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The Bright Light Quartet were a group of menhaden fisherman from the Northern
Neck of Virginia who worked aboard the purse boats in the Chesapeake Bay and the
Atlantic.8 Their repertoire included sea shanties and jubilee gospel songs, which
were sung to synchronize their movements and create the sense of togetherness
needed to sustain their back-breaking work hauling nets filled with thousands of
pounds of fish.9 The “Prayer Wheel” draws on imagery from the book of Ezekiel and
Revelation and was said to be a favorite among the Bright Light’s community.10
We recorded this crowded around a pair of stereo microphones with the lead singers
taking turns leaning in and out. Martin Gilmore and I sang what Alan referred to as
the “bullfrog bass.”


from Jayme Stone's Lomax Project, released March 3, 2015
Tim O’Brien (guitar, voice), Moira Smiley, Mollie O’Brien, Margaret Glaspy, John Magnie,
Martin Gillmore, Jayme Stone (vocals)


tags: folk world Denver


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