Interstate 65 links Birmingham to Nashville, but for the gospel community another strong link is embodied in The Fairfield Four, who were as much a part of Birmingham's quartet history as any local group. Three of the group members participating in this reunion were born in Jefferson County; baritone, James Hill is a native of Bessemer; lead singer, Willie Love is from Fairfield; the magnificent basser Isaac Dickie Freeman is originally from Johns, Alabama. The legendary tenor and leader, Rev. Sam McCrary is very well known in Birmingham. He is one of the original members of the Fairfield Four, which began as a youth quartet in 1921. Rev. McCrary numbers the Birmingham Jubilee Singers and Famous Blue Jays among his important early influences.

The Fairfield Four became nationally known during the 1940s and 50s, partly as a result of their highly successful radio program over the 50,000 watt station WLAC in Nashville. This quartet appeared many times in Birmingham's City Auditorium during their hey-day. No out-of-town group was as well received as the Fairfield Four, or better able to pack the house.

Birmingham Quartet ScrapBook: A Quartet Reunion in Jefferson County
October 12, 1980
Doug Seroff - Project Director

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

The Fairfield Four is a gospel group that has existed for over 80 years. They started as a trio in Nashville, Tennessee's Fairfield Baptist Church in 1921.[2] They were designated as National Heritage Fellows in 1989 by the National Endowment for the Arts. The group won the 1998 Grammy for Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album. As a quintet, they featured briefly in the motion picture O Brother, Where Art Thou?.

The group gained more popular recognition after appearing on John Fogerty's 1997 album Blue Moon Swamp, singing on the track "A Hundred and Ten in the Shade". They also undertook live appearances with Fogerty.


Reverend Sam McCrary, James Hill (baritone), Isaac 'Dickie' Freeman (bass), Willie Richardson, Robert Hamlett, Ed Hall, Joe Thompson, Edward Thomas (tenor), Willie Frank Lewis (utility)

Past members:

Harold Carrethers (baritone), Rufus Carrethers (bass), John Battle (lead), Lattimer Green (second lead), Wilson 'Lit' Waters, Roscoe Shelton, Bobby Hebb


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




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