Vintage worship tapes and other memories

Yesterday I encountered, a site which is:

A project to preserve classic worship music from the golden era of Harvestime worship music.

Awake, O Zion!

I should explain that in the late 70’s and early 80’s, there were a series of annual bible weeks held at showgrounds in the United Kingdom as part of the Restoration movement.  Dales Week, which I twice went to, was in Harrogate.  There was also Downs Week in the south of England.  I think the New Frontiers week in Stafford is more or less the successor of these, although I could be wrong.

The worship was recorded, and cassette tapes could be purchased.  I’m not sure if I ever actually bought any of the tapes, but I did buy the Songs of Victory songbook, which I still have somewhere.

The tapes themselves were played endlessly by people that I knew who were involved in the movement.  I can hear some of those songs as I write, for they are embedded deep in my mind.

These tapes should be preserved.  They are part of the musical history of the charismatic movement in the United Kingdom.  Yet they never existed other than on cassette tape, and I imagine most of the copies have deteriorated by now.

The site owner has digitised what he has into MP3 format.  The results are pretty clean and clear, but somehow less impressive than in my memory.

What is needed, of course, is a remaster based on the master tapes.  But the Harvestime organisation has long since disbanded.  I wonder where the master tapes are?  I wonder who even knows about these things any more?

The site owner has been deterred from distributing the files because he is quite unable to determine who, if anyone, he needs to ask for permission to do so.  At the time the idea of copyright in recordings of Christian worship was ridiculous — that much I remember myself — and the idea of licensing the use of new songs only appeared during the 80’s, as a response to the difficulties that congregations had in precisely this problem.

Yet these things should be online.  There’s no money in this.  But there are people out there who would like to hear these memories of their youth again.


48 thoughts on “Vintage worship tapes and other memories

  1. Wow that brings back some memories. My dad had most of those tapes. I’ve converted a few of the Anglia Bible Week worship tapes to MP3 (which Bryn Jones spoke at). Shame about the copyright troubles. I’d be tempted to go with the easier to ask for forgiveness than permission approach myself 😉

  2. Well done! The more you can convert the better, you know? You don’t have the “Songs of Victory” tape, do you?

    Your approach is mine. I really don’t believe that people will sue over this, or should.

  3. If I remember I’ll see if my dad has still got the Songs of Victory tape when I visit at Christmas. Hopefully its not been thrown out. I mainly converted loads of sermon tapes. The only two Bible week worship tapes I’ve converted are 1985 and 1983 Anglia Bible Weeks.

  4. I’d be grateful if you did. I never owned a copy, but I remember it very well, since it was the first bible week I attended after being converted.

    I’m delighted to hear that you’ve converted loads of the sermon tapes too! Well done! You don’t have a list, I don’t suppose? What are you doing with the results? (he asks, tentatively).

  5. What do you think now, of that movement? Was it of God? I know that God blessed many people (including myself) through it. There were also some aspects to it that were less than good. How should we regard R1 and R2 now, I wonder (I’m sorry, I don’t know your own position).

  6. Roger, thank you so much for mentioning the site! As I am mentioning in a personal email to you, I am seriously considering the issues you have raised about the copyright stuff. Thanks again!

  7. Glad to help. I’ve also had some success finding contacts associated with the original organisation, via David Matthew. But I have also found that the Restoration magazine is on sale in PDF form, by permission. Which leads one to suppose that someone, somewhere, is paying attention to this.

  8. Hi i was a helper and down bible week and would like to get hold of the cassette version which i use to have but got stole several year ago in a robbery.

  9. I have a cassette of Downs worship here in California. It still plays. I loved those songs and memorized some to use in my church here on the west coast. Didn’t understand anything about copyright then. My friend traveled from here to Downs week specifically to encounter God and she did. Came back changed.

  10. Praise God. You may wish to play that tape once more and record the sound onto a hard disk – the cassette won’t last forever, I’m sure.

  11. Have 5 of the tapes from Downs Bible Week including Songs of Victory tape, words and music books. Also 3 from Dales, 2 from Dales/Downs and 1 from Newark as well as 7 tapes from that era (early 80’s) and 40 odd ministry tapes (Kingdom Faith, Pawson, Virgo, Urquhart, Wallis etc).

    I left a message on the vintage tape website last year but didn’t get any feedback so I am more than happy to hand over any of these if they can be used and/or digitalised.

  12. They ought to be digitised, didn’t they? I’ve sent an enquiry to Anthony, who runs the site. But of course he may not be active any more.

  13. Hi Roger. I know I’m coming to this post several years after it was originally published but I’m very interested in the resources which are being discussed here. I’m a doctoral student researching in the area of liturgy and worship and my current focus is on the British Charismatic Renewal. These tapes would be incredibly helpful for understanding the shape, music and theology of worship in this period as they are likely the best (and only) source of information for understanding the worship within the Charismatic Renewal. If anybody has these tapes, I have the ability to digitize at the university. I could likely access funds to cover the cost of postage (I’m studying in the US) and we would happily return the originals after they had been digitized.

  14. Hello what an interesting read, I have one or two old Dales Bible Week tapes myself, what a treasure they are. I was so up set when my ‘Songs of Triumph’ tape (Dales week 1979) got mangled in the recorder. Amazing days, I’m glad I was able to share in being part of that wonderful era. We were on fire for God, still am.

  15. Jonathan Ottaway – I have tapes from teaching in R2 in the early to late 1970s which I will digitise for you if you wish eg Gerald Coates and George Tarleton.

  16. Stephen Challis – I think that could be very interesting if you were willing to share those with me. Thank you for your kind offer!

  17. Hello there is a man called David Matthews who was, I believe one of the chiefs of Harvest Time, at least on the book publishing side. Not so sure about the music. He’s still around and on Facebook. There’s a chap called Mike Rimmer who DJ’d an on site radio for a couple of years. CMBC or “Covenant Ministries Broadcasting Corporation. I worked with a team doing site news etc. Great memories. He wasn’t connected with Harvest time but may know a few contacts. On Facebook too.

  18. I am just listening to Sing Praise to God Wales 1983 tape. It was my first Bible week i was 19 and had just given my life to Jesus. What a blessing to enjoy listening to Keri Jones leading everyone singin pierce my ear. Affirming a decision to trust Jesus with all your heart and to serve him. Thank you for making these available.

  19. Amen! Praise God! Keri was preaching the night I gave my life to Jesus too. It was the best decision of my life. It’s wonderful to have this material available.

  20. Doug… I would like to connect with you – I’d love to see what Pawson material you have. I am helping the David Pawson Teaching Trust round up some of his missing teachings. David sadly passed away last week.

  21. Thanks for forwarding Nick’s enquiry – I have forwarded the two David Pawson tapes to him today so that he can digitalise these too.

  22. Great Article! Unfortunately, the site has been down for about a few weeks now, and it looks like the owner of the site won’t be fixing the site for long, considering that his Facebook page is currently inactive.

    However, before the site closed down, I managed to download some of the tapes that I personally liked, even though I’m not part of the old generation 🙂

    Here is one of the tape that I personally like and remastered :

  23. I’m afraid you have to download the files themselves, because it can’t be played in the browser.

  24. I was at Dales Bible week. One night,someone sat at the piano and sang this.
    Today is the start of a new day,when all men shall see my bride.
    It was prophetic,but I can’t find it.

  25. The song I believe is composed and sung by David Hadden. It is entitled “I will build my church my way”. It is to be found on the “Proclaim the King” album (song 14). The year was 1986.

  26. We have just found a box of sermon tapes from the dales and wales bible weeks. Does anyone want them ?

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