Church music and a tucking comb

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Church music and a tucking comb

Postby Rvaughn » Wed Nov 09, 2016 11:44 pm

"It was at this meetinghouse [of Hickman Creek Baptist Church, Smith County, TN], and under this preaching, when a small boy, I got my first ideas of divine worship, and of Jesus Christ as a Saviour for sinners. And this fact may account for some notions that cling to me at the present time. The first pastor I remember to have met and heard at Hickman Creek was a tall, gray-headed gentleman by the name of Durham. It was under the ministry of this aged servant of God I first witnessed the exhibition of instrumental church music. It was very simple and primitive in its order. The instrument was not an organ, nor melodeon, nor violin, nor flute, nor drum, nor horn. It was a cheap and portable concern, that the pastor carried in his pocket, which at the proper tune he played himself, thereby saving the expense of a salaried performer.

"When the hymn was announced Father Durham drew from his pocket a lady's tucking comb, to one side of which a piece of brown paper had been adjusted. While the congregation struck the air of the tune, he sung the same notes through the comb, which being reflected by the paper, and broken into diverging and crossing volumes by the intervening teeth, produced a monstrous jingle of sounds, that supplied the place of bass, treble, alto, and all the imaginary notes. Whether scientific or not, the primitive church instrument sent out a novel clatter of sounds, which to my uneducated ear seemed wonderfully melodious.

"Little did I dream at that time of living to be a grown-up man; of being transported from those native hills and dropped down among cities; to tread the threshold of majestic Gothic temples, and see the tucking comb transferred from the preacher's pocket to a spacious room in the gallery, and expanded into the beauty and grandeur of the church organ, with its thundering sounds."

[Excerpt from reminiscences of Hickman Creek Baptist Church in Middle Tennessee by a contributor signed "R. J.". Found in Samuel H. Ford's Christian Repository, April 1860]
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Re: Church music and a tucking comb

Postby Haruo » Thu Nov 10, 2016 1:32 pm

Wonderful anecdote. And the earliest example of Baptist tranvestism I can imagine having seen. A pastor using a lady's comb!
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