My first CD review this year goes to my favorite CD of 2016. It caught my attention after hearing a few songs off of it. When I got the CD, I was not disappointed. I ordered a copy for a friend right away and, thankfully, he shared my sentiments. It was five years in the making for The Hoppers but definitely worth the wait.
I believe Jesus, the One was their first radio single. This was the only song I wasn’t really wild about when I first heard it but it’s grown on me.
Life is Good is my new pick-me-up when I’m having a rough day.
Connie sings the lead on Grace Will Get to You. No matter what you’ve done, God’s grace will find you.
“If He asks you to walk a mile with him, Walk Two. If He asks you to lend an ear to Him, listen the whole night through.” The world is full of people who will grudgingly do the bare minimum. God needs people willing to wholeheartedly go above and beyond the call of “duty.”
I love their arrangement of Brethren We Have Met to Worship. It will make you want to “have church.”
Another song I really like is If We Ever Gotta Look. I saw them do this in concert and loved it immediately. “If we ever gotta look at what’s waiting up there, we wouldn’t want to stay down here.”
The tempo slows down as Claude sings an old Rusty Goodman song: Until You’ve Known the Love of God.
Song of Moses is a song of hope. “All your battles, He won at Calvary. Shout the message of Moses’ song.” If you know the story of Moses, you will recall the stories of victory, hope when all seemed hopeless.
I’ve enjoyed seeing Dean & Kim’s daughter Karlye on stage with her family this year. She sings the lead on My Ransom.
The tempo picks back up for By and By.
Before the Sun Goes Down is the perfect ending for a thought-provoking CD. “Before I reach the end of day, I’ve got to know I’ve walked Your way.” A song to ponder as you listen carefully to the words.
The Kingdom Heirs have released a new Christmas CD. Although many of the songs will be familiar to all, they are sung with the Kingdom Heirs’ sound and style.
Beginning with Jesus is Born Today and Glory to God in the Highest, the tempo slows down for Mary, Did You Know.
New songs to me are Singing to the King, Christmas Cookies, and The Christmas Wish.
Other songs included are Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas; The King of Eternity; Jesus, Oh What a Wonderful Child; and an instrumental version of Santa Claus is Coming to Town.
Master’s Voice is a southern gospel group based in Bristow, OK. In listening to their sound, I’ve been trying to think of who they remind me of. Maybe the old Journeymen Quartet or Old Paths.
I won’t go into detail on each song but will make special mention of the songs I especially like on this project:
How Long a Lifetime Is was written by Joseph Habedank and Rachel McCutcheon. “Never take today for granted. … Hold each loved one tightly and treat each moment as a gift. You never know how long a lifetime is.”
Here I Am Again: I’m so thankful I can go back to God each time I fail and, in His mercy, He extends forgiveness yet again.
Somebody is Me is an upbeat song that will bring a smile to your face and cause you to praise the Lord wherever you are.
Other songs include I Can Hardly Wait to Fly, Goodbye to Goodbye, Lord of Mercy, I Know What He Did for Me, This Same Jesus, Things God Doesn’t Know, Send Somebody, Ain’t it Good, and Everything the Blood Touches Lives.
If you attended the National Quartet Convention last year or saw the live stream, you are aware that Greater Vision released a new CD entitled, As We Speak. It became humorous, but it was worth the mention. In thinking back over the Greater Vision CDs I own, I believe this is my favorite since Faces. I rated it low because, in many ways, it is pretty typical of Greater Vision recordings, but there are some more uptempo songs and a couple songs I especially like, which is what makes it one of my faves.
The CD begins with the group’s recent hit, Put Out the Fire
We Can’t Tell It All has a typical GV sound. No matter how many songs we sing, it is impossible to fully describe our Lord.
Toes in the Water asks if we are fully surrendered or just getting our toes wet (my paraphrase).
He Does reminds us that Jesus sees and cares and understands.
Will I be a faithful example if the Lord has me follow In the Sandals of Daniel to the lion’s den? This is a toe-tapper but one that you need to pause to ponder.
I am really glad that they brought back Labreeska Hemphill’s song, Let the Blood of Calvary Speak for Me. “May it write me down as righteous where no righteousness has been, shielding me from wrath and judgment as it covers all my sins.” Lord, let it be so!
Never Will I Ever Again is a fun, fast song. I love it!
The tempo slows down as Rodney Griffin sings I Do Know. I may not know the future, but I do know what the next life will bring.
It’s encouraging to know that everyone is Saved By the Same Grace. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, rich or poor. God’s grace is sufficient for all!
The CD ends with the title track: As We Speak. This is another of my favorites on the CD. Gerald Wolfe does a great job communicating the message. I feel God’s presence every time I hear this song.
The latest CD from 11th Hour is my introduction to them. My first impression is that they are an average group, but I know sometimes it makes a difference when one sees them in concert.
This CD begins by reminding us that we need that “sea walking, Mountain Moving Faith.”
Look at Me Now is a couple stories of people who were changed after they met Jesus.
The tempo slows down for Love Still Holds Our Scars.
You may have been Bound for destruction and hell but, if you know Jesus, you are now Bound for Heaven. Praise the Lord!
He Welcomes the Beggar talks about the beggar Lazarus and then talks to modern-day “beggars” who are looking for hope.
Aren’t you glad that He’s Alive and So Am I?
My favorite song on the CD is When God Shows Up. Written by Dianne Wilkinson, Kenna West, and Lee Black, you will feel God show up as you worship Him.
Can You Burn asks if you can stand through the fire when persecution comes. Can you burn with the zeal you used to have? This is something we must all ask ourselves.
There Ain’t No Bones in the grave where Jesus laid. He’s alive!
Another song I really like is I Trust. Trust is an area I pray to keep growing in.
The Bowling Family is comprised of Mike and Kelly Bowling and their daughter Hope. This is my first time to listen to a full CD of theirs, but what a blessing it is. I give it 5 stars because of the quality of the songs. There is not a “dud” on this recording. Songs of faith, hope, and the resurrection fill this CD, leaving you encouraged and ready to face another day.
Mike sings the uptempo, Praise God, He is Alive.
Hope sings about One Moment of Faith.
I Was There is the Heavenly Father reminding you that He was there during everything you have gone through … and He will continue to be.
Mourning to Dancing is another toe-tapping song of hope.
In the next song, Mike tells us again I Believe He’s Alive.
The tempo slows way down for a song Mike and Kelly Bowling wrote with Marcia Henry Bloodworth: Even When You’re Asking Why. “You will never get to walk this road by sight. Only faith will lead you through the night. But God loves you and He’s with you, even when you’re asking why.”
Some of you will know the old song, I’ve Got My Foot on the Rock. I hadn’t heard this one in quite a while.
God is Always Good reminds us of that truth that many seem to lose sight of. No matter what you are going through, it does not change the fact that God is still good.
If you’re still not convinced, the next song puts it another way: God Likes Working in the Midnight Hour.
Kelly sings Our First Hallelujah There, a song that ushers you into the presence of Heaven as you picture your first moments there.
It’s with mixed emotions that I write this review. The Old Paths announced that they will disband at year’s end. I can’t say this is my favorite CD of the year but I am grateful to have it and wish Jeremy Peace, Doug Roark, Daniel Ashmore, Tim Rackley, and Josh Townsend well in their future endeavors.
The CD begins with Have You Ever, a song with a bit of an old sound.
My favorite song on this CD is You Never Cease to Amaze Me. That’s how I feel about God’s grace. Jeremy Peace delivers this song well.
The theme of What Did They Call Him has been overdone but it’s an uptempo song that is probably good in concert.
“I Just Can’t Get Over my sins being over since I have been under the blood.” That pretty much sums it up.
Bass Daniel Ashmore sings Washed in the Blood, which concludes with a tenor ending.
How Great the Debt is one of three songs written by Rebecca Peck and Dianne Wilkinson. This is another song I really like.
Ordinary People has a good message and is harmonized well.
Stay is a reminder that Jesus is not gone forever. He will return.
Larry Petree wrote the toe-tapping Oh What a Happy Morning.
Out of the Grave rejoices in Christ’s resurrection.
Billy Blackwood is keeping classic quartet music alive with his current lineup of The Blackwood Brothers.
You Can Find What I Found is a neat-sounding song with the tenor leading and the rest echoing. It changes tempo on the chorus.
Dianne Wilkinson wrote the toe-tapping, I’ll Fly Away Home. A great quartet song.
The tempo slows down as Wayne Little sings Forever Forgiven.
Walkin’ and Talkin’ is an old J.D. Sumner that the Blackwood Brothers brought back for this recording.
Long Gone is a mediocre, uptempo song.
Heaven Will Be Mine Someday has somewhat of a ’50s or ’60s feel.
When I Cross to the Other Side of Jordan is an old song written by Ed O’Neal.
“I will give my all for Him who gave His all for me for I Know in Whom I Have Believed.” Amen!
Butch Owens sings the uptempo Oh, No You Don’t.
The CD ends with the classic Dear Jesus, Abide With Me.
Friday night, I had the blessing of seeing the Kingsmen once again. I was surprised at how many of the songs they sang were off of their new CD since I typically expect to hear a fair number of old favorites. I was not disappointed, however. This CD has some great songs as well.
This is the second time I have seen this particular group in concert, and I am impressed with both Bob Sellers and Chris Jenkins. They are doing a great job. People talk about the Kingsmen’s heyday in the 1980s but I’ve never liked the Kingsmen as much as I have in the last ten or so years. This group is no exception.
The concert began with Beautiful City, an uptempo song about Heaven.
Then they sang one of their old songs, Meet Me at the Table.
Come and Dine is taken from the story where Jesus cooked fish for the disciples and fed them when they had been fishing all day but caught nothing. The second verse talks about arriving Heaven and being invited to come and dine at the Banquet Table.
Scripture says that God orders the steps of the righteous. I’ve Never Seen the Righteous Forsaken reminds us that God is in control no matter what you are going through. God will supply your every need.
Randy Crawford introduced the group and then they sang I Know, which talks about the joy of knowing you’re saved. It is possible to know.
A Kingsmen concert would not be complete without including their classic, Glory Road.
They included a summary of their old hit Excuses and then Randy Crawford sang a song he wrote, Here I Stand Amazed.
Oh Yes I Am is the current #1 song across America. This was the first I’d heard it but I love it. Uptempo, this song is an encouraging message about going Home. Chris Jenkins puts energy into this song.
After a brief intermission, they came back to sing the title track from their new CD, Battle Cry. This is a great song. There is a time to rest but there is a time to answer the battle cry.
Faith is self-explanatory. Great harmony to some encouraging lyrics.
Ray Reese sang Healing Stream and then they sang another old song, When My Feet Touch the Streets of Gold.
Cross of Grace is a powerful song about the cross.
They did a great a cappella arrangement of There is a Fountain Filled With Blood and ended with the chorus of their very popular song from the 1980s, Stand Up.
Songs not sung in concert:
Daryl Williams and Scott Inman wrote the toe-tapping quartet song, He Took Away My Burden.
It Should Have Rained is an interesting song about the Crucifixion.
In some ways, it’s probably not fair to review collection CDs since one would expect them to be great projects but I think there is still validity to letting you know which CDs are being released and which songs were included, as well as a bit about the songs for people who are new to the genre. I will say that this collection CD, featuring many of Jonathan Wilburn’s most popular songs when he was with Gold City, is one of my favorites that I’ve received this year.
He Said is one of my favorite songs on this project. I heard the studio version years ago but this live version, recorded when Jonathan was with Gold City, brings the whole song to life in my opinion.
My least favorite arrangement on this project is I’m Not Giving Up. After hearing the original version, the background singers don’t do it justice.
There Rose a Lamb is a song originally sung by Ivan Parker when he was with Gold City. It has stood the test of time, however, and Jonathan pours his heart into it as well.
He Lives needs no explanation.
The late Doug Riley wrote He Lifted My Burdens Away. This was a new song to me but it’s uptempo and encouraging.
Tim Riley introduces When He Touched Me. This is another song I hadn’t heard before but it is a great song of testimony.
“We can’t have church until the Holy Ghost shows up … When the Holy Ghost Shows Up (We’ll Have Church).” Can I hear an Amen?
Keep Me on the Wheel is a great song about surrender.
The Lamb Upon the Throne is a song of worship.
It’s Been Worth it All is a song all Christians can sing along with.
I’ve liked I Believe since it first came out. I’m really glad Jonathan included it on this project.
No “Best of Gold City” recording would be complete without the timeless classic, Midnight Cry.
The CD concludes with a live version of When He Calls (I’ll Fly Away).