Last week, the Rebels Quartet was given the dubious honor of having the worst Southern Gospel album cover for their 1961 album What Then. This week will allow you to vote on the album you consider the best Southern Gospel album cover. These were the eight highest ranked covers. I have provided thumbnails (click for larger image).
Driven – Crabb Family (2004)
A Tribute To Mosie Lister – Dove Brothers Quartet (2004)
Places To Go, People To See – Hoskins Family (2003)
Pure Vintage – Inspirations (2001)
London – Legacy Five (2003)
I Love To Tell The Story – Mark Lowry (2007)
Simplicity Too – Old Paths (2011)
Here We Are Again – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (2012)
The first half of the best of 2012 countdown caps off today with the album and recorded song sitting at #11.
The Crabb Family reunited to record an album titled Together Again. Released in February, Together Again brought all the elements Crabb Family listeners would expect from a Crabb Family album. Modern country sounds mixed with progressive Southern Gospel overtones.
While Together Again is not the best album in the Crabb Family discography, it was a strong enough recording to be considered one of the best Southern Gospel album releases of 2012; landing at #11.
Personal favorites from this recording include: ”If There Ever Was A Time”, “Come Home”, “God Has A Plan”, “Life Meets Grace”, “Say A Prayer” and “This Is You And Me”.
The recorded song to find a home at #11 among the best of 2012 is the first of two to land in the countdown from the Talleys.
The Talleys released their album, Love Won, back in May. This was the first Talleys recording to feature Brian Alvey. Not only did Brian lend his vocal work, but he also lent his songwriting talent to Love Won.
It was Alvey’s composition, “Make Way For The Master” that ranks #11 among the best Southern Gospel recorded songs of 2012. A song that has the feel of one of the Talley’s biggest songs, “The Healer” and features Brian on the lead. Listen to a clip of “Make Way For The Master”.
Today we look at the Southern Gospel album and recorded song ranked #17 among the best of 2012. Soul’d Out Quartet picked up Bryan Hutson from the Kingsmen and released a new album back in February.
That album, What The World Doesn’t Know, was strong enough to rank #17 among the best Southern Gospel albums released this year. The album’s strength was in the ballads recorded by the group. The strongest of those was “Worthy The Lamb Is He”.
Soul’d Out Quartet is still in search of that mega-song to propel them further in Southern Gospel music. With resident songwriter Matt Rankin churning out songs and the vocal line-up the group has now, that song may be just around the corner.
Personal favorites from this recording include: ”Worthy The Lamb Is He”, “He Is There”, “Thank You Lord”, “Since I’ve Been Saved” and “If You’ll Just Ask Him”.
#17 among the best Southern Gospel recorded songs of 2012 is a song that also is one of the best radio songs of the year.
The Crabb Family came together again and released a new album in February. The first single, “If There Ever Was A Time”, is the song that ranks #17 among the best recorded songs of 2012.
Penned by Caleb Collins and Sue Smith, “If There Ever Was A Time” is a reflective song that features each member of the group at some point in the song. This is one of the strongest vocal songs the Crabb Family has recorded and yet there is nothing fancy to the performance. Enjoy a clip of the #17 recorded song of the year; “If There Ever Was A Time”.
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)
Can you believe it is already May 2012? To kick off another month I want to take a look at five current radio songs that have grabbed my attention over the course of the last month. This month finds the return of the Crabb Family to radio, another #1 hit for Triumphant Quartet, one of the strongest radio singles for the Down East Boys, the Martins and the Bowling Family. The Bowling Family song wins points for that crying steel guitar intro. Enjoy!
One of the most anticipated album releases of the new year hits retail on February 7th. The Crabb Family returned to the studio to record a new album, their first album of new music since 2007.
Together Again showcases the group’s country-style while adding a little light pop flair.
“If There Ever Was A Time” (Caleb Collins/Sue Smith) is so far from what one would expect from the Crabb Family but it is probably the strongest track on the entire recording. Musically, it is easy listening, in the style of Harry Connick or Michael Buble. An outstanding vocal performance by the group and this happens to be the first single from the album.
Another modern country/pop (think Lady Antebellum) style tune “Come Home” (Ronnie Freeman/Stephanie Lewis) is also a stand out song. This song is a bit too progressive to ever land at Southern Gospel radio. What a shame.
Kudos to Jason Crabb on doing a fine job as producer and arranger of Together Again.
“Back To The Front Porch” (Jason Crabb/Sonya Isaacs/Jimmy Yeary) and “You Can’t Do That Anymore” (Tony Martin/Neil Thrasher) are strong enough to find a home at mainstream country radio.
Strongest songs included in order: ”If There Ever Was A Time”, “Come Home”, “God Has A Plan” (Gerald Crabb/Don Poythress), “I Love You This Much” (Austin Cunningham/Neil Thrasher) and “Back To The Front Porch”.
“No Problems” (Ben Hayslip/Jimmy Yeary) has a nice country melody but the lyric makes light of the fact that individuals do experience things in their life that sometimes are too tough to handle on their own.
While Together Again far exceeds their Letting Go album, it still doesn’t match their biggest recordings.
Weakest songs included in order: ”No Problems” and “You Can’t Do That Anymore”.
SONG LIST: 1. “Back To The Front Porch” (7.5) 2. “God Has A Plan” (8) 3. “You Can’t Do That Anymore” (7) 4. “This Is You And Me” (7.5) 5. “If There Ever Was A Time” (8.5) 6. “Come Home” (8.5) 7. “No Problems” (7) 8. “I Love You This Much” (7.5) 9. “Life Meets Grace” (7.5) 10. “Say A Prayer” (7.5)
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:
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***