Friday, May 14, 2010

R.E. Winsett's Radio Revival


There isn't much to be said about Robert Emmett Winsett. He was born in Bledsoe County, TN, in 1876 That would make him 63 when this song book was published in Dayton, TN on August 4th 1939. Dayton is about 40 miles North of Chattanooga inside Rhea County. The man didn't travel far from home.

He graduated from the Bowman Normal School of Music in 1899 and he founded his own publishing company in 1903 and set upon publishing song books of hymns, but he didn't become a minister until 1923. His wife Birdie Bell wrote them as well. But there was something very significant about him. He wasn't just an obscure writer of praise music. The Southern Gospel Music Association describes him thus:

"...He devoted his life to the spread of Gospel Music. His music publishing company, headquartered in Dayton, Tennessee, stood as one of the strong holds of Southern shape-note publishing for most of the first half of the twentieth century. The author of more than a thousand Gospel songs, Winsett penned the words and music to the perennial favorite "Jesus Is Coming Soon," the winner of a Dove Award for Gospel Song of the Year in 1969."
But I cant find a reference to Robert Emmett Winsett preaching on the radio. His own biography didn't even hold up to light handed examination, conflicting even with basic census data. My overall impression is that calling this a "Radio Revival Special" was about marketing and not abotu Winsett . More here.