CD/DVD Review: Pensacola Live (Dixie Echoes)
DVD Rating: 4.5 (of 5)
Average Song Rating: 4.4 (of 5)
Producer: None credited.
Song List: If Jesus is There; So Many Reasons; Up to the House of Prayer; New Born Feeling; I’ll Be Ready to Go With Him; How Big is God; Introductions; Just a Little While; Until You Find the Lord; On the Other Side of Jordan; Miracles Will Happen On That Day; Walk With Me; I’m Gonna Move to the Sky; The Last Mile of the Way; Little Is Much; Welcome Home, My Child; Ole Brother Noah; I’m Longing For Home; I Won’t Have to Worry; Not In a Million Years; Hallelujah Square.
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Pensacola Live is the Dixie Echoes’ first live concert recording in the last ten years or so. (Though they did release two episodes of their “Keep on Singing” TV show on DVD in 2006, their last live concert video was released in 1999, and their last live tape was in 1998.)
This DVD/CD has twenty songs and one introductions track. Emcee Randy Shelnut limits talking, both jokes and song introductions, and even does several sets of songs back to back without any commentary.
The group sings most of the songs from their most recent two projects, as well as several from earlier projects. The group’s current sugar sticks are all present—Pat Barker’s “How Big is God,” Randy Shelnut’s “Little is Much,” Stewart Varnado’s piano solo “Just a Little While,” and lots of uptempo convention songs.
There are no glaring flaws on the DVD. I rated it at 4.5 instead of 5 stars because of the lighting, which was inconsistent enough that there is a noticeable difference between the wide shots and the closeups, and between shots from different camera angles. But lighting is one of the most difficult things to get right in a live program, where you only have once chance to capture the action, and the lighting here is as good as or better than the average in our genre.
Virtually no Southern Gospel studio CD captures what the group is live. While the Dixie Echoes do produce good studio recordings, that adage holds true here. This is the group’s first live recording since they switched over to a mostly or all-classic songs program roughly ten years ago, and it is probably their best release in the decade.