It is an American Gospel music song. The tune was written by William Batchelder Bradbury (1816-1868) to a lyric of Jefferson Hascall (1807-1887).
Lyrics first written to a tune written by J.W. Dadmun. This was first published in the tunebook The Melodeon (1860) as "Angels Bear Me Away".
The tune by Bradbury was published in Bradbury's Golden Shower of S.S. Melodies in 1862. Bradbury's song was originally titled "The Land of Beulah".
The song became more commonly known under the title: "Angel Band".
First recording I could find:
(o) Dixie Sacred Singers (1927) (as "O Bear Me Away On Your Snowy Wings")
Recorded in New York: May 10, 1927.
Released on Vocalion B 5160.
Over a four day period in 1927, Uncle Dave Macon recorded a total of 38 sides in New York City for the Vocalion Record Company. There were eight solo tracks (banjo and voice), two tracks with Sam and Kirk McGee and a further twenty-eight tracks by Uncle Dave, the McGee Brothers and fiddler, Mazy Todd. Eighteen of these tracks were issued as by “Uncle Dave Macon & His Fruit Jar Drinkers”, the rest as by the “Dixie Sacred Singers”, or else as “Uncle Dave Macon & McGee Brothers”, when Mazy Todd was not playing.
The Dixie Sacred Singers were:
Uncle Dave Macon: banjo, vocal
Sam McGee: guitar, vocal
Kirk McGee: mandolin, vocal
Mazy Todd: fiddle
(c) Smith's Sacred Singers (1928) (as "My Latest Sun Is Sinking Fast")
Smith’s Sacred Singers: prob.: J. Frank Smith, lv; Joe Day, tv; Willie Fowler, bv; Will Brewer, bsv; acc. poss. Mildred Cowsert, p.
Recorded in Atlanta, GA on April 17, 1928.
Released on Columbia 15281-D
(c) Dye's Sacred Harp Singers (1928) (as "Land Of Beulah")
Recorded in Richmond, IN on December 15, 1928
Released on Gennett 6736
(c) Fiddlin' John Carson & Moonshine Kate (1934) (as "Bear Me Away On Your Snowy White Wings")
Recorded in Camden, NJ on February 27, 1934
Fiddlin’ John Carson, v/ f; Bill Willard, bj; Moonshine Kate, g/v; Marion “Peanut” Brown, g/v.
Released on Bluebird BB B-5560 and Montgomery Ward M-4851
(c) Carl Butler (1954) (as "Angel Band")
Recorded October 27, 1954 in the Castle Studio At The Tulane Hotel, Nashville 3, TN
Carl Butler, &Webster Brothers (Jack Shook, Don Helms, Ernie Newton, Dale Potter, Marvin Hughes)
Released on Columbia 4-21353
This version (the first one to use the familiar title "Angel Band") was written/ arranged by Carl Butler's wife Pearl Butler (born Pearl D. Jones)
(c) Stanley Brothers (1958) (as "Angel Band")
Stanley Brothers & Clinch Mountain Boys (Carter Stanley [vcl/gt], Ralph Stanley [vcl/banjo], Curley Lambert [vcl/mandolin], Bill Lowe [vcl/bass], Art Stamper [vcl/fiddle].)
Recorded December 19, 1955 Bradley Studios, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville 3, TN -
Released in 1958 on the album: Mercury MG 20349
(c) Carter Family (1956) (as "Angel Band")
Recorded on April 19, 1956 during the so-called ACME sessions in Bristol, TN
Released in 2008 on The ACME Sessions.
(c) Wilburn Brothers (1959) (as "O Come Angel Band")
Wilburn Brothers (Doyle Wilburn [vcl], Teddy Wilburn [vcl], Grady Martin [gt], Sammy Pruett [gt], Don Helms [steel], Roy M. "Junior" Huskey, Jr. [bass], Floyd Cramer [piano], Tommy Jackson [fiddle].)
Recorded September 14, 1959 Bradley Film & Recording Studio, Nashville, TN -
Released on album "Livin' in God's Country" (Decca DL-78959)
Here's the Wilburn Brothers from their own show:
(c) The Browns (1961) (as "My Latest Sun Is Sinking Fast")
Browns (Jim Ed Brown, Maxine Brown, Bonnie Brown + Hank Garland [gt], Velma Smith [gt], Henry Strzelecki [bass], Farris Coursey [drums], Floyd Cramer [piano], Grady Martin [vibes], Anita Kerr [organ]. Producer: Chet Atkins)
Recorded July 28, 1961, RCA Victor Studio, 1610 Hawkins St., Nashville 3, TN
Released on the album: "Sing Songs From The Little Brown Church Hymnal" (RCA Victor LSP 2345)
(c) Porter Wagoner (1963) (as "Angel Band")
Recorded February 1963 RCA Victor Studio, 1611 Hawkins St., Nashville, TN
Released on the album "Y'all Come" (RCA Victor LSP-2706)
(c) Bill Anderson (1967)
Recorded February 24, 1967 Columbia Recording Studio, 804 16th Ave. South, Nashville, TN -
Bill Anderson (Bill Anderson [vcl], Harold Bradley [gt], Jerry Shook [gt], Jimmy Lance [gt], Sonny Garrish [steel], Roy M. "Junior" Huskey, Jr. [bass], Leonard Miller [drums], Jerry Smith [piano] + The Jordanaires.)
Released on the album "I Can Do Nothing Alone" (Decca DL 74886)
(c) Monkees (1969) (as "Angel Band")
On the album "Missing Links Vol 3".
(c) Charley Pride (1971) (as "Angel Band")
Recorded February 10, 1971 RCA Victor Studio, 800 17th Ave. South, Nashville, TN –
Charley Pride (Charley Pride [vcl] + unknown musicians. Producer: Jack Clement)
Released on the album "Did You Think To Pray" (RCA Victor LSP-4513)
(c) Old And In The Way (1973)
"Angel Band" was performed by Old And In The Way on October 1, 1973.
And finally released in 1996:
(c) Johnny Cash (1979) (as "Oh Come, Angel Band")
Johnny Cash (Johnny Cash [vcl/gt], Jack Routh [gt], Jack Clement [rh gt], Bob Wooton [el gt], Marshall Grant [el bass], Jerry Hensley [gt], WS Holland [drums], Earl Ball [piano], Jack Hale [trumpet], Robert Lewin [trumpet], Carter Family [bck vcl]. Producer: Johnny Cash)
Recorded January 24, 1979 Columbia Recording Studio, 34 Music Sq. East, Nashville, TN
25 January 1979;
5 March 1979 Jerry Hensley [gt], Mike Leech [bass], strings, Wayne Jackson [trumpet], Earl Poole Ball [piano], Mark Morris [percussion], Carter Family;
14 May 1979 Jerry Hensley [gt], Joel Sonnier [concertina], Earl poole Ball [piano],
18 May 1979 William Puett [flute/sax/oboe], Charles Cochran [piano], Jack martin , Dennis Good [trm];
Released on the album "A Believer Sings The Truth" (Cachet CL3-9001)
(c) Emmylou Harris (1987) (as "Angel Band")
Emmylou Harris – Angel Band
(c) Dolly Parton (1999) (as "Angel Band")
In the movie "Blue Valley Songbird".
(c) Peasall Sisters (2000) (as "Angel Band")
The Peasall Sisters were thrust into the spotlight when they contributed to the soundtrack for the popular movie, O Brother, Where Art Thou?, providing the singing voices of George Clooney’s daughters, the Wharvey Girls. The girls were 6, 9 and 12 years of age at the time.
Just before the end-credits they sang "Angel Band".
On the soundtrack of the film "O Brother Where Art Thou" the 1955-version of the Stanley Brothers is included.
In 2005, when they were a bit older (11, 14 and 17 years of age), they recorded a complete version on an album.
(c) The Peasall Sisters (2005)
Released on their album "Home To You".
(c) The Dead (2004)