‘Live’ music at Southern Gospel concerts; is it just a thing of the past? Lets hope not. In this week’s ‘I Played In The Band’ feature is a video clip of the Bishops.
The Bishops burst on to the Southern Gospel scene in the mid 1980′s. By the early 1990′s, they were one of the top groups in Southern Gospel music. In the early years of their career, the Bishops traveled with a full band, as most groups of that era did.
Here is a YouTube clip of the Bishops performing a song written by group member Kenny Bishop titled “I’m Gonna Move”. This clip came from the group’s 1988 album Live At Fayetteville Community Church. This clip represents the ‘high energy’ era of Southern Gospel music I referenced in the McKameys most influential post a few weeks back.
Some may call this theatrics, pure emotionalism or simply a mechanism to whip the crowd in to a frenzy. I can’t speak to the group’s intent, but what I can say is, I was coming in to my teenage years during this ‘high energy’ era and I loved attending concerts during this time period in Southern Gospel music. Maybe more so than any other time period I have attended concerts, including current. Enjoy!
Here is the 7th set of album covers to rank. In the comments be sure to rank from 1 to 6 (1 being best, 6 being worst). If you haven’t ranked prior rounds, I have created a category for best/worst album cover. Be sure to go and participate in the other sets if you haven’t already. Click on thumbnail for larger image.
Reach The Word – Bishops (1997)
The Stranger Of Galilee – Blackwood Brothers Quartet (1959)
The Bishops are highlighted this week in the ten on ten feature. Coming to prominence in the mid 1980′s, the Bishops had a string of successful songs and albums through the late 1990′s. The group also won the first two trio awards at the Singing News fan awards in 1997 and 1998.
Starting with an almost bluegrass style to their music, the Bishops was a true Southern Gospel trio by the time they put a wrap on their career. With just over twenty recordings in their discography, this week’s ten on ten will narrow down the ten best. Here goes.
The Bishops top ten albums are as follows:
Live At Fayetteville Community Church (1988)
You Can’t Ask Too Much Of My God (1996)
Chapter X Live (1994)
More Than My Voice (1993)
Reach The World (1997)
Once In A Lifetime (1991)
Marching On (1989)
Class Of ’90 (1990)
Can’t Stop Now (1986)
Let’s Celebrate Jesus (1999)
Great Things (2000)
The MorningStar Records years were the best for the Bishops. Seven of the top ten recordings in the group’s discography were part of the MorningStar Records family.
The pinnacle in the Bishops discography is their 1988 recording Live At Fayetteville Community Church. This recording captured that bluegrass style and melded it greatly with Southern Gospel sounds. This recording is one that is still gets rotation in my iPod. With songs such as “Run And Not Be Weary”, “An Ordinary Man”, “Welcome Home” and one of the best live songs ever captured on recording, “I’m Gonna Move”.
One of the Bishops greatest songs is also the title of the album that ranks #2 among the group’s ten best. You Can’t Ask Too Much Of My God sparked a #1 hit in the title track and gave the listener several other hits in “When Jesus Is All That I Have” and “He Will Never Forsake You”.
The commemorative Chapter X Live recording from 1994 ranks #3 for the Bishops. This 10th anniversary recording is tough to beat. ”He’s My Hiding Place”, “God Has Provided A Lamb”, “That’s All He Needs To Know” and a big live production of the group’s first big hit “Lazarus Come Forth” highlight this album. This is the kind of album every Southern Gospel collector should have as part of their collection.
The eclectic feel of the 1997 recording Reach The World lands the album at #5 among the group’s ten best. Mark Bishop turned in some great songwriting on this particular album.
The Bishops were known for what they called ‘front porch singing’. I remember the whole ‘swing and sing’ story Kenny would tell in concert before doing a couple a cappella numbers. This allowed the group to show off their harmonies. One of the most famous ‘front porch singing’ songs was “Blind Bartimaeus”.
The list of Bishop hits over the years, in addition to those already listed, include “God’s Amazing Grace”, “Oh God, I Love You”, “Battle Scarred Soldier”, “I’ll Live Again”, “I Need You More Today”, “For Every Cross There Is A Crown”, “He’s In The Midst”, “He’s Living Again”, “Lord I Need Your Touch”, “That Sounds Like Someone I’d Like To Know”, “He Said It All” and “When You Change Your Mind”.
The gem in the group’s discography is their 1993 recording More Than My Voice. Ranked #4 among the group’s ten best, this is one of the hardest recordings to find among today’s collectors of Bishops music.
The album that should be forgotten is the Bishops 1995 recording Seems Like Only Yesterday. Sandwiched between two landmark albums (Chapter X Live and You Can’t Ask Too Much Of My God), it would easy for this album to get lost.
Now that is has been over ten years since the group’s departure, it would be nice to get a reunion album out of Mark, Kenny and Kenneth and re-recordings of the group’s biggest songs.
Let’s get back to the music. The retro spotlight feature this week shines on the year 1996. There was plenty of great Southern Gospel music released 15 years ago. Here is a sample.
The Bishops were riding high during this time period. The release of You Can’t Ask Too Much Of My God gave the group another #1 hit with the title track. ”It Takes The Blood” is the clip provided here.
No year would be complete without mentioning the music of the Cathedrals. The group’s 1996 release, Radio Days, was a collection of classic Southern Gospel standards. Listen to the group turn in a fine performance of the classic, “Hard Trials Will Soon Be Over”.
As the Dixie Melody Boys celebrate 50 years in Southern Gospel music, taking a look back at the group’s 1996 recording Old Time Religion and a clip of the song “A Mansion Being Built”. The song features bass singer Ed O’Neal.
Charles Johnson & Revivers found success in Southern Gospel music during the period of about 1986 to 1997. The group performed on all the major concert stages at this time and also had radio success. Charles released a Hymns album in 1996 that featured one new song; “Holy City, New Jerusalem”.
Tony Gore & Majesty were also among Southern Gospel’s top trios during this time period. Bursting on the scene in 1994, the group continued until the early 2000′s. The group released a live recording in 1996 titled All Access Live! This would probably go on to be the group’s biggest recording and it also contained the group’s biggest song; “Meanwhile In The Garden”.
The Martins released what I consider to be one of the best albums of 1996, Wherever You Are. With hit songs such as “Only God Knows” and “Grace”, the Martins were at the top of their game. I have provided a clip of the song “Fly Away With You”.
Karen Peck & New River were still traveling with their band during this time period and easily one of the best groups in the live concert setting. Right On Time was the group’s album release that year and featured is the song “Glory To Glory”.
Closing out part 1 of our look at 1996 is Paid In Full. This group was just hitting the scene 15 years ago with the release of their debut album A New Start. While this recording was a collection of all previously released music, it still allowed the listener a glimpse of what this group could do. Listen to a nice arrangement of the song “The Land Of Living”.
In this classic video edition we find the Bishops singing their break through 1989 hit song “Lazarus Come Forth”. This 1991 clip is from the Gospel Jubilee television program recorded at Opryland USA. I know there have been several requests for Cathedrals and Gold City. All of the classic clips I have of both artists are already all over YouTube. If I can find something unique by either artist I will post, I promise.
As I was looking at new things to present in 2011, this retro idea came to mind after talking with an individual. The individual mentioned that they would like me to present my Southern Gospel music collection. After thinking about it, I thought the best way to share it with everyone is present periodic posts by spotlighting a specific year and provide some music clips from albums released in that year. So my first retro spotlight shines the light on the year 1986. While I can’t present music from every album I own released in that year I did pull out a few from my collection.
The Bishops were just starting to make a mark in Southern Gospel music. They had two recordings prior to 1986, but in 1986 the group released the album, Can’t Stop Now. The song clip included was one of the first songs I remember hearing on the radio from this group, “Battle Scarred Soldier”.
The Cathedrals were riding high during this time period after several successful recordings leading up to 1986. Along with Master Builder, The Cathedrals also released Travelin’ Live in 1986. The clip I chose from this recording was “Homeland.”
The Freemans were recording for Calvary Records at this time period, the same label for the Hinsons. “Always” became the first top 5 song for the Freemans off of the recording Solid. The clip I chose was one of my favorite songs from the group during this time period, “God Is Still On The Throne.”
One of my all time favorite Gold City recordings was Double Take, Live In Charleston South Carolina. The album released in 1986 and featured a song that would go on to be a Gold City classic, “When I Get Carried Away.” The song clip I chose from the recording is “Loose Him And Let Him Go.”
Every five or so years there is that male trio that makes a name for themselves (Bishops, Greater Vision, Booth Brothers). During this time period it was Heaven Bound. Revived was the album released for the group in 1986. The song clip featured is “Sweet Is Thy Spirit”.
As a kid in the ’80s, my favorite group to see in concert was the Kingsmen. 1986 saw the release of Stand Up At Opryland USA. The Kingsmen were masters of the live recording during this time period. “Stand Up”, which was a re-write of a country song was a huge concert song. I featured “I Sing Because” as the clip. Listen for a young Arthur Rice take the lead on this tune.
It was around this time frame that I first became introduced to the music of the McGruders. Before being picked up by Sonlite Records, the McGruders had an album out in 1986 titled I’ve Got To Praise Jesus. This recording featured several songs written by Carroll McGruder that would go on to be huge hits for other groups, “I Lean On You Lord” and “Thanks”. The clip I featured was the title cut, “I’ve Got To Praise Jesus.”
One of the biggest songs to come out of albums released in 1986 would probably be the Talleys, “Triumphantly The Church Will Rise.” Found on their recording, United, this song became an anthem for the group and it was a show stopper when presented live.
Let me know what you think. Is there a specific year you would like me to highlight in a future retro spotlight? You can let me know in the comments.
This week’s smack down brings the song, “I Need You More Today”. Originally recorded by the Bishops on their 1990 recording, Class of ’90, “I Need You More Today” became a top 10 hit for the group. The song featured Kenny Bishop on both verses. This medium tempo song was a good ‘kick-off’ song for the album. The Bishops will take the first verse and chorus.
Jeff & Sheri Easter decided to cover this song on their current recording, Expecting Good Things. As is the case with most song covers in Southern Gospel music, the arrangement stays fairly true to the original, even though Jeff & Sheri added their country sound to the overall feel of the song. Morgan is featured on both verses of “I Need You More Today”. It looks as though Jeff & Sheri’s rendition of the song will also become a top 10 hit. It is rare that you get a song that will hit the top 10 twice in a span of 20 years. Jeff & Sheri Easter will take the 2nd verse and chorus.
“I Need You More Today”. Original vs. Cover. Who wins this week?