Southern Gospel’s Best Songs: Happy Goodmans

Last year I started a new series that highlights the ten best songs an artist recorded during their career.  We’ve seen lists for the Steeles, Anchormen, Downings, Down East Boys and Dixie Echoes.  Today, I wanted to look at the best songs recorded by the Happy Goodmans.

1.”Had It Not Been” (Rusty Goodman; Portrait Of Excitement, 1968)

2. “What A Beautiful Day” (Eddie Crook/Aaron Wilburn; Happy Goodman Family Hour, 1974)

3. “He Pilots My Ship” (Ronny Hinson; Leave Your Sorrows And Come Along, 1972)

4. “This Is What Heaven Means To Me” (Michael Summer; This Happy House, 1969)

5. “I Believe He’s Coming Back” (Rusty Goodman; Refreshing, 1978)

6. “When Morning Sweeps The Eastern Sky” (Oren Parris; Good N Happy, 1967)

7. “Who Am I” (Rusty Goodman; What A Happy Time, 1966)

8. “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now” (Jimmie Davis/Rusty Goodman; The Best Of, 1964)

9. “How Much More” (Rusty Goodman; The Legendary Goodmans, 1973)

10. “I’m Too Near Home” (Charles Wycuff; I’m Too Near Home, 1963)

Joshua 24:15: Jordan Family Band

GRADE:  B

  • Album:  Joshua 24:15
  • Artist:  Jordan Family Band
  • Label:  Skyland Records
  • Style:  Progressive, Modern Country
  • Release Date:  03/10/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  44 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the new album from the Jordan Family Band, Joshua 24:15.  I was introduced to the Jordan Family Band’s music with their 2015 release, Better Days.

The family is composed of father Joshua Jordan (acoustic/bass guitar, harmony vocals), mother Randa Jordan (piano, alto/lead vocals), Hutch Jordan (banjo/drums/lead guitar, harmony vocals), Alex Jordan (mandolin, tenor/lead vocals) and Grant Jordan (harmony vocals).  The boys are aged 17 (Hutch), 12 (Alex) and 10 (Grant) respectively.

I am always impressed with family bands who have live music in the concert setting.  The Jordan Family Band’s style is mainly traditional/modern country with some progressive Southern Gospel overtones.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Jeremy Medkiff took producing duties for Joshua 24:15.  The production value of the recording is stronger than the group’s first.  You can here his touches all over the album.
  • The latest single from the album, “Our Time To Shine”, is the strongest song on the recording.  It also kicks off the album.  I wish we got more of this type sound on the rest of the album.  It really showcases the family’s country harmony/sound.
  • Eldest son, Hutch Jordan rarely takes a lead when performing with the family.  He shines on the Phil Cross/Joshua Jordan co-write, “Remember The Ember”.  A reflective song for the listener.
  • Randa Jordan is the central vocal point to the group’s sound.  One of her best is the feature on “My God Is Faithful”.  This has some Appalachian sounds that would sound right at home with the McKameys.
  • I’m not surprised the record label chose “The Day” as the first single from the recording.  It is the most Southern Gospel friendly song on the album; following the progressive Southern Gospel mold.
  • Father, Joshua Jordan, wrote/co-wrote every song on Joshua 24:15.  He also has a great traditional country vocal which is no more evident than on the song, “Better Than I Used To Be”.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Our Time To Shine”, “Remember The Ember”, “My God Is Faithful”, “Better Than I Used To Be”, “Heart Healer”, “The Day” and “I’ve Got You Covered”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The biggest problem with modern country sounds is lack of musical variety.  The arrangements tend to sound so similar it is hard to distinguish between songs.
  • As you notice above, I will start listing running time of all albums I review.  44 minutes for an eleven song recording brings about listening fatigue.  Have songwriters stopped writing good up-tempo songs to help pace an album better?
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “How Much The More” and “Joshua 24:15”.

WRAP UP:

The Jordan Family Band are two albums into their recording career and I enjoy what I’m hearing from this family.  Following in the family band tradition/style of groups like Jeff & Sheri Easter should allow them a lengthy career.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Our Time To Shine”/Randa – Joshua Jordan  2. “I’ve Got You Covered“/Randa – Joshua Jordan  3. “Better Than I Used To Be“/Joshua – Joshua Jordan  4. “The Day”/Randa – Joshua Jordan  5. “It’s A Big Big World (But I’ve Got A Big Big God)”/Alex; Grant – Phil Cross, Joshua Jordan  6. “My God Is Faithful”/Randa – Joshua Jordan  7. “I Miss Them All”/Joshua – Joshua Jordan  8. “How Much The More“/Randa – Joshua Jordan  9. “Joshua 24:15″/Alex – Joshua Jordan  10. “Remember The Ember”/Hutch – Phil Cross, Joshua Jordan  11. “Heart Healer”/Randa – Joshua Jordan, Randa Jordan, Jeremy Medkiff

2017 Song Of The Year??

I’m back!  One week ago Singing News announced the top ten list for the 2017 edition of the fan awards.  The only category I follow each year is song of the year.

This year’s nominees included:

  1. “Calling” – Karen Peck & New River (#1)
  2. “He Does” – Greater Vision (#3)
  3. “I Love You This Much” – Whisnants (#3)
  4. “If We Ever Gotta Look” – Hoppers (#7)**
  5. “It’s What He’s Done” – Wilburn & Wilburn (#1)**
  6. “Living In The Promised Land” – Triumphant Qt (#3)
  7. “My Father’s House” – Nelons (#7)**
  8. “Never Forsaken” – Tribute Qt (#1)**
  9. “Somebody’s Miracle” – Brian Free & Assurance (#4)
  10. “Still” – Legacy Five (#4)**

As is the case every year, Daywind Records dominated the song category claiming 8 of the 10 nominees.  Above I highlighted the peak spots on the chart as of the announcement.  The ** signifies the five songs deserving of making it to the final round.

Two songs deserving of a top ten spot were, “Home” by Jason Crabb and “He Welcomes The Beggar” by 11th Hour.  What songs did you feel were overlooked this year?

Buzz Worthy 2017: “Never Gonna Give Up On You”

buzzworthyThis week’s buzz worthy clip comes from the Dunaways.  I decided to go back to their acclaimed 2014 album, Church In The Kitchen.

The fifth single from the album, “Never Gonna Give Up On You”, is a powerful message in song, featuring Tammy Dunaway.  This album is one every Southern Gospel listener should have in their collection.  I would easily rank it as one of the ten best albums released over the last five years.

“Never Gonna Give Up On You” was penned by Julie Anne Miller.

Resurrection: Joseph Habedank

GRADE:  B+

  • Album – Resurrection
  • Artist – Joseph Habedank
  • Label – Daywind
  • Style – Progressive
  • Release Date – 03/10/17
  • Available For Digital Download? – Yes (Apple Music)

SYNOPSIS:

Joseph Habedank is working on four years since becoming a solo recording/touring artist.  His years spent with the Perrys built a nice fan base for his solo career.

2017 marks the fourth album released from Joseph Habedank on the Daywind Records label.  Resurrection is the first album of new music from Habedank since 2014 (Welcome Home).

This newest effort is 100% progressive Southern Gospel music.  Habedank also contributed to all ten songs found on Resurrection.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Joseph Habedank has a depth to his voice that is rarely seen among Southern Gospel solo artists.  His power and the brightness in his vocals capture your attention from the first note.
  • Right out of the gate, “Here He Comes” sets the tone for the entire album.  A nice mid to up tempo song that Daywind chose as the first single.  The nearly one minute theatrical musical score felt out-of-place at the beginning.
  • To counter, I thought the ‘James Bond-esque’ musical score to open “Jailbreak” was awesome.  It also highlights one of the best songs on the entire album.
  • The most Southern Gospel friendly song on Resurrection is the up-tempo, crowd pleaser, “Devil Can’t Dance”.  I was not surprised to see Jimmy Yeary as co-writer of this particular number.
  • The big theatrical score should have been at the beginning of the album’s final song, “Long Live The King”.  It fits the song better than “Here He Comes”.  This is also a strong choice for radio single possibilities.
  • A nice retrospective ballad, “I Love You (From An Old Rugged Cross)” is a song that should not be overlooked.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Jailbreak”, “Here He Comes”, “Long Live The King”, “Devil Can’t Dance”, “I Love You (From An Old Rugged Cross)”, “Dead Things” and “I Believe In The Resurrection”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The only thing that may have added to the appeal of Resurrection is doing a vocal collaboration on a song or two.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Say The Name”.

WRAP UP:

There is no doubt Resurrection by Joseph Habedank will be among the best Southern Gospel albums released in 2017.  In fact, it is one of the best Southern Gospel albums by a solo artist I’ve heard in quite a while.

SONG (Style – All Songs Classify as Progressive Southern Gospel) – Songwriter:  1. “Here He Comes” – Chris Cron, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  2. “Jailbreak” – Gerald Crabb, Joseph Habedank  3. “Just When You Thought” – Michael Farren, Joseph Habedank, Wayne Haun  4. “I Believe In The Resurrection” – Lee Black, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  5. “Middle Man” – Lee Black, Joseph Habedank, Megan Sorrelle Mulnix  6. “Devil Can’t Dance” – Joseph Habedank, Jimmy Yeary  7. “I Love You (From An Old Rugged Cross)” – Joseph Habedank, Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey  8. “Dead Things” – Benji Cowart, Joseph Habedank, Kenna West  9. “Say The Name” – Michael Farren, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  10. “Long Live The King” – Joseph Habedank, Krissy Nordhoff, Tony Wood

Song Hall Of Fame: “It Sure Sounds Like Angels To Me”

Hall of Fame (350x202)Happy Monday!  It is time to honor another of Southern Gospel’s greatest compositions by placing it into the Southern Gospel song hall of fame.

Today’s inductee goes back to 1984; “It Sure Sounds Like Angels To Me”.  It is the first song to land in the song hall of fame from both the Greenes, who recorded the song and Jean Canter, the songwriter..

The song was found on the group’s 1984 album, Greenhouse.  It was also the first top five radio hit from the Greenes.

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  2017 marks thirty years since the release of the Martins first recording.  Joyce, Jonathan and Judy released, On The Rise in 1987.

A decade later, the Martins had become one of the biggest Southern Gospel trios to ever be a part of the Southern Gospel music industry.

Thirty years after that first album release, the Martins are still doing selected touring dates performing their biggest career hit songs.