3:1 Review: Part of the Family (Collingsworth Family)

Part of the Family - Collingsworth Family3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved. (This album has so many highlights, though, that the list is expanded to five.) 

1. Resurrection Morn: Bill & Gloria Gaither wrote this song in 1972, cutting it on My Faith Still Holds. Other than a Blackwood Brothers cut the same year, the song has been largely forgotten since. This new rendition is so strong as to prompt the listener to wonder, “What on earth took so long?”

It’s significantly slower than the original, about 92 beats per minute versus 144 beats per minute. But it works. In fact, it works so well that, retrospectively, the original Bill Gaither Trio rendition sounds oddly rushed—as rushed as “The King is Coming” would sound at 144 beats per minute!

Anyone can re-record a familiar Gaither classic, and pretty much everyone does. The Collingsworth Family digs deeper into the Gaither archives. First with “Free to Go Home” and now with “Resurrection Morn,” their research has paid off in a big way. This song is as good as new. In fact, it’s better than when it was new. 

2. At Calvary: This hymn lends itself both to a mellow interpretation and a big-ballad treatment. Here, remarkably, the Collingsworth family pulls off both. It starts mellow, but keeps building throughout the song. After the family ensemble starts the song, Kim Collingsworth sings a verse with Brooklyn and Courtney singing harmonies above her melody line, and Phil Jr. sings a verse solo. The whole family comes back in for the big ending.

3. That’s The Place I’m Longing to Go: Though the Collingsworth Family can easily pull off uptempo songs and big ballads, they are particularly adept at mellow songs. If you noted “Oh, the Thought That Jesus Loves Me” as a highlight from The Answer, this song will top your favorites list for this album. 

4. Vocal Growth: The Collingsworth Family releases a major-label CD once every two years. Between the longer release cycle and the increasing maturity of the children’s voices, they have shown growth as vocalists with every album release. Part of the Family is no exception; Phil Jr., in particular, has shown significant growth this time around. In fact, this is the first Collingsworth Family mainline release with no instrumental tracks; their voices are now strong enough to carry the entire project.

5. Vision: Most Southern Gospel mixed groups draw inspiration from the likes of the Happy Goodmans, Hinsons, and Hoppers. The Collingsworth Family aims for a different target. Their strongest influences are the Inspirational groups of the 1960s and 1970s, like the Bill Gaither Trio, Lanny Wolfe Trio, and Henry & Hazel Slaughter. Slowly but steadily, they have honed their skills and focus, and they have now hit this target. The Collingsworth Family has become this generation’s Bill Gaither Trio.

:1. One thing I would change: Selection of fast songs: The mellow songs and big ballads are consistently exceptional. The fast songs are consistently decent.

Traditional or Progressive

Middle-of-the-road, with a few tracks which lean progressive and several which lean traditional.

Radio Single Picks

“Resurrection Morn,” “That’s The Place I’m Longing For,” “I Found it All.”

Album Rating

Average song rating: 4.1 stars. CD rating: 4.5 stars.

Credits

Group members: Brooklyn Collingsworth (soprano), Olivia Collingsworth (soprano/alto), Courtney Collingsworth (alto), Kim Collingsworth (alto), Phil Collingsworth Jr. (tenor/lead), Phil Collingsworth Sr. (lead/baritone). • Produced by: Wayne Haun. • Review copy provided.  • Song list: God’s Family; Tell the Mountain; Joy Unspeakable; Jesus Is All I Need; Nothing’s Worrying Me; I Pray; At Calvary; I Found it All; Just Another Rainy Day; Praise You; That’s the Place I’m Longing to Go; The Resurrection Morn.


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21 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. When I think about the Collingsworth Family recordings the last few years, one word comes to mind before all the others: quality. I know they put a lot of time and money into them, and it shows. I can’t even fathom getting one of their new CDs and it not being very, very good. Looking forward to this one.

    • True. Consistent quality is something you can count on with them.

  2. I don’t have any of their musc, maybe i’ll make this one the first.

  3. “Consistent” was the word I used as well. However, I still said that I felt _The Answer_ had songs that stuck with me more. Was this your feeling too?

  4. I look forward to hearing it. They’re great people and very talented. But when you say they are this generation’s version of The Gaither Trio, do you mean as far as talent or prestige, sound, overall music style, vision?

    Of course, the Gaithers gained their popularity more for what they wrote and their genius of marketing.

    I’m not saying I don’t agree with you, just asking for more of a specific direction.

    • I have their niche – style and vision – in mind.

      Songwriting – yes, though Phil and Kim have both written a few, nobody (including them, I’m sure) would point to them as being more talented writers than Bill and Gloria.

      But on the flip side, Talent – they’re already better singers. Gloria didn’t think of herself as a singer, Bill didn’t think of himself as an exceptional singer, and the group and audiences alike knew that Danny (and later replacements) carried the group vocally!

      • Ok.

        Yes, absolutely The Collingsworths are more talented singers, hands down.

        Their style is all their own.

        So in that sense, can’t say I disagree.

      • OK, cool!

  5. Upon reading your statement, “this is the first Collingsworth Family mainline release with no instrumental tracks;” makes me ask the question, is this an A cappella project??

    • I was confused by that too, because I don’t think it is.

    • By “instrumental tracks,” I mean an instrumental track like a Kim piano solo, or like a Phil trumpet solo.

  6. Yes, I think the description that they are a modern day Gaither trio is a very accurate description! Quality and content were always strong points for the Gaither trio, yet their big weakness were the up tempo songs. The Collingsworth family have steadily licked that problem, if only gradually! I have yet to hear this new album, but definitely look forward to it! They are very talented, Godly people, so I expect this release will be just as great as the last few have been…love these guys!!

  7. I was discussing with a fellow blogger this morning about whether this album had any knock-your-socks-off moments, like “Fear Not Tomorrow” on The Answer.

    “That’s the Place I’m Longing to Go” won’t necessarily knock your socks off. But it will smoothly dissolve them, especially in the blissfully executed acapella portion. So … the end result is the same. 🙂

    • The Answer has a couple of songs I like better than anything on Part of the Family. But PotF has fewer “skip” moments for me. One reason is because the instrumentals are gone. No offense…I’m just a vocals guy. In my opinion, the weaker songs on PotF are not as weak as the weaker songs on The Answer.

      I like starting at Track 11 and listening through to #2. Those are four of the best tracks, along with 7 and 8. 3-6 is the weaker portion, but still has things to enjoy.

      I’ve got enough to say to write a full review, I think. Hopefully Monday or Tuesday.

      • Cool!

        Well, this one just keeps growing and growing on me. If I reviewed it today, it might even get that last half-star.

      • Same exact decision to make here. I want to be a good little critic and say 4.5 because they didn’t do anything “out of the box,” but I’ve been playing it for a week in my car and haven’t stopped enjoying it…

      • Well, my initial take was 4.5 for sure. But now I’m weakening and thinking, “Well, now I’m not so sure!”

        Oh, and I just now saw your comment on Wes’s site about his review saying pretty much all that needs to be said. He’s the best reviewer in our genre! And that’s why you and I simply must get our reviews up first, because if we don’t, there’s nothing more to be said! 🙂

        Also, I review 30-45 CDs per year; he reviews about 5, and spends far longer on each review. There’s merit to 30-45 briefer takes, I think, too.

      • I waffled and waffled and finally settled on 4.5. There were actually a lot of really strong standouts on _The Answer_: “Fear Not Tomorrow,” “Oh the Thought That Jesus Loves Me,” “I Could Never Praise Him Enough,” “I Know,” “I Want Jesus More Than Anything…” Song after song just blew me away, despite the instrumentals.

        With _Part of the Family_, I found myself more often going, “That’s nice. Sweet. Good song. Like that one too.” But at the end, I just didn’t have the same overall “Wow, I am so impressed” feeling. I walked away feeling like there was very little filler, it was enjoyable and consistent, but just not quite as strong.

      • It’s a little more mellow, less bombastic (for my justification for using that word, see here: http://www.southerngospeljournal.com/archives/3433 ). But I’m starting to lean toward the position that it’s just as strong anyhow, just in a more understated way.

      • You may have seen me refer to that interview in response to a certain blogger recently. 😛

      • Not sure I did. (?)

        Ah, yes. An Artist’s Perspective.