Alfred Marcus Cagle (d. 1968)

Alfred Marcus Cagle (d. 1968)


Sacred Harp singing is a participatory form of American sacred folk-choral music that has been written about in recently TIME, The Boston Globe, New York Times. It involves people of all faiths and lifestyles, and preserves the musical genius of self taught rural composers, such as Mr. A.M. Cagle.


A.M. Cagle is one of the most important 20th century composers of Sacred Harp music. This EPK contains a proposal (click on SET LIST above) for Rounder Records (or another indepedent label specializing in American roots music) to record and release his complete works performed by the voices of traditional Sacred Harp singers.

Sacred Harp music is a uniquely American form of sacred polyphony that has been described as "gregorian chant meets bluegrass" and "heavy metal choral music." This raw and unrestrained style has a sonic appeal which crosses over from intellectuals on university campuses to punk-rock and alternative rock bands who increasingly cite Sacred Harp's raw texture and spiritual power as an tonal influence.

As you can hear by sampling the audio selections above, Cagle's tunes are among the most arrestingly beautiful and distinctive of all 20th Century Sacred Harp composers, spanning six decades between 1908 and 1968, during which he was a mentor to the young Hugh Mcgraw, who has now been the executive secretary of the Sacred harp publishing company for over 50 years. His music has been recorded by popular choral ensembles such as Chanticleer and Word of Mouth Chorus.

The author of this proposal is Tom Malone, Sacred Harp singer and American music scholar who has researched the life and music of Mr. Cagle gathering materials for a afternoon session of his music in Anniston Alabama with those that knew him and sung with him, an event which was the inspiration for proposing this recording project.

The purpose of this project (and proposal, see again SET LIST above) is to bring the full breadth of Mr. Cagle's music (published and unpublished) to a wider audience and to record his tunes with traditional singers including many voices of those that knew him. Tom Malone would coordinate the recording sessions with the singers and prepare the unpublished manuscripts.

The resulting recordings would appeal to fans of American folk music, avant gard composers, EMO indie-rock bands who cite Sacred Harp as an infuence, and the broad community of Sacred Harp singers and devotees of acoustic music and sacred harmony.


I'll Seek His Blessings

Written By: A.M. Cagle, 1959

My hope is in the Lord,
The blessed, bleeding Lamb,
I’ll seek His blessings ev’ry noon,
And pay my vows at night.

Sermon on the Mount

Written By: A.M. Cagle, 1959

And seeing the multitudes,
He went up into a mount;
And when He was set,
His disciples came unto Him.
He opened His mouth,
There blessings poured out
To the children about
And none were left out.

Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see the kingdom of heav’n.

The meek He blessed with righteousness,
The weak, the dumb, the blind ones too,
Will sing to His praise when we all reach home.

Soar Away

Written By: A.M. Cagle, 1935

I want a sober mind,
An all sustaining eye,
To see my God above,
And to the heavens fly.

I’d soar away above the sky,
I’d fly to see my God above.

I want a Godly fear,
A quick discerning eye,
That looks to Thee my God,
And see the tempter fly.

I’d soar away above the sky,
I’d fly to see my God above.

Present Joys

Written By: A.M. Cagle, 1908

We thank the Lord of heav’n and earth,
Who hath preserved us from our birth.

For present joys, for blessings past,
And for the hope of heav’n at last.

How shall we half our task fulfill?
We thank Thee for Thy mind and will.

Redeemed us oft from death and dread,
And with Thy gifts our table spread.

Set List

PROPOSAL : The Complete Works of Alfred Marcus Cagle 1884-1968

To: Rounder Records, Somerville MA

From: Thomas B. Malone B. Mus., M.M.

Rounder Records
One Rounder Way
Burlington, Massachusetts 01803

Dear friends and respected colleagues at Rounder Records,

My name is Thomas B. Malone, I teach a Summer Course at Boston University on American traditional music, a course which would not be possible without the field recordings from the expansive catalog of your excellent record label. Since 2004 I have been reseacrhing and teaching in partnership with the Sacred Harp community have recently come into possession of some unpublished manuscripts of one of Sacred Harp's most significant composers, Mr. A.M. Cagle.

As you know, Sacred Harp music is a uniquely American form of sacred polyphony that has been described as "Gregorian chant meets bluegrass" and "heavy metal choral music." This raw and unrestrained style which so uniquely co