Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  Southern Gospel artists had to be good at lip syncing in the 1980s.  There was a television program on during most of the decade, Sing Out America, hosted by Rusty Goodman, Kelly Nelon and Bill Traylor.  Many times artists simply lip synced to their latest recording since the program was recorded in a studio.

There is no more evidence of the fact than seeing Gold City lip sync to their 1986 live recording, Double Take Live.

Well Done: LeFevre Quartet

GRADE:  B

  • Album:  Well Done
  • Artist:  LeFevre Quartet
  • Label:  Custom
  • Style:  Traditional, Progressive
  • Release Date:  07/14/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  35 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the new album from the LeFevre Quartet, Well Done.

Mike brought the quartet to the Southern Gospel scene in 2005 with the release of their debut album, Legacy.  The LeFevere tradition in Gospel Music dates back nearly 100 years.

The 2017 vocal line-up of the LeFevre Quartet is Jeremy Peace (tenor), Jordan LeFevre (lead), Mike LeFevre (baritone) and Keith Plott (bass).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • It is good to see Keith Plott back singing quartet music.  He is allowed to show off a bit on Well Done.  He has the lead on the album’s opening song, “I’m Gonna Be Movin”.  A nice traditional Southern Gospel quartet number.
  • Keith also has a stand out performance on the Southern Gospel classic, “Thanks To Calvary”.
  • There is some strong up-tempo songs on Well Done.  One of the strongest features Jordan, “Victory Side”.  This would be a strong contender for radio single possibilities.
  • A newer song that has been recorded a couple of times in the last few years, “How Great The Debt”, features Mike.  He still proves why he’s one of the best baritone vocalists in the history of the genre.
  • Jeremy’s strongest performance comes with a song he recorded when he was a member of the Old Paths, “Out Of The Grave”.
  • Can’t leave the review without also mentioning Jeremy’s other feature, the title track; “Well Done”.  A traditional Southern Gospel ballad that would also be a strong radio single contender.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “I’m Gonna Be Movin”, “Victory Side”, “How Great The Debt”, “Out Of The Grave”, “Well Done”, “Thanks To Calvary” and “Somebody Left The Door Open”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The LeFevre Quartet fall into the trap of recording songs that have been recorded too many times to count.  Listeners are given another cover of “I’m Too Near Home”.
  • Also, in regards to song covers, their version of the Joel Hemphill classic, “Ready To Leave” is not their strongest performance on the recording.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Let The Church Arise” and “I’m Too Near Home”.

WRAP UP:

The LeFevre Quartet is consistent with the quartet music they’ve been providing listeners the last several albums.  They provide a nice mix of traditional and progressive Southern Gospel sounds.  Well Done is one Southern Gospel quartet fans will enjoy.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “I’m Gonna Be Movin”/Keith – Bobby Butts, Robert J Butts  2. “Well Done“/Jeremy – Jason Cox, Marty Funderburk  3. “Ready To Leave“/Ensemble; Jordan  – Joel Hemphill  4. “When God Says Live”/Ensemble; Keith – Debora Bailey, Annie McCutcheon, Daryl Williams  5. “Let The Church Arise”/Ensemble – Lee Black, Joseph Habedank, Tony Wood  6. “How Great The Debt”/Mike – Rebecca Peck, Dianne Wilkinson  7. “Somebody Left The Door Open”/Mike – Daryl Williams  8. “Out Of The Grave”/Jeremy – Rebecca Peck  9. “Victory Side”/Jordan – John Darin Rowsey  10. “Thanks To Calvary”/Keith – Gloria Gaither, William Gaither  11. “I’m Too Near Home”/Ensemble – Charles Wycuff

Song Hall Of Fame: “God On The Mountain”

Hall of Fame (350x202)It is time for me 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 1973, but wouldn’t become known in Southern Gospel music until 1988.  “God On The Mountain” will forever be associated with the McKameys.  The song was found on the group’s live recording Gone To Meetin’ (1988).

The song is one of the most well-known Southern Gospel songs having been recorded over 200 times.  Outside of the songwriter, the earliest recording of the song I am aware of is by the Song Masters on their 1976 album, Behold The Lamb.

“God On The Mountain” was penned by Tracy Dartt.  Enjoy this video clip of the author performing his masterpiece.

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  Gerald Sweatman is a noted Southern Gospel songwriter.  One of his most known compositions is probably “Gonna Ride The Glory Cloud”, made popular by the Dixie Melody Boys.

Did you know that in the 1980’s Gerald Sweatman was a member of the Liberty Quartet, out of Georgia.  Gerald is also the father of former Mark Trammell Quartet member Dustin Sweatman.

Top Ten Back Then

Today we go in to the vault and look back 40 years at a top ten back then selection from August 1977.

One of the most popular groups during this era was the Happy Goodman Family.  They clicked off top ten hit after top ten hit during the 1970s.

Landing at #6 on the Southern Gospel radio singles chart in August 1977 was “Wait’ll You See My Brand New Home”.  The song was penned by songwriting legend and group member, Rusty Goodman.

I was always partial to Teddy Huffam and the Gems version from their 1977 recording, That All May Be One.

Other Memorable Moments from August 1977:

  • Radio Shack announced the TRS-80 computer.  Within weeks, thousands were ordered.
  • President Jimmy Carter established the department of energy.
  • The United States and Panama signed the Panama canal zone accord.
  • David Berkowitz was arrested in New York, accused of being the “Son Of Sam” killer.
  • Nolan Ryan strikes out 300 batters for 5th straight year.

The One In The Water: Inspirations

GRADE:  C+

  • Album:  The One In The Water
  • Artist:  Inspirations
  • Label:  Horizon
  • Style:  Traditional, Appalachian
  • Release Date:  07/14/17
  • Digital Download:  Yes (Apple Music)
  • Running Time:  29 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the latest album from the Inspirations, The One In The Water.

The transition of Martin Cook exiting and Archie Watkins returning has taken place with this newest album.  The One In The Water is a return to classic Inspiration sounds from the 1970s.

The 2017 vocal line-up of the Inspirations is Archie Watkins (tenor), Matt Dibler (lead), Eddie Deitz (baritone) and Marlin Shubert (bass).

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Long time bass singer, Marlin Shubert is allowed to show off on the stand out track, “I Shall Not Be Moved”.  This traditional Southern Gospel quartet standard is classic Inspirations at its finest.
  • The classic sounds of Archie Watkins is a winner with the title track and first single from the album, “The One In The Water”.
  • Roland is featured on a strong up-tempo song, “When Jesus Turns My Prison Into My Shouting Ground”.  This may go down as the longest song title of the year.
  • Speaking of classics, the Inspirations turn in a nice cover of the Jimmy Jones song, “I Want To Be Like My Lord”.
  • I don’t want to leave the review without mentioning Eddie Deitz performance of “I Know Him”.  A strong cover of this Singing Echoes original.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “I Shall Not Be Moved”, “The One In The Water”, “When Jesus Turns My Prison Into My Shouting Ground”, “I Want To Be Like My Lord”, “I Know Him” and “I Am So Blessed”.
CRITIQUE:
  • The last half of the album is hands down weaker than the first half of the album.
  • The album closes with a song that has the untrue meme that you can no longer say Merry Christmas.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Jesus They’re Offended At Your Name” and “We Are Christians”.

WRAP UP:

Long time Inspirations fans will enjoy this return to classic sounds.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “The One In The Water”/Archie – Kyla Rowland  2. “I Want To Be Like My Lord“/Ensemble – Jimmy Jones  3. “I Know Him“/Eddie  – Gary Epperson  4. “When Jesus Turns My Prison Into My Shouting Ground”/Matt – Leonard Fletcher  5. “I Shall Not Be Moved”/Ensemble; Marlin – Traditional  6. “Teaching Me To Fly”/Archie – Karen Dyess  7. “I Am So Blessed”/Matt – Matthew Browder, Tommy Browder  8. “We Are Christians”/Archie – Tracy Jones  9. “Thank God For Preachers”/Eddie – Larry Whitehead  10. “Jesus They’re Offended At Your Name”/Matt – James M Jones