Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row (Steve Eaton) and Musicscribe (David Bruce Murray) join forces once again to present the ‘must buy or not’ feature. Highlights and dislikes will be offered along with a definitive yes or no on whether the album is a ‘must buy’.
In this edition of the ‘must buy or not’ feature, we consider the new album by the Talleys (formerly the Talley Trio). This is the first recording to feature the new vocal configuration with Brian Alvey added to the mix with Roger, Debra and Lauren. Love Won landed at retail on Tuesday (05/15/12). The Talleys have built a progressive Southern Gospel sound over the last 15 years that continues with Love Won.
Song list: (1) “We Want To Thank You” – Brian Alvey (2) “Love Won” – Belinda Cox, Jason Cox, Kenna Turner West (3) “Make Way For The Master” – Brian Alvey (4) “Broken World” – Bev Herrema, Sean Smith, Terry Wilkins (5) “Every Scar” – Lee Black, Gina Boe, Jerry Salley (6) “Talk To The Lord About It” – Rebecca Peck, Kenna Turner West (7) “Up Above” – Rebecca Peck (8) “Surely” – Daryl Williams (9) “Great Love He Gave” – Paula Stefanovich (10) “The Church Will Overcome” – Dianne Wilkinson (11) “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” – Stuart Townend (12) “That’s Why I Love Him So” – Brian Alvey, Gary Casto (13) “Love Covers All” – Marty Funderburk, John Lemonis, Kenna Turner West
- While Love Won starts on a reflective note, the power block of songs #2, #3 and #4 highlight the best of the recording. “Love Won”, “Make Way For The Master” and “Broken World” would all make great single choices.
- “Make Way For The Master” has the feel of one of the Talley’s biggest songs; “The Healer”. “Broken World” seems to be a follow-up to another of the Talley’s biggest songs, “The Broken Ones”. Both have the potential to be #1 songs for the group.
- The vocal blend created with Brian Alvey, Lauren Alvey and Debra Talley create some special moments on Love Won. “Up Above” showcases this blend with Brian and Lauren while “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us” showcases the three of them.
- The one up tempo bright spot on Love Won is the traditional/spiritual gospel feel of “The Church Will Overcome”. This song will translate well in the live setting. The Talleys cut of “That’s Why I Love Him So” sounds different from the original cut by Tribute Quartet that I had to do a double take to make sure it was the same song.
- The Talleys’ vocals sound better than before with the addition of Brian Alvey. Of course, they weren’t shabby before, but it’s clear that the blend is improved.
- Alvey absolutely nails his solo on “Make Way For The Master.”
- I like the two-part Bach invention snippet on piano at the beginning of “Love Won.”
- “Broken World” is a great song, and so is “Every Scar.” In both cases, it’s the lyric that makes the song great.
- “Surely” could add to Lauren Talley’s string of up-tempo hits if the label chooses to send it out as a single. The thick 4-part harmony at the bridge is an unexpected bonus.
- Debra Talley’s vocals + a Paula Stefanovich lyric = CLASSY!
- Brian Alvey lets his soul flag fly on “The Church Will Overcome.”
- I was anticipating the four-part mixed group sound this new version of the Talleys was going to create but at the end of the day it is still only a trio vocal recording. Roger Talley’s vocal presence on this recording is only really felt when he takes the lead on a song. The rest of time it is the trio of Lauren, Debra and Brian holding down the vocals/harmony.
- Another cut of “How Deep The Father’s Love For Us”. While there are some great harmony moments on this song, this song has been overdone in the Southern Gospel market over the last several years.
- The lack of up tempo numbers. It seems the majority of albums I have listened to/reviewed in 2012 is relying heavily on slower to mid tempo numbers than creating a nice pace with a mixture of up tempo/mid tempo/slower songs. For this listener, that kind of pacing begins to wear on you to the point of losing interest/focus. A few more up tempo numbers please.
- No dislikes from me. I enjoyed the entire CD. Like Steve, I do think “How Great The Father’s Love” has been overdone lately. I can’t dislike this version, though, because it’s the best version of the song I’ve heard. The Talleys layered some cool vocal “ooos” over an epic, cinematic score. If I were producing, I’d have swapped Lauren and Roger for the solo features on “Broken World” and “Every Scar,” but again, that’s not really a dislike. I enjoyed both songs in their current form due to the quality of the songwriting.
- YES – While there are only three up tempo numbers on a thirteen song collection, Love Won has some really strong moments for me to say it is a ‘must buy’. If this was a ten song collection of the best songs on Love Won, it would have been the best album I have listened to/reviewed so far in 2012.
- YES – This CD is a must buy for two reasons. First, the songwriting is absolutely top notch. It’s so consistently good that this collection would be well received even if the singers were somewhat less skilled than the Talleys. Second, the addition of Brian Alvey gives the Talleys their best sound ever. Love Won features him enough to show both his vocal range and the range of styles he can sing comfortably, but Alvey’s most significant contribution is the quality of tone he adds to the harmony parts.