Phoebe Palmer was born 166 years ago today on March 8, 1839 in New York city to Dr. Walter C. and Phoebe W. Palmer. Her evangelistic parents were founding members of what Methodists call the Holiness Movement. In the merry month of May in 1855 at the age of 15, she married a 23 year old printing businessman named Joseph Fairchild Knapp. And you could say the rest is history and I would say that this where this website truly begins.
A musician, songwriter of over 500 tunes, and true music lover, she used her wealth and position to support the arts and budding artisians. Her most well known "discovery" if you will was world reknowned opera singer Emma Thursby. Emma often enterained at the Knapp Mansion on Bedford Ave, Brooklyn where the Knapps hosted 4 US presidents, many Civil War generals and other dignitaries during the time they lived there from 1860 -1894
She had three children with Joseph F. Knapp. Francis D. was born in June 1858 but died within a few weeks. Antoinette born in March of 1862 and a third child Joseph Palmer Knapp born in May of 1864.
I recently learned from the article below that both Antoinette and Joseph played musical instruments also. The article written in 1899 is mainly about Phoebe's life in music and the music room that J F built as a suprise for her while she was away in Europe one summer in 1882. It seems a fitting place and time to re present it now on her birthday.
What follows here are ten very different versions ranging from Leontyne Price to Randy Travis of Phoebe's most widely known song "Blessed Assurance" and each one is a gem. I've said this before on this web site but it bears repeating in regards to her musical talent, Because she did not need the money, she was always refered to as an amatuer musician and songwriter. Speaking as a professional writer and member of ASCAP's #1 Club I can say there is nothing remotely amatuer about this womans craft. But don't take my word for it just click a couple and hear for yourself.
To listen just click on the numbered link of your choice
1. INSTRUMENTAL RENDERING Artist unknown from the early days of MP3 : This is one of my personal favorites.
2. VOCAL RENDITION MALE & FEMALE Nashville Studio Musicians : Very nice arrangement from the CD 20 HYMN CLASSICS on the Benson Label features a 12 string guitar at the top.
3, SHIRLEY CEASER Brings down the house with a full tilt gospel version
4, EDISON MIXED QUARTET : This is probably the first recording ever made of this song It was recorded on a wax cylinder in 1908 and is probably the only recording of the song Phoebe ever heard
5.RANDY TRAVIS Randy does a fine job on it
6.TIM DAVIS an Appalachian solo fiddle rendering with a unique intro
7. GLAD Speaking of unique this incredible accapella vocal group could make Brian Wilson's head spin faster than Linda Blairs and also go counter clockwise !
8. LEONTYNE PRICE This is probably how it sounded and was rendered in Phoebes music room
9. BILLY GRAHAM CHORUS POWERFUL!!
10. ANTHONY VAN PELT A Classical solo violinist to close the show..remember J P played the violin!