3:1 Review: God’s Been Faithful (Liberty Quartet)

3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

God's Been Faithful (Liberty Quartet)1. “The Day Death Died”: Royce Mitchell proves he’s in that select class of bass singers who can anchor anthems (see also Eric Bennett, “One Drop of Blood”; Pat Barker, “Calvary Medley.”) Then he turns around and delivers an incredibly smooth solo on “God’s Been Faithful.” He has such a smooth, confident, and pleasant command of every register of his range. In fact, if you wanted a bass singer so smooth that he can record a lullabies album, you’d have to go with Royce Mitchell. 

2. “39 Chapters Later”: This Joel Lindsey / Kyla Rowland collaboration on Job’s trials is an innovative twist on a familiar story. The encouraging message makes it a standout track.

3. “Not Givin’ in to Givin’ Up”: From the opening lines, the melody and groove leave no question that it’s a Joseph Habedank song (a collaboration with Matthew Holt). Jordan Cragun’s soulful delivery does it justice.

:1. Choir on “Hope Lives Again”: Sometimes less is more. It is possible to make a big ballad too big.

Traditional or Progressive: Middle-of-the-road. A few blues-influenced songs, and a few big ballads.

Radio Single Picks: “The Day Death Died,” “39 Chapters Later,” “Not Givin’ in to Givin’ Up,” “Peace Like a River”

Album Rating: 4 stars

Credits: Producers: Roger Talley, Phil Cross, and Keith Waggoner. • Group members: Phillip Batton (tenor), Dan Gilbert (lead), Jordan Cragun (baritone), Royce Mitchell (bass). • Review copy provided.

Song list: Up & Away; Jesus Saves Still Today; Peace Like a River; Glorious Appearing; Hope Lives Again; 39 Chapters Later; God’s Been Faithful; Not Givin’ in to Givin’ Up; But for a Cross; When You Say Jesus; Thank You Now; One Well; The Day Death Died; Up & Away Reprise.

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16 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. Great review, Daniel, and I concur with all that you said! I might add that “One Well”, stuck on “repeat”, is a great way to melt the miles when traveling for hours across open desert. 🙂 I could add many other positive commentaries here, but will refrain. I agree on the choir evaluation, also. Perhaps this is a song designed for church choirs to accompany when they sing in large venues on a Sunday morning? I, however, am not a huge fan of choir accompaniment to southern gospel. This recording, however, has already received more play time in my possession than any other of Liberty’s recordings. It’s truly a joy to listen to!

    • Perhaps it is intended for that!

  2. I have to say that this is the first CD that I listened through 3 times in a row non stop since Gold City’s Pillars of Faith. I don’t normally comment on post like these but because of the power of this CD felt the need. Now I am not an expert on these things like Danial & Ellen are, But as a bass singer myself, I can honestly say that Royce Mitchell stands in the same company as Tim Riley, George Younce, Jeff Chapman, Eric Bennett and David Hester. If you have ever had any doubts about Royce, This CD will take care of that. That being said, not only will this CD get you moving, it will uplift your spirit like the good old fashioned Statesmen record’s used to. This CD gets 5 star’s from me and I thank Ellen for turning me onto it. Sorry I wrote so much. God Bless

    • No need to apologize! We love long comments here, and around here, we call them in-depth! 🙂

  3. Let me just add my “dittos” to the above comments…my car CD player is stuck on repeat for “Not Givin’ In To Givin’ Up”…and “39 Chapters Later” is equally inspiring and stimulating. And remember Daniel, when I kept insisting that the Liberty Quartet was destined to be one of the genre’s top groups? Well, they’re there now…this CD proves it! And Royce has been one of the top bass singers for a lot longer time than he’s been given credit for!

    I don’t ordinarily like to say this, but everyone…I told you so!:-)

    • Well, I’ve been telling everyone so for something like four or five years myself, so it’s not exactly like I just discovered it or something! 🙂

  4. No, Daniel, you are no newcomer to the Liberty Quartet fan parade by any means!:-)

  5. 🙂 to all the above. Could I be perhaps the original “I Told You So”-er? 🙂 OK, ‘scuse me while I go fire up the CD player…

    • You probably ARE the original “I Told You So-er”, but for the record, we originally met based on circumstances arising from my singing the Liberty Quartet’s praises on another blog I had.

      I was introduced to them(literally and musically)by my then-colleague Earline Starnes, who was already a big booster of theirs(and remains so today)from the first time she heard them.

      I needed to give Earline a shout-out, because when southern gospel radio is discussed, it would be a disservice if the show she still hosts(which I used to do with her and has been on the air in one form or other for 64 1/2 years)is not mentioned.

  6. According to yesterday’s Liberty e-mail newsletter, they have re-cut this CD with new lead singer Doug Wiley.

    • Thanks, Eric! I did know about its availability, but they sent me the older one to review, so that was the one I reviewed. 🙂

      • You’re welcome Daniel. I have the older one as well but just wanted to let everybody know. 🙂 I might order the new version just to compare.

      • I might, too!

  7. My wife and I are personal friends with Royce, Phillip, Doug and Jordan. We all hail from Nampa, Idaho, and just came back from the Fan fest in Visalia, California, with the Liberty Boys! What a thrilling week we had. I, too, am a bass singer and you’re right, Royce is an inspiration to anyone who loves that bottom that a bass singer brings to a GREAT gospel quartet. Thanks for all the good things said about “our Boys!!!”

  8. My wife and I attended one of their concerts recently and I can tell you that they’ve never sounded better. In my opinion their new album “God’s Been Faithful” is the best one they’ve ever done.