This week’s ten on ten feature finally highlights the recording career of the Cathedrals. Many readers have been anticipating the albums I consider to be the Cathedrals ten best. The truth is, this top ten list was not that hard to compile. The Cathedrals dominated a specific time period in Southern Gospel music and most of the group’s best music came from that era.
I know there will greater discussion on the Cathedrals #1 album than anything else. Considered by many as one of the best groups to ever grace a Southern Gospel stage, the Cathedrals influence will never be forgotten.
The Cathedrals ten best albums are as follows:
- Live In Atlanta (1983)
- High And Lifted Up (1993)
- Something Special (1982)
- Sunshine And Roses (1978)
- The Prestigious Cathedral Quartet (1984)
- Master Builder (1986)
- Symphony Of Praise (1987)
- I’ve Just Started Living (1989)
- For Keeps (1975)
- Focus On Glen Payne (1968)
- The top three albums are truly interchangeable. In crowning the Cathedrals #1 album I finally had to go with my gut and decided on the 1983 recording Live In Atlanta. If for nothing else than Glen Payne’s performance of the Cathedral’s best recorded song “We Shall See Jesus”.
- But the album also contained “I’m Gonna Live Forever”, “Everywhere I Go”, “We Are So Blessed”, “Movin’ Up To Gloryland” and “Rivers Of Joy”. Live In Atlanta captured the Cathedrals better than any other live recording the group released.
- The best ’90′s era Cathedral recording is the 1993 album High And Lifted Up. This is the only album from that decade to land among the group’s ten best. It is easily the best studio recording the group has in their discography. From “A Comfort To Know” to “I’d Like To Say It Again”, this album is power house from top to bottom. There is not a single ‘filler song’ on the album.
- Landing at #3 among the group’s ten best is the 1982 recording Something Special. Another recording considered for the top spot just missed claiming the crown. It wasn’t for lack of high-caliber songs. ”Step Into The Water”, “Let Freedom Ring”, “Then Came The Morning”, “Mexico”, “Turn Your Back” and “We Shall Be Caught Up” all highlight Something Special.
- The vocal line up of Funderburk (Tenor), Payne (Lead), Trammell (Baritone) and Younce (Bass) had more recordings in the top 10 than any other vocal line-up. The albums landing at #5, #6, #7 and #8 all featured this vocal line-up.
- Those four albums brought great songs such as “Build An Ark”, “It’s Almost Over”, “Somebody Touched Me”, “Can He, Could He, Would He”, “Sinner Saved By Grace”, “Master Builder”, “Plan Of Salvation”, “For What Earthly Reason”, “God Himself The Lamb”, “I’ve Just Started Living”, “He Saw What I Could Be” and “In The Depths Of The Sea”.
- The best ’70′s era recording was the 1978 album Sunshine And Roses. The recording ranked #4 among the group’s ten best. Tremble, Payne, Webster and Younce was the vocal line up on this album that featured “When I See His Face”, “Streets Of Gold”, “Sunshine And Roses” and “Even Winds Whisper His Name”.
- The real gem in the Cathedrals discography is album that featured Glen Payne. The 1968 album Focus On Glen Payne is hard to track down these days but any serious Southern Gospel record collector should have this recording in their collection.
- The Cathedrals even hold the distinction of having that album that should be forgotten. The 1994 recording Raise The Roof – 30th Anniversary was a disappointment after having one of the best recordings of their career the year prior in High And Lifted Up.
- With an extensive recording career like that of the Cathedrals, there were several albums that didn’t make the top ten but deserve an honorable mention: Goin’ In Style (1988), Travelin’ Live (1986), With Strings (1965), Better Than Ever (1980), Colors Of His Love (1981).