Southern Gospel Views from the Back Row (Steve Eaton) and Musicscribe (David Bruce Murray) join forces once again to present the ‘must buy or not’ feature. Highlights and dislikes will be offered along with a definitive yes or no on whether the album is a ‘must buy’.
In this edition of the ‘must buy or not’ feature, we take a look at the new album from the Inspirations. It’s In The Savior’s Hands hit retail on 06/12/12. The Inspirations kept to their familiar brand of quartet music on this new effort. Just three studio musicians were employed to create the music tracks. It’s a sound Inspiration fans will be familiar with, but is it enough to garner any new listeners to the Inspirations music?
Song list: (1) “I’ll Never Sail Alone” – Daryl Williams (2) “Look What I’m Trading For A Mansion” – Beverly Chitwood/Paul Chitwood (3) “He Looked Beyond My Faults” – Dottie Rambo (4) “In The Twinkle Of An Eye” – Sandy Knight (5) “He’ll Hold My Hand” – Henry Donahue (6) “It Won’t Be Long” – Charles Vaughn (7) “It’s In The Savior’s Hands” – Squire Parsons (8) “Lord, Stir The Wind” – Sandy Knight (9) “So Simple, So Profound” – Sandy Knight (10) “It’s Shoutin’ Time In Heaven” – Luther G. Presley
Six of these songs were recorded by the Inspirations on previous albums. Can you pick out all of the remakes?
- Jon Epley: Baritone vocalist Epley shines on this recording. His two features are the strongest songs on It’s In the Savior’s Hands. You can hear a little Mark Lanier (baritone great of Perfect Heart fame) in Epley’s tones on the title track. This song, which is the first single is the best song on this recording. Great Squire Parsons lyric. The other Epley feature is “Look What I’m Trading For A Mansion”.
- A listener of Inspirations music would expect to hear a couple of songs that allow Mike Holcomb to get some bass singing done. Holcomb does some great bass singing on “In The Twinkle Of An Eye” and “It Won’t Be Long”.
- The Inspirations/Sandy Knight combo continues with It’s In The Savior’s Hands. Sandy penned three songs on this new effort; the strongest being the Jodi Hosterman feature “So Simple, So Profound”.
- I can remember a time not too many years ago when I avoided most of the songs on an Inspirations CD that didn’t feature Mike Holcomb. Now I can enjoy each singer individually as well as collectively.
- Dotte Rambo’s “He Looked Beyond My Faults” is a well-worn standard, but it’s the sort of classic song I love to hear Jodi Hosterman sing.
- Speaking of Hosterman, “So Simple, So Profound” lives up to its title.
- I also enjoyed the group’s collective harmonies on “I’ll Never Sail Alone,” Jon Epley’s feature on “It’s In The Savior’s Hands” and David Ragan’s feature on “Lord Stir The Wind.”
- Worn out song covers: the covers featured on It’s In The Savior’s Hands don’t offer anything different from the countless other versions out there. They include “He Looked Beyond My Faults”, “He’ll Hold My Hand” and “It’s Shoutin’ Time In Heaven”.
- Lack of variation: Inspiration fans expect that familiar sound that has been the group’s trademark since the 1970’s, but a few songs with some variation would be a welcome change. Especially with the vocal talent the Inspirations possess, it is a shame we don’t get a few modern arrangements every now and again.
- The only song that really makes me want to hit skip is “It’s Shoutin’ Time In Heaven.”
- I agree with Steve’s point regarding variety. “I Choose The Lord” took the Inspirations outside of their familiar territory on 2011’s God Makes No Mistakes. It’s too bad there’s no song that really does that on “It’s In The Savior’s Hands.”
- NO – 2012 is shaping up to be the year of the good recording. Great recordings are hard to find thus far this year. This is another instance where at least half the recording is really strong (and listeners need to hear it) and the other half not so much. So, for that reason I can’t quite give it a yes on the ‘must buy’ meter.
- YES – The Inspirations have never sounded better. The four new songs are great, especially “So Simple, So Profound,” and the remakes wisely avoid the major signature songs of previous members of the Inspirations. I don’t typically buy CDs with this many covers, but I’d make an exception in this case.