Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  The comic genius of Wendy Bagwell and the vocal talents of ‘Little’ Jan Buckner and Jerri Morrison kept the group on the road for over forty years.  The group continued to travel right up until Wendy’s passing in June of 1996.  The interesting fact about all of this is the vocal line-up of Wendy Bagwell & Sunliters was the same for the group’s entire 35 year recording career.  I don’t of any other group in Southern Gospel music that can match that consistency.

*Video Credit (Bibletone Video)

*Video Credit (MusicScribeBlog)

Enter To Win: Friday Fun Giveaway

jdsumnerandthestamps1995letshavechurchmaxHappy Friday!  It has been two weeks since I went into the prize bag and gave away some free music.  Today I pulled out JD Sumner & Stamps 1995 Chapel Records album, Let’s Have Church.

The vocal line-up on this recording included Rick Strickland (tenor), Ed Enoch (lead), Ed Hill (baritone) and JD Sumner (bass).  The album includes one of JD Sumner’s signature songs during this era, “The Lord Still Lives In This Old House”.

Song list on Let’s Have Church:  (1) “Dig A Little Deeper In God’s Love”  (2) “The Lord Still Lives In This Old House”  (3) “Walkin & Talkin With My Lord”  (4) “Beyond The Cross”  (5) “I Just Steal Away And Pray”  (6) “Lord, I’m Ready To Go”  (7) “Don’t Get Down On Jesus”  (8) “Standing In The Safety Zone”  (9) “Church”  (10) “Some Day Soon”.

Remember all CD’s being given away are used (but I have been the only owner).  The first person to email me (swea215@yahoo.com) the correct answer to the following musical montage will win the week’s prize.  Ed Hill has had a long, storied career in Gospel music.  Listen to the five artists included in this week’s musical montage.  First, name all five artists and then tell me if Ed Hill was ever a member of that specific group.  The first person to guess correctly wins!

Ten On Ten (Redux) – Gold City

goldcity1994doitagainmaxThis week the ten on ten (redux) will re-visit Gold City. On September 5th, 2011 I presented the original ten on ten feature for Gold City highlighting the group’s ten best albums. Since that time, Gold City released Somebody’s Coming (2011) and Hymn Revival (2014), but neither changed the original top ten list.  This redux feature will now shine the spotlight on the three lowest ranking albums of the group’s career thus far.  First, the original list highlighting Gold City’s ten best recordings.

  1. Double Take, Live In Charleston South Carolina (1986)
  2. Pillars Of Faith (1992)
  3. Are You Ready (2000)
  4. Windows Of Home (1990)
  5. What A Great Lifestyle (1997)
  6. goldcity1998withintherockmaxAnswer The Call (1991)
  7. Walk The Talk (2003)
  8. Live (1982)
  9. Preparing The Way (1996)
  10. Standing In The Gap (1995)

The lowest ranked albums in Gold City’s discography are as follows:

  1. Lord Do It Again (1994)
  2. Heaven (2005)
  3. Within The Rock (1998)

***One disclaimer in ranking an artists best albums to come up with albums at the bottom of the list.  I do not include all the budget recordings an artist may have recorded during their career***

Signature Sound And Broadway

EHHS BroadwayI don’t keep up with new album release dates like I should, considering I do album reviews on the site.  There are certain artist albums that I anticipate like everyone else and those I keep in mind, the others just fall in my lap.

In watching Ernie Haase & Signature Sound on the Singing In The Sun webcast last evening I saw an excerpt promoting two new album releases on May 5, 2015.  I was already aware of the new Southern Gospel project, Happy People.

I was not aware of another album, The Inspiration Of Broadway.  This album is filled with Broadway show tune standards, mixed with some Southern Gospel standards done in Broadway show tune style.  The album includes Broadway legend J Mark McVey.

On their Singing In The Sun set last evening, Paul Harkey performed “Old Man River” from the album.  Let me start by saying that Christian music artists should never be constrained to recording Christian music only if they feel the need to branch out or provide other avenues of artistic expression.

My only question to the group would be are Ernie Haase & Signature Sound listeners going to enjoy a Broadway show tune album.  Or does the group really have such a broad appeal (fan base) that a Broadway show tune album will be a big seller for them?

After listening to snippets from the recording, I may actually give it a full listen upon release.  What about y’all?  You ready to hear a Southern Gospel quartet perform Broadway show tunes?  At least enough to purchase the recording when released.

*Video Credit (ErnieHaase)

Still: Booth Brothers

Booth Brothers StillGRADE:  B-

  • Album – Still
  • Artist – Booth Brothers
  • Label – Custom
  • Style – Progressive, Big Band, Easy Listening
  • Release Date – 12/30/14
  • Available For Digital Download? – No

SYNOPSIS:

In another, finally get around to, album review; this week I want to take a look at the Booth Brothers latest recording, Still.  This album released at the end of December 2014 with very little promotion/advertising.

The lack of online availability has also kept it away from a portion of the Southern Gospel listening audience.  This is actually the third album in a row released by the Booth Brothers they didn’t make available on the digital download sites.  Last year’s Isaiah 12:2 and Quartet Style (2013) were also released with very little promotion.

I don’t know if this a specific tactic the Booth Brothers are utilizing since they are no longer with a major record label but it doesn’t seem very wise from a marketing stand point.  The old term, out of sight-out of mind, applies in this case.  From a listener who only purchases music digitally nowadays, I can tell you I have listened to the Booth Brothers a lot less over the last two years because of the lack of availability to new music.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • The mellow country tune, “Dirt On My Hands” was the stand out track on Still.  Even with the addition of Paul Lancaster, the Booth Brothers harmony work is still at the top of its game.
  • That harmony work is also heard on the album’s opening track, “Faith Keeps Walking”.  This easy listening tune fits the Booth Brothers style perfectly.
  • The Booth Brothers give a shout out to the Couriers with the Phil Enloe penned, “I Am The Word”.  The production work/arrangement is right out the Couriers playbook.  Ronnie takes the lead on this big ballad.
  • Ronnie also shows his soulful side on the rollicking, “Down By The River”.  Gordon Mote recorded this song on his All Things New album with the help of Trace Adkins and the Gaither Vocal Band.  While Gordon’s was the better cut, the Booth Brothers still make the song fun and this is the only up-tempo song in a sea of slow to mid-tempo numbers.
  • I also enjoyed the big band treatment given to the Mosie Lister classic, “Happy Rhythm”.  As a listener, you are so used to hearing a bass singer take on this song, that this specific arrangement for a trio really sets it apart from all the quartet versions.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “Dirt On My Hands”, “I Am The Word”, “Faith Keeps Walking”, “Happy Rhythm”, “Still” and “Down By The River”.
CRITIQUE:
  • Since this album was never marketed to be a major release for the Booth Brothers, I guess you can’t fault them too much on the song covers.  Another cover of Cottrell/Moffitt’s “Jesus Saves” was not a home run.
  • Also, the Russ Taff era Imperials cover of “Whenever I Speak His Name” did not come close to matching the original cut of this song.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Jesus Saves” and “Whenever I Speak His Name”.

WRAP UP:

The Booth Brothers have dominated the Southern Gospel music market place for over a decade.  At this point in their career, they have nothing to prove in terms of album releases.  As a listener, I long for the days of albums like The Blind Man Saw It All (2005), The Booth Brothers (2003) and Harmony (2006).  Again, they have nothing to prove, I am just a listener after all.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “Faith Keeps Walking”/Ensemble – Jim Brady, Don Poythress, Tony Wood  2. “Happy Rhythm“/Ensemble – Mosie Lister  3. “Still”/Michael – Jim Brady, Barry Weeks, Tony Wood  4. “Dirt On My Hands”/Ensemble – Jim Brady, Woody Wright  5. “I Am The Word”/Ronnie – Phillip Enloe  6. “The Touch Of The Master’s Hand”/Paul – John Kramp, Myra Welch  7. “Whenever I Speak His Name”/Ensemble – Russ Taff, Victoria Taff  8. “Down By The River”/Ronnie – Alan Anderson, Mac McAnally  9. “Wildflower (Vicki’s Song)”/Michael – Rebecca Peck  10. “Jesus Saves”/Paul – Travis Cottrell, David Moffitt

Voting Rounds: Search For Southern Gospel’s Greatest Song – 2010’s

Today begins voting for the best songs representing the current decade of the 2010’s.  There were a total of 100 songs nominated to represent the 2010’s.  Here’s the first set of 50.  Rules are as follows:

  1. All readers of this blog can participate.
  2. Please vote in each poll.
  3. You get three choices in each poll.  Be sure to select three choices in each of the polls.
  4. The top five songs in each poll by vote tally will advance to round two.

2010’s – Poll 1

  1. “Adam’s Fall”
  2. “All Is Well”
  3. “Almost Home”
  4. “Ask Me Why”
  5. “Battle Stand”
  6. “What The Blood Is For”
  7. “When There’s No Hope, There Is Grace”
  8. “Where Amazing Happens”
  9. “Whosoever Will”
  10. “Why Can’t We”

2010’s – Poll 2

  1. “Blue Skies Coming”
  2. “Born To Climb”
  3. “Borrowed And Barely Used Tomb”
  4. “Broken World”
  5. “But For The Cross”
  6. “Up Above”
  7. “Voice In The Desert”
  8. “Waiting In The Water”
  9. “Way Past Ready”
  10. “We Will Stand Our Ground”

2010’s – Poll 3

  1. “Celebrate Me Home”
  2. “Christ Is Still The King”
  3. “Come And See”
  4. “Count Me In”
  5. “Didn’t I Walk On Water”
  6. “There Is A Way”
  7. “Unforgiven”
  8. Unredeemed
  9. “Unspoken Request”
  10. “Until The Storm Is Over”

2010’s – Poll 4

  1. Don’t Start Doubting Now
  2. “Empty Me Lord”
  3. “Excuse Me Are You Jesus”
  4. “Falling”
  5. “Finish Well”
  6. “Stubborn”
  7. “Take Him To The Place”
  8. “Tell The Mountain”
  9. “That’s Why”
  10. “The Part Where You Come In”

2010’s – Poll 5

  1. “For All He’s Done”
  2. “From My Rags To His Riches”
  3. “God Builds Churches With Broken People”
  4. “God’s Great”
  5. “Good News From Jerusalem”
  6. “Lift Up His Name”
  7. “Pray Anyway”
  8. “Say Amen”
  9. “Sing Me The Story”
  10. “Sometimes I Wonder”

Southern Gospel Tidbits

Sterban-rich-chele-350x350DID YOU KNOW?:  There was a family trio that had some success in the early ’90’s by the name of the Kindlers. They first hit the scene with the radio hit, “I Won’t Trade The Old Rugged Cross”. Laura (mother) was also a noted songwriter having penned several hits by other artists during this time period; “I’ll Go On For You” (Perrys) and “Walking Back Down” (Chandlers). Daughter Chele was the vibrant lead vocalist in the group and in a little six degrees of separation ended up having ties to Oak Ridge Boys bass singer, Richard Sterban. It just so happens Chele married Richard’s son, Rich to become Richard’s daughter in law.

*Video Credit (Terrill White)

Land Of The Lost….Songs

kingsmen1981naturally250Back in February I started a series, land of the lost songs. I took a look at Gold City and the song, “The Search Is Over”. The song was found on the 1987 recording Movin’ Up and overshadowed by the mega song, “Midnight Cry” and in my opinion forever lost to the Southern Gospel listening audience.

Today, I wanted to feature another ‘lost song'; this time by the Kingsmen. The group’s 1981 recording, Live…Naturally is considered one of the group’s best recordings. The sad truth is a novelty song, “Excuses”, became the biggest song from the album and was a major #1 hit during this era.

While there are many memorable Kingsmen songs found on this recording (see “Beautiful Home”, “I Made A Covenant With My Lord”, “I’d Rather Be An Old Time Christian”, “Love Lifted Me”, “Shake Hands With The Poor Boy” and “When My Feet Touch The Streets Of Gold”), there is one in particular that I feel was lost forever to today’s listening audience.

The Squire Parson’s penned, “Nearing The Shore” was always a favorite of mine while listening to this album as a kid. I actually preferred Wayne Maynard’s performance of “Nearing The Shore” than I did his more notable feature that would come a couple of years later, “Child, Child”.

*Video Credit (SG Classics)

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