Another reader request gives us this week’s ten on ten feature. The Freemans began touring in 1983 after Darrell’s family group the Pathways changed its name to Freemans. Darrell, Chris, Darrell’s parents and brother were in the group when it transitioned to the Freemans.
It wasn’t long until it was Darrell, Chris and Chris’ sister Diane as a trio. Darrell’s cousin Joe Freeman would soon join as pianist and the rest is history. Chris Freeman (Hawkins) was known for her nearly six years spent with the Hinsons in the 1970′s. The Freemans early sound resembled that classic Hinson sound.
The Freemans top ten albums are as follows:
- Have Arrived Live (1988)
- Standing Out (1997)
- Once Was Enough (1992)
- Eyes On The Prize (2007)
- Solid (1986)
- Highway (2001)
- Going Back (1991)
- Renaissance (1996)
- A Way With Words (1999)
- Evidence (2010)
- The Freemans have recorded several live recordings during their career, but it was the 1988 live recording Have Arrived Live that stands out above the rest. Not only is this the #1 album in the Freemans discography but is also one of my all time favorite live recordings in Southern Gospel music.
- “Land Of The Living”, “Number One Love”, “Have You Heard”, “God Is Still On The Throne” and “Little David” all highlight this album.
- The Freemans had success with the several years they spent with Daywind Records in the late ’90′s. Three efforts recorded with Daywind landed in the top ten. The highest of those is the 1997 recording Standing Out. ”I’ll Fly”, “When We Pray”, “Standing Out”, “In A Whirlwind”, “He’d Still Been God” and “What A Way To Spend Forever” send this album over the top.
- The early 1990′s was probably the strongest era for the Freemans. The group picked up their first #1 song in 1991 and released two strong albums during this era. The 1992 recording Once Was Enough was one of the strongest recordings in terms of song selection. It ranks #3 among the group’s ten best. One of the Freemans all time greatest songs “Once Was Enough” kicks off this recording. The listener also gets “King Of The Hill”, “Deep Well”, “Shamed By A Rock”, “Burdens Are Lifted Away” and “Find Me Faithful”.
- The other early ’90′s era recording to land in the top ten is the 1991 effort Going Back. The title track is the song that gave the Freemans their first #1 song in Southern Gospel music. This song introduced the group to a much larger listening audience and still remains the group’s biggest song.
- The group’s sound has shifted to more of a traditional country sound over the course of the last several years. That is evidenced by the group’s last two recordings. The 2007 recording Eyes On The Prize started this trend and ranks #4 among the group’s ten best. Another #1 hit for the group, “He Chose Me” is found on this album. The listener will also find “Three Rugged Crosses”, “Cast In The Sea”, “I Need A Drink” and “The Grace I Remember”.
- The Freeman’s most recent effort, the 2010 album Evidence, ranks #10. Two recent top ten songs for the group, “The Father And The Son” and “I Know My Way” are included on this particular album.
- The gem in the group’s discography is their 1986 album Solid. One of the first songs I remember hearing on the radio by the Freemans was “Always”. That along with “On The Other Side Of Life”, “What’s That I Hear”, “Heavenly Places”, “Much Needed Touch” and “Pearly Gate” are all found on Solid.
- On the other end of the spectrum, the album that should be forgotten from the Freemans discography is their 1994 audio/video recording Victory Live. I was actually in attendance during the recording of this video, but it contained songs that had already been recorded by the group on other albums.
- The Freemans continue today as a family unit consisting of Darrell, Chris, Joe, Misty and Caylon. The group is nearing their 30th anniversary in Southern Gospel music. Hear is wishing the group another thirty.