3:1 Review: Treasures (Mark Trammell Quartet)

Treasures (Mark Trammell Quartet)3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

1. Bloodwashed Band: This song has long stood in the shadow of its big brother from Travelin’ Live, “Boundless Love.” Honestly, had “Boundless Love” not been on Travelin’ Live, this song could have gone to #1 instead. It’s about time someone brought it back, and this rendition is strong enough to bring it back in a big way.

2. Wedding Music: Thanks to this videoTreasures would have not been complete without this song. The studio version of bass singer Pat Barker’s solo does not disappoint.

3. Mark Trammell’s decision to hire Pat Barker: Treasures wouldn’t have been half as good if it was cut by the Mark Trammell Trio. These songs needed a bass voice—not just any bass voice, the right bass voice. Hiring Pat was one of the smartest decisions Mark Trammell has made in his career.

:1. One thing I would change: Solos for Dustin and Joel: Granted, this is a tribute to “Pop” and “The Old Man” (who, oddly enough, aren’t named anywhere in the packaging), not the Cathedrals (who also aren’t named anywhere in the packaging!) Yet, even within the constraints of this mission and these twelve songs, Dustin could have nailed a verse of “That Day at Calvary,” and Joel could stepped up for a verse of “Then I Met the Master.”

Traditional or Progressive

Not merely traditional—delightfully traditional!

Song Selection Creativity Meter: 46%

In place of radio single picks and an album rating, table projects featured in a 3:1 review are measured by a different metric—what percent of the songs on the album are pulled from outside of the 200 Most Frequently Recorded Southern Gospel songs. For an album intended as a tribute to a specific group, that’s perhaps not the most fair metric, though, so we’ll toss in a bonus

SouthernGospelBlog.com Album Rating

Average song rating: 4.7 stars. Album Rating: 5 stars. The lack of any full-verse solos from Dustin Sweatman and Joel Wood was almost enough to cost the album a half-star. But what’s there is simply done so well that there’s no way around acknowledging Treasures as the best table project of the year.


Group members: Joel Wood (tenor), Dustin Sweatman (lead), Mark Trammell (baritone), Pat Barker (bass). • Produced by: Mark Trammell, Kevin McManus, Dustin Sweatman. • Song list: Echoes From the Burning Bush; Gentle Shepherd (live bonus cut); Bloodwashed Band; That Day at Calvary; I’ll Have a New Life / Everybody Will Be Happy Over There; Statue of Liberty; An Old Convention Song (live bonus cut); I Thirst; Master Builder; Wedding Music; Then I Met the Master; Boundless Love.

For more about —and other Southern Gospel news and commentary—follow our RSS feed or sign up for our email updates!

39 Letters to the Editor

Southern Gospel Journal welcomes letters to the editor. We will post the most thoughtful and insightful submissions. Ground rules: Don't attack or belittle groups or fellow posters, or advance heresies rejected by orthodox Christianity. Do keep comments positive, constructive, and on topic.
  1. Well done! Pat is a superstar on this recording.

    This is definitely the best table project of the year. According to my rankings, it’s my second-favorite table project ever.

    • Which is the best? Gold City’s Havin’ Fun? The Cathedrals’ Songs of Albert E. Brumley?

      • Greater Vision’s You Can Have a Song

        Having Fun didn’t quite make the top 100, and I don’t have the Brumley album.

      • OK. 🙂

  2. I am anxious to hear this recording. I hope to see them soon so I can get my copy. Daniel, how might someone get a copy of the Cathedrals “Songs of Albert Brumley” table project?

    • eBay or Gemm, perhaps?

    • I have a really good album copy I’d be willing to part with. Make an offer.

  3. Just remembered that tonight starts their Homecoming weekend. Praying that this wonderful event is again a success.

  4. Once again, I cannot find a specific post/comment, but since this post triggered it I’ll post it here.

    That ‘OGV’ video made me hope MTQ will be included on Jubilee 3. Thats a pretty good scrap-iron quartet.

    Back on topic…
    I absolutely LOVE this project! This was my first from MTQ, but won’t be my last!

    • Very cool! I’m thrilled that you’ve discovered them, and hopefully they come close enough your way that you’ll have a chance to see them in concert. 🙂

      Oh – and I don’t know if I’ve ever heard a better performance by a scrap-iron quartet!

    • LOL silly me! Its obviously not my last since I digitally downloaded Testimony a few days. I just thought of that since I’m listening to it right now.

      • 🙂

        Well, even though Testimony has new songs, and I generally give some level of an edge in ratings/preference to groups who will go to the trouble to do that, I would still have to say that Treasures is a better project overall.

        Sometime, when you have a chance, check out the group’s previous project, Always Have a Song to Sing. It’s easily the strongest of their mainline releases, so far.

      • Yeah, Josh, that would be the best 10 dollars you spend in a while.

      • Thanks for the advice, guys!

      • “Loving the Lamb” just might be not only MTT’s finest, but maybe Trammell’s finest lead.

      • It’s a magnificent song. I will confess to being equally partial to “Once Upon a Cross,” though the ending was too long – and one of the songs which inspired this post: https://www.southerngospeljournal.com/archives/12414

      • Technically that project was by a different group 🙂

      • Well, if we are going to get genuinely technical, the name on the articles of incorporation in Etowah County in the State of Alabama has been Mark Trammell Ministries, Inc. all along! 🙂

        Yes, he hired another employee and changed the name from Mark Trammell Trio to Mark Trammell Quartet, but everything else remained the same through the change – the other personnel, song selection for onstage programs, vehicle, name on the paycheck, contract with Daywind… 😀

  5. The term “table project” is often tossed around on this site, but I have never seen a solid definition for it.

    “My friend” is really wanting to know what it means, but it was too embarrassed to ask… 😉

    • It’s generally used to refer to a project that is not released by a group’s major record label, but made and released by the group themselves. Typically they are found exclusively on the artist’s “table,” or website.

  6. Daniel J mount. I have a question. I primarily buy a cd because of the bass and tenor performances. I am heavily considering buying never walk alone by brian free and assurance. I know what to expect from brian free but is there quality bass singing on that album. I know jeremy lile is capable but I haven’t read any reviews of very memorable bass moments like low notes and stuff like that. Please help

    • This is off-topic here. Would you mind re-posting it in an open thread?

  7. Indeed, a remarkable project. One of the best I have heard. You can tell they put some time and $ into this one, which can sometimes be uncommon for a table project.

    • Obviously, Mark Trammell just isn’t going to release a lousy CD. If you see Mark’s name on a CD, you can expect a certain level of quality.

      But on this one, I think Dustin Sweatman deserves a shout-out for his co-producing efforts. Even without knowing exactly what he did, I’m sure that part of the reason it is as good as it is would be that he has too high of a respect for the Cathedrals (and for Mark) to do these songs any less than justice.

      • Absolutely. I wasn’t implying they ever put out mediocre work. Sweatman is a crazy musician. He’ll even play a steel guitar. But yes, all of them really love the music and the heritage of southern gospel music, and it SHINES on this one.

      • And with Lari Goss and Steve Mauldin also involved in this, as well as the other studio players, (Hammond, Back, Willis, Garrish, Nelson), it’s superb. That core group is usually only hired for the “big” ones.

      • True!

  8. Gentlemen,

    If you had a house pup that had never been in an International Dog show, Would you feel good about merely throwing it in the competition hoping it survived? Or would you be protective of this pup until you were certain it could at least make an honorable showing? Might do us all well to remember the old indian saying “don’t judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins. 🙂

    • Very true!

      I’m actually not sure what part of the discussion your comment was in reference to, but I hope nothing I said came across as critical. This is, after all, one of only four 5-star reviews I’ve handed out all year! 🙂

      • I think he was talking about putting time and money in a table project.

      • Oh, OK!

      • Mark Trammell, speaking in riddles. So I’ll go with…putting time and $ into this recording, so it would be an honorable and quality one.

      • Aha! Thank you, kind sir, for the translation between Trammellspeak into Danielspeak. 🙂

      • My guess was a reference to a different comment talking mentoring Joel Wood, in another thread; however, now that I think of it, it’s unlikely, given that that dropped off the feed pretty fast.

    • Congrats to Miss Amy! Our industry is overrun with putting saddles on mustangs and calling them race horses! 🙂

      • Very cool, and congratulations, Amy!

      • Thanks to you both; however, I was unable to translate the second comment! 😀

      • 1-for-2 is better than I was running!

  9. I sure hope this will eventually get on iTunes one day..being from europe and all.
    Mark and that super quartet have to come on over..i love their Testimony album very much too.