Best Of 2017: #17/#18

REASON FOR RANKING:  There has not been a time since doing these annual countdowns that a new Gaither Vocal Band album has not been regarded as one of the year’s 20 best.  We Have This Moment had enough strong moments to counter the weaker ones and find a home in the annual countdown.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “Hallelujah Band”; (2) “Livin’ In The Rhythm Of Grace”; (3) “Manna From Heaven”; (4) “Man Of Sorrows”; (5) “We Are The Sands, We Are The Stars”.

REASON FOR RANKINGTower Of Song was anchored by one of the strongest songs in the Freeman’s recording career, “It Still Takes The Blood”.  The album is filled with some strong traditional country moments.

FIVE BEST SONGS FROM THE ALBUM:  (1) “It Still Takes The Blood”; (2) “When He Loves Me Most”; (3) “Wide River To Cross”; (4) “God Of The Storm”; (5) “One Foot On The Water”.

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VOTE: Best Of 2017: Single/Song Cover/Songwriter

What were the top songs in Southern Gospel music for 2017?  Today, starts the voting for best single, song cover and songwriter.

You get one vote per day.  Poll closes 12/01/17.  Click the link on each nominee to see an audio/video of the nominees.

Tower Of Song: Freemans

GRADE:  B

  • Album:  Tower Of Song
  • Artist:  Freemans
  • Label:  Custom
  • Style:  Country
  • Release Date:  08/11/17
  • Digital Download:  No
  • Running Time:  39 Minutes

SYNOPSIS:

This week we take a look at the latest album from the Freemans, Tower Of Song.

The Freemans are about to celebrate 35 years in Southern Gospel music.  In that 35 years this family has been consistent in the country gospel style they’ve provided listeners.  That influence coming not only from Darrell’s family group, the Pathways but also Chris’ time spent with the Hinsons, in the 1970’s.

Tower Of Song is representative of that country gospel style.

HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Darrell’s traditional country vocal could fit in with country legends Merle Haggard and Waylon Jennings.  “Wide River To Cross” is the best representation of this classic country sound.
  • One of the best radio singles of the entire year is “It Still Takes The Blood”.  Also one of the best songs of the Freemans recording career!
  • Long time member and keyboardist, Joe Freeman is featured on one of the best songs on Tower Of Song; “When He Loves Me Most”.  The song was originally recorded on the group’s 2001 recording, Highway.
  • Darrell provides his traditional country vocal on another stand out, “God Of The Storm”.  This mid-tempo song would make a strong choice for radio single.
  • The album closes on a fun note with the up-tempo “Send An Angel By My Way (King Jesus)”.  The song was penned by Darrell and Joe’s uncle.  This song is perfect for the concert stage.
  • Can’t leave a Freemans review without mentioning Chris.  Her best feature on Tower Of Song is the mid-tempo, “One Foot On The Water”.
  • Dony McGuire and Michael Sykes helped Darrell on producing duties.
  • Strongest songs included in order:  “It Still Takes The Blood”, “When He Loves Me Most”, “Wide River To Cross”, “God Of The Storm”, “Send An Angel By My Way (King Jesus)”, “One Foot On The Water” and “God Put A Rainbow In The Clouds”.
CRITIQUE:
  • “Chain Breaker” is the 2017 song to be recorded by multiple artists.  Why?  While a good song, I don’t believe it is of the caliber that every group should jump on the bandwagon to get their own version out.
  • I know she just released a solo EP, but I thought listeners would at least be treated with one Misty Freeman feature.  Not so.
  • Weakest songs included in order:  “Chain Breaker” and “Tears Will Never Stain The Streets Of That City”.

WRAP UP:

Tower Of Song is traditional country sounds at its best.  If you like that mixed with your Southern Gospel listening, you’ll want to find yourself a copy of Tower Of Song.

SONG/Featured Vocalist – Songwriter:  1. “It Still Takes The Blood”/Ensemble; Chris – Gerald Crabb  2. “God Of The Storm“/Darrell – Reba Rambo McGuire, Tery Wilkins  3. “Chain Breaker“/Darrell – Mia Fieldes, Jonathan Smith, Zach Williams  4. “One Foot On The Water”/Chris – Chip Davis, Dony McGuire, Reba Rambo McGuire  5. “When He Loves Me Most”/Joe – Wayne Carson, Rodney Lay Jr, Mike Richards  6. “She Sang The Fire Out Of It”/Chris – Jerry Salley, Kenna West  7. “Wide River To Cross”/Darrell – Buddy Miller, Julie Anne Miller  8. “God Put A Rainbow In The Clouds”/Darrell; Ensemble – Larry Petree  9. “Back To God”/Caylon – Dallas Davidson, Randy Houser  10. “Tears Will Never Stain The Streets Of That City”/Chris – Dottie Rambo  11. “Send An Angel By My Way (King Jesus)”/Ensemble – Joe Freeman

The Southern Gospel Notebook: August 1991

Happy Tuesday.  It is time to take a look at another page from my Southern Gospel notebook.  As a kid, into my teen years, I wrote down my twenty favorite songs every month.

I started this in July 1982 and continued until December 1994.  Today’s post took my notebook entry from August 1991.  These were my twenty favorite songs.  Enjoy!

**Music is on the sidebar as a playlist**

The Southern Gospel Notebook: July 1984

Before I left for vacation, I posted about several notebooks I found while cleaning the garage.  As a kid, into my teen years, I wrote down my twenty favorite songs every month.

I started this in July 1982 and continued until December 1994.  The response was overwhelming to my first post and therefore it will continue.

Today’s post took my notebook entry from July 1984.  These were my twenty favorite songs.  Enjoy!

**Music is on the sidebar as a playlist**

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  The Freemans were birthed out of the family of group member Darrell Freeman.  Darrell’s parents and siblings traveled as the Pathways during the 1970s.

After Darrell married Chris, she left the Hinsons and traveled with the Pathways for a couple of years before the group decided to change their name to the Freemans.  The first Freemans album (1983) included Darrell’s parents and brother.

Southern Gospel Tidbits

DID YOU KNOW?:  With the 2017 Academy awards tomorrow, I thought I would look at past best picture winners and see if there was a Southern Gospel song to match the title.  I found six:

“Wings” (1927):  Southern Gospel song by Ivan Parker

“Gone With The Wind” (1940):  Song by the Freemans

“All The King’s Men” (1950): Song by CrossWay

“Ordinary People” (1981): Song by Old Paths

“Silence Of The Lambs” (1992): Song by the Martins

“Unforgiven” (1993): Song by Crabb Revival