You know the drill. Rank the following set of album covers from best to worst in the comments section (1 being best, 6 being worst). Also, if you didn’t get a chance, go back and rank set 11. Click on thumbnail for larger image.
I have been cleaning out my music collection recently as I began selling off many duplicate copies of LPs/CDs, etc. I came across one group and couldn’t believe that in the two years I have had this blog I haven’t featured any of their music. The Orrells were a trio, based out of Detroit MI, composed of famed songwriter Gordon Jensen, Larry Orrell and Wayne Hilton. In the late 1960′s, the group transitioned to a trio from the Orrell Quartet.
The trio recorded several albums on the Heart Warming label before becoming Gordon Jensen & Sunrise in the mid 1970′s. It was the Orrells that introduced many of Gordon’s biggest songs. ”Redemption Draweth Nigh”, “Tears Are A Language (God Understands)” and the song being included in this smack down feature this week; “The Coming Of The Lord”.
The Orrells recorded “The Coming Of The Lord” on a 1970 recording titled Gospel Music Is The Thing. Listen to the Orrells take the first half of the song.
The Oak Ridge Boys had a nice version of this song on both their International and Performance albums from 1971, but the version I want to use in the smack down feature this week is a more recent version recorded by Paid In Full.
I wanted to put a trio arrangement up against another trio arrangement. Paid In Full recorded “The Coming Of The Lord” on their 2005 recording Lovin’ Out Loud. This is when Jeff Crews was still singing tenor with the group.
Paid In Full will take the second half of the song. The arrangements do vary in tempo. Which trio takes the smack down this week?
This week I went in to the personal vault and pulled out one of the best Southern Gospel albums you’ve never heard. So far, I have featured recordings from the 1980′s that influenced me as a kid. This week I wanted to find a fairly recent recording that is one of my all time favorite recordings.
The 2002 recording Every Day Is A Testimony by Paid In Full is the featured personal vault recording this week. Even though this trio won Horizon Group at the Singing News Fan Awards several years ago, they still haven’t attained that ‘top tier’ status. This group has all the vocal talent to compete with the industry’s top all male trios, but the Southern Gospel listening audience doesn’t seem to take notice.
With Every Day Is A Testimony being a recent recording it is available via digital download sites. Listen to sound bites of this recording by Paid In Full. Enjoy!
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”.
Ila Knight’s composition, “The First Look”, was first recorded by the Inspirations on their 1974 album When I Wake Up To Sleep No More. While the title cut of that album went on to become a Southern Gospel classic, the song in this week’s smack down was popular during the era of this recording but faded over the years.
As you can hear from the first verse and chorus of this song, the Inspirations style has not changed over the years. That is what endears them to their many fans. The Inspirations version is a mid tempo tune. The Inspirations will take the first verse and chorus.
It was a young trio out of Mississippi that decided to cover this song. Paid In Full recorded “The First Look” on their 2002 recording Every Day Is A Testimony. Paid In Full took a different approach to the song by slowing the tempo down. Tenor Jeff Crews was featured on the verses to Paid In Full’s version. Paid In Full will take the second verse and chorus.
Who gets your first look? The original version or the newer version?
Why do certain artists never achieve that ‘elite group’ status? What is the formula for an artist becoming a household name among the Southern Gospel fan base? One can always answer hard work, persistence, staying faithful in the lean times, but what is that one thing the Southern Gospel fan/listener/audience is looking for?
When I was thinking about this post, one artist immediately came to mind; Paid In Full. This Southern Gospel trio from Mississippi have been at it now for over 15 years. Even after appearing on Gaither Homecoming videos and winning the Singing News Fan Award for Horizon Group, I would venture to say that most of you reading this post still don’t know of this group or their music.
Why is that? If we were simply basing ‘top tier’ status on talent, this group has more than enough. Lance Moore is one of the best vocalists in Southern Gospel music. It reminds me of the old saying, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound?”
So I am opening this up to you, the Southern Gospel fan/listener/audience. I want to know what causes you to take notice and begin supporting/listening to/buying music from new artists within the genre. What is that one thing you look for? And, why hasn’t that translated to talented artists like Paid In Full? I mentioned them but there are more that would fall in this category. And, I don’t want to hear in the comments the groups simply aren’t good enough. That is a cop-out excuse especially when the talent is already there.