As we cap off another year in Southern Gospel music, December will be devoted to bringing the best albums and recorded songs of 2011. With the number of albums received/reviewed in 2011, this year’s best album/recorded song count down will consist of the top 20 in each category. The count down will begin Thursday (12/01/11) and run throughout December. Provided is the list of albums released in 2011 to be considered among the best of the year. Be sure to click on the thumbnail to better see the list of albums.
Archive for November, 2011
This week’s ten on ten feature will be the final edition of this feature for 2011. The feature will pick back up in the new year, as December will be devoted to highlighting the best of 2011 in Southern Gospel music. The final ten on ten feature of the year highlights the top ten albums of the Crabb Family. Another group that has left an unmistakable mark on the industry. Their popularity is evident in the success of Jason Crabb’s spin-off solo career and in the Bowling Family’s success.
The family released over 15 recordings in their 12 year career. A current tour and new album slated for a February 2012 release will only keep the Crabb Family popularity alive. The top ten Crabb Family albums are:
- Pray (1999)
- Driven (2004)
- Yesterday, Today And Forever (1997)
- The Walk (2003)
- Living Out The Dream (2001)
- Prayer In Motion (1998)
- Alive And Kickin (1996)
- Still Holding On (1996)
- Live From Kentucky (2000)
- Crabb Grass (2000)
- With just over 15 albums to their credit, it wasn’t difficult to come up with a top ten list. The bigger difficulty was trying to determine a #1 album. The group has had several really strong albums, but when the dust settled, Pray from 1999 won the battle as the group’s pinnacle recording.
- With songs like “Through The Fire” (original cut), “When I Think Of Love”, “Jesus In A Song”, “Another Valley Left Behind” and “When It’s My Time” highlighting this recording, this was probably the strongest Crabb Family album in terms of song selection.
- The country themed Driven from 2004 wasn’t far behind as the group’s top recording. Big songs “He Came Looking For Me” and “The Shepherd’s Call” are found on this effort.
- The song that started it all for the Crabb Family was the 1998 #1 hit “Please Forgive Me”. The 1997 recording Yesterday, Today And Forever ranks third among the group’s top albums. While the production work wasn’t as slick as the top two albums, this recording showed the listener the huge potential the Crabb Family had.
- The Crabb Family’s live performances is one of the biggest things that separated them from many other touring acts of their era. It is no surprise that Alive And Kickin (1996) and Live From Kentucky (2000) both made the group’s top ten list.
- While both live recording’s featured previously recorded songs, the strength was in the live performance. Alive And Kickin was the first video recording by the group. Early hits “Still Holdin’ On”, “Something Going On In The Graveyard” and “Where We’ll Never Die” were all featured.
- The string of hits in the Crabb Family’s discography is huge considering the short amount of time they were able to accumulate them. In addition to the songs already mentioned, how can one forget “Trail Of Tears”, “Try Walking On The Water”, “The Lamb, The Lion And The King”, “Don’t You Wanna Go”, “I Sure Miss You”, “That’s No Mountain”, “The Cross”, “The Reason That I’m Standing” and “Please Come Down To Me”.
- In looking at the hidden gem in the Crabb Family discography, I would take a look at Crabb Grass from 2000. Not your normal Crabb Family recording, the group take their turn at a little bluegrass music and turn in a strong recording.
- In the album that should be forgotten category, the group’s 2007 album Letting Go was a huge disappointment compared to the group’s body of work.
- The Crabb Family will undoubtedly go down as one of Southern Gospel’s greatest artists in terms of influence and hit music. Another one of those group’s where every Southern Gospel listener should have at least one recording of the group in their collection.
***COMING IN 2012: BRIAN FREE & ASSURANCE, CATHEDRALS, DIXIE ECHOES, HOPPERS, OAK RIDGE BOYS, SPEERS AND MORE***
Tags: Kingdom Heirs, Squire Parsons
To cap off the classic video holiday weekend is two more clips from the 1980′s. The first is from the Kingdom Heirs circa 1987. This was the time period David McGill held down the lead vocal position. Here’s the group singing the “Good Ole Gospel Ship”.
The second clip comes from Squire Parsons, circa 1985, singing one of his all time great compositions; “We Shall Be Like Him”. Enjoy!
To continue the classic video weekend, today finds two video clips from the Hoppers. The first clip is a Hoppers quartet featuring Greg Bentley (Tenor), Dean Hopper (Lead), Mike Hopper (Baritone) and Shannon Childress (Bass). This particular clip comes from 1987. Into the ’90s when the Hoppers put a quartet together they called themselves the Sunday School Quartet.
The second clip, also from the Hoppers, is a 1986 appearance on the Sing Out America television program. During this time period the Hoppers traveled with both a male tenor and female soprano vocal configuration. The song; “I Need Jesus”. Enjoy!
Tags: Gold City, Singing Americans
While many are out in the madness of black Friday, I thought I would take the holiday weekend and provide some classic video clips. Today I have two clips from the 1980′s of two of Southern Gospel’s biggest quartets of that era. Enjoy!!
The first is a clip of the Singing Americans circa 1982. This comes from the Sing Out America television program that aired during the time period. This version of the Singing Americans featured Danny Funderburk on tenor before his move to the Cathrdrals and Ivan Parker on lead before his move to Gold City. The song is “Family Reunion In Heaven”.
The second clip features Ivan Parker with Gold City. It is from a 1988 television performance. The song; “The Search Is Over”.
Tags: Dove Brothers Quartet
With nearly 15 years and 20 albums under their belt, the Dove Brothers have consistently provided the Southern Gospel listener with quality music. The Dove Brothers music career can be divided into two parts. Starting as a classic quartet, singing quartet standards, the Dove Brothers transformed their sound about five years ago. Their current musical style is reminiscent to the sounds of the Oak Ridge Boys and Thrasher Brothers of the 1970′s; a good dose of Southern Gospel music with country-style melodies. This week’s ten on ten will look at the Dove Brothers musical career thus far and rank the group’s ten best recordings.
The Dove Brothers top ten albums are:
- Hold On (2009)
- Never The Same (2006)
- Life (2008)
- Unshakeable (2010)
- Anything But Ordinary, Everything But Typical (2005)
- Every Time I Feel The Spirit (2001)
- A Tribute To Mosie Lister (2004)
- Pure Tradition (1998)
- Flying High (2000)
- You Can’t Stop God From Blessing Me (2002)
- The Dove Brothers current musical style ranks highest among the albums released. The top five recordings of the Dove Brothers career are all from the group’s transformation in sound.
- The 2009 recording Hold On sits a top the Dove Brothers discography as the group’s best recording released to date. One of the biggest songs of the group’s career, “Hold On”, is found on this recording. Covers of “Leaving On My Mind”, “A Little Good News”, “Back To Egypt” and “He’s Sending Miracles” also highlight this recording.
- Never The Same, from 2006, wasn’t far behind being ranked as the top Dove Brothers recording. This was really the first recording to highlight the transformation in the group’s sound and style. This recording offered a good mix of the Dove Brothers classic version and the new transformed version.
- The Dove Brothers two major tenors (John Rulapaugh and Jerry Martin) also showcased the Dove Brothers transformation. John was perfect in adding that classic tenor sound while Jerry Martin brought more of the soaring harmony that can be heard in country music.
- The highest ranking classic Dove Brother period recording is the 2001 effort Every Time I Feel The Spirit. The Dove Brothers took classic Southern Gospel quartet standards and made them sound fresh and they also took new songs (mainly written by McCray) and made them sound classic.
- The Dove Brothers adding a live band in the last couple years has enhanced their current musical style. The group’s current Live recording is a great recording to highlight this. It may have made the top ten list if there wasn’t so much talking on the recording.
- The Dove Brothers are one of a few groups that release a debut album good enough to rank among their ten best. The 1998 debut, Pure Tradition, showed the listener exactly what the Dove Brothers goal was in creating quartet music.
- The forgotten gem in the Dove Brothers discography is their 2004 recording A Tribute To Mosie Lister. This was a great 10 song selection honoring the songwriting legacy of Mosie Lister. There were even a few songs selected for that recording that I had not heard until that recording.
- From forgotten gem to the album that should be forgotten. Early in the group’s career they were releasing one classic quartet album after another. Of all those, the 2001 album The Old Country Church, ranks lowest.
- With their musical style reminiscent to the sounds of the Oak Ridge Boys of the 1970′s, it would be fitting for the group to do an entire album re-recording songs by the Oak Ridge Boys of that era.
***NEXT UP ON TEN ON TEN: CRABB FAMILY***
Tags: Jackie Wilburn, Wilburns
I was saddened to hear the news this morning of the passing of Jackie Wilburn. Patriarch of the Wilburn family and a friend to many. Great tributes have already been posted here and here. I wanted to offer a few video clips of my own to honor this wonderful man of God. All three come from the Wilburns landmark album, Alabama Lightning, from 1990. My prayers are extended to the entire Wilburn family at this time.
Tags: Browns, Dixie Melody Boys, LeFevre Quartet, Master's Voice
Today finds four more mini album reviews and what will probably be the final album reviews of 2011. December will bring my annual year’s best list. This year I will be counting down what I consider to be the top 20 albums of 2011 based on all the albums received.
**Denotes Personal Favorites
- Album: Now
- Artist: Browns
- Release Date: 09/13/11
- Synopsis: The Browns have been adding their own brand of Southern Gospel music now for upwards of eight years. The group’s newest effort, Now, is a 14 song collection filled with mainly new material. This album also marks the return of sibling Jessica and her husband Nick Trammell. This album does contain several stand out tracks.
SONG LIST: 1. “Now And Forevermore”** 2. “Good Enough”** 3. “Nothing Is Impossible” 4. “My Child Is Coming Home”** 5. “Everywhere I Go” 6. “Beautiful Day” 7. “Silent For Me” 8. “Joyful Medley” 9. “Grace Became Amazing To Me”** 10. “Rained Out” 11. “God Of A Second Chance” 12. “Worth Of It All”** 13. “Put Your Hand In The Hand” 14. “Still My Child”
- Album: 50 Years: The Call Is Still The Same
- Artist: Dixie Melody Boys
- Release Date: 09/13/11
- Synopsis: The Dixie Melody Boys put this special 50 year recording together with several former members of the group. The recording also contains a DVD of the making of The Call Is Still The Same. Strong song selection and vocal delivery make this a must have for any fan of Southern Gospel quartet music. Congratulations to Ed O’Neal of 50 years of service in Southern Gospel music.
SONG LIST: 1. “Jesus In My Boat”** 2. “Bottom Of The Basket” 3. “Too Much Thunder”** 4. “His Blood Alone” 5. “There’s Joy In Serving Jesus”** 6. “God Will Hear Your Prayer”** 7. “Good Ole Boys” 8. “That’s Why I Sing Gospel Music” 9. “Go To The Well” 10. “The Call Is Still The Same”** 11. “Gotta Get The Good News Out” 12. “I’ve Got Family There”**
- Album: Live In Memphis
- Artist: LeFevre Quartet
- Release Date: 09/27/11
- Synopsis: Live In Memphis was recorded in 2010 and finally made its way to retail. Consisting mainly of previously released music, Live In Memphis is still one of the best live recordings released in 2011. The line-up at the time the album was recorded was Jeremy Easley (Tenor), David Staton (Lead), Mike LeFevre (Baritone) and Keith Inman (Bass). A very enjoyable live concert experience.
SONG LIST: 1. “Let Me Tell You About Jesus”** 2. “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now” 3. “I Don’t Know Why” 4. “Hold On”** 5. “Take My Life”** 6. “Robe Of White” 7. “Last One Worthy”** 8. “Big Mighty God” 9. “You’re Never Too Far Away” 10. “LeFevre Medley: When The Gates Swing Open/I Love To Call His Name/I’ve Come Too Far/Stepping On The Clouds” 11. “Living In The Light Of God”** 12. “Jesus Saves”**
- Album: New Grace
- Artist: Master’s Voice
- Release Date: 08/23/11
- Synopsis: New trio Master’s Voice, out of Bristow OK, caught my attention several years ago with the release of the albums Exceeding Abundantly Above and He’s All The Above. New Grace is the 2011 release for Master’s Voice. The album is a mix of new material and previously recorded music. Their location keeps them from touring the major Southern Gospel markets in the southeast. If you’re the type of Southern Gospel listener who is always on the lookout for new artists producing quality music, check out Master’s Voice.
SONG LIST: 1. “I Got A Feeling”** 2. “But God” 3. “All You Need Is Jesus” 4. “Funeral Plans” 5. “I’ll Just Go With God”** 6. “This Same Jesus”** 7. “When I Cross Over” 8. “Give Him The Glory” 9. “Come Without Delay” 10. “New Grace”** 11. “The Man In The Middle”** 12. “It’s A Wonderful Life”