Now that we are posting together, expect more of the collaborative ‘must buy or not’ album review features in 2013. This first ‘must buy or not’ feature of 2013 will be presented by Steve Eaton and David Bruce Murray.
Sisters had one of the top albums released in 2012 with An A Cappella Collection. They are continuing that trend with the release of Classics Collection in 2013.
Classics Collection builds on An A Cappella Collection by adding just piano instrumentation. By just having piano, it allows the vocals to be the focus of the entire album. A group with the vocal caliber of Sisters, the last thing a listener wants is to have those voices hidden behind over-produced tracks and instrumentation.
Song list: (1) “Holy Spirit Thou Art Welcome” - David Huntsinger, Dottie Rambo (2) Andrae Crouch Medley (“Through It All”, “The Blood Will Never Lose It’s Power”, ”My Tribute” “How Can I Say Thanks”, “To God Be The Glory”) - Andrae Crouch (3) “Just When I Need Him” - Reba Rambo (4) “Rise Again” - Dallas Holm (5) “O Happy Day/Oh Happy Day” – Phil Doddridge, Edward Francis Rimbaul, /Edwin Hawkins (6) “New Shoes” - Dottie Rambo (7) “This Is Just What Heaven Means To Me” - Jimmie Davis (8) “Majestic Medley” - Francis of Assisi, Michael W. Smith, Fanny Crosby (9) “Amazing Grace/Sweetest Song I Know” – John Newton, Albert E. Brumley (10) “Until He Comes” – Dottie Rambo
- The listener can clearly hear the Rambos influence on not only Sisters career, but the career of the Ruppes. The Ruppes’ first 1975 album was filled with Dottie Rambo compositions. Classics Collection opens with a Dottie Rambo number and closes with a Dottie Rambo song. Of all the Rambo covers, “Until He Comes” is a masterpiece.
- Speaking of the Ruppes, listeners are treated to a bit of a Ruppes reunion with mother Brenda Ruppe joining the girls on the classic “This Is Just What Heaven Means To Me”. Brenda takes the lead on the second verse and if you’re not careful you may have to let out a shout before the song is over. This song received several repeats before I could move on to the next song!
- Classics Collection hearkens the listener back to the 1970′s era of Southern Gospel music. The arrangement used on “Just When I Need Him” reminded me of something the Downings would have recorded during this particular decade.
- Kim’s vocal work on the Dallas Holm classic “Rise Again” makes it the best version of this song I’ve heard since the original.
- I hope Sisters is traveling with a piano player so the concert audience can get the full experience of them singing these songs with just piano accompaniment.
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- Featuring just the piano of Tim Parton with the vocals of Sisters is a dynamic combination.
- Hearing Brenda Ruppe singing with her daughters again is the obvious highlight of this CD. They couldn’t have picked a more perfect song to feature Brenda.
- I tend to gravitate to more up-tempo songs, so my favorite tracks are “O Happy Day” and “New Shoes.” Parton’s stacatto piano style on these tracks gives this CD a lift.
- They didn’t over-think the production. There are points where you can feel Parton’s piano push or pull back the tempo to give these songs a live feel. It’s a simple idea, but it’s the sort of thing that’s so rarely heard any more.
- The only song on the album that I could have done without is the “Majestic Medley”. I would have preferred Sisters do another ’70′s era classic like “It’s My Desire” or “Greater Is He That Is In Me”.
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- Sisters can get away with doing a CD that features slower arrangements 75% of the time, because they have such great harmony. Still, I would have enjoyed hearing another song or two in the vein of “O Happy Day,” “New Shoes,” “Sweetest Song I Know” and the second half of “Just When I Need Him”
- I was upset when it was over, but that’s not really a legitimate dislike. With just one musician to pay, I do think they could have gone ahead and included a couple more tracks. Public domain hymns would have been fine if the budget was an issue.
- YES – There are a handful of groups in Southern Gospel that make me sit in awe every time I hear them begin to sing. Sisters is one of those groups. 2013 is shaping up to be a great year for Southern Gospel album releases based on the first few I’ve already heard. Classics Collection is an easy choice in saying that it is absolutely a ‘must buy’ album!
DAVID BRUCE MURRAY
- YES – I didn’t mind at all that I’d heard every one of these songs before. When most groups release a classics collection, I typically listen to their arrangements and think “Well, here we go again.” That isn’t the case with Sisters. You may have heard all of these songs before, too, but you haven’t heard them like this.