise he wrote about in his earlier book. Of special interest to the growing national community of shape note singers, it's so well crafted that it can be enjoyed by anyone who appreciates reminiscences of life in a simpler era. Think "Tales from Lake Wobegon."
Johanna Fabke, Amazon review
I loved this book. Sacred Harp Music has a long history and is currently enjoying a resurgence of interest worldwide (it is like no other) .... Buell Cobb immersed himself in this genre starting in the '60 and has been active thru Cold Mountain until today..... from "The Heart of Dixie"... central Al. His clever writing introduced me to sacred sounds of the human voice as they reverberate thru small wooden churches... I was "claimed". ...a trip well worth taking.
Lou65, Amazon review
I felt like I had some new best friends after reading Buell Cobb's descriptions of people he had met through Sacred Harp singing. He has an amazing talent for describing characters so that you feel that you have known them all of your life. Whether you can sing or want to sing, you will enjoy this book for the stories about the people.
Sandra Bowers, Amazon review
My mother, Myrl D. Jones, wanted me to convey to you her delight with your recent book. She considers it a very great honor to be a living resource for you and is very proud of her two pictures that are now ... because of your work ... included in Sacred Harp recorded history. In my opinion, there are very few things that could please her more. Thank you for finding her.
Deborah L. Wallace, daughter of 94-year-old Myrl Smith Jones, quoted and pictured in the book
Buell is clearly a storyteller at heart, and a very skilled one at that. The images he creates with his words are as vivid and entertaining as I’ve read in any similar work and his prose flows like a peaceful river filled with magic, inevitably drawing the reader under its spell. I can hardly imagine a more delightful and attractive combination of grace, insight, tenderness, sensitivity, humility, self-deprecation, and humor, along with a healthy dose of playfulness.
Wade Cotter, review in the online publication The Trumpet (read the entire review at: http://www.entish.org/sh/trumpet/4-1-trumpet-2014-4-1.pdf)
Like Cords Around My Heart . . . is a book both for long time Sacred Harp people and those who, like me, are peripheral fans and for anyone else who may be interested in history, cultural anthropology, tradition, the south, food, dedication, and music. The book is rich in all of these and then some. It is about the heart of fasola, the singers and those who love fasola. Be warmed by their charm and generous hearts while you enjoy a very well told tale of an art form, once nearly extinct and now roaring quietly back to a well deserved prominence.
Martha Patton Jax, Facebook posting
Every family needs a storyteller who can make you love those you were never blessed to meet. Buell Cobb is that storyteller for the extended family that is the Sacred Harp singing community. Beautifully written with humor and great love, this is a must-read for all Sacred Harp singers. Warning, though: if you have things that simply must get done, DON'T start reading-- you'll be saying, "Oh, just one more chapter!" long after bedtime has come and gone. And if you're not a singer yet, you might begin to understand what the attraction is.
I read it on my travels. What a charmer he is! He writes with informal but respectful regard for his quirky subjects and with so much southern charm.
Betsy Jeronen, Facebook posting