DVD Review: Personal (Kim Collingsworth)

Rating: 5 (of 5)

Average Song Rating: 3.9 (of 5) (or 4.3 of 5 without the love songs)

Producer: Tracks produced by Wayne Haun, Roger Talley, Jeff Collins, & Milton Smith. Executive Producer: Phil Collingsworth.

Filming Director: David Brainard.

Song List: And Can it Be; The Lord’s Prayer; Joshua Fit ‘De Battle; Love Me Tender; Unforgettable; Misty; He Set Me Free / Blood Washed Band; God’s Family (Keaton Family); When The Flowers Bloom Up in Heaven (Kim’s parents); Will the Circle Be Unbroken (Keaton Family); Goodbye World, Goodbye; Great is Thy Faithfulness / The Old Rugged Cross; I’ll Fly Away; When They Ring Those Golden Bells; A Mighty Fortress; Hallelujah Chorus (from Handel’s Messiah).

Available from: Artist, Amazon, Christianbook.com.

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Personal, Kim Collingsworth’s first piano solo DVD, was recorded on the same night that the Collingsworth Family recorded Your Ticket to Music Hall (reviewed here).

Often, when a group records two DVDs on the same night, the DVDs have a similar feel. The groups will often wear the same suits and ties, and even if they change, the stage setup will typically be similar if not identical from video to video. But as I remarked in my review of the group DVD, the group seems to be masters of the craft of staging a live concert, and Personal has an entirely different feel. The plants are arranged differently, Collingsworth wears a different outfit, and the grand piano is front and center.

The film starts with a biographical introduction showing video footage from the church where Kim Collingsworth learned to play piano. Phil and Kim Collingsworth trade off on the narrative (a story explained in much greater detail in the extras). After the biographical intro, the scene shifts to Cincinnati’s Music Hall, where Kim walks on stage and plays a trio of her best piano solos, “And Can it Be,” “The Lord’s Prayer,” and “Joshua Fit ‘De Battle.”

She then plays three songs, “Love Me Tender,” “Unforgettable,” and “Misty.” Video footage includes a montage of photos showing Kim as she group up and Phil and Kim in the early years of their marriage.

After an uptempo Southern Gospel medley (“He Set Me Free / Blood Washed Band”), Kim’s family comes on stage. Her parents and seven of her eight siblings sing “God’s Family” together in full harmony. If there was any doubt where Kim got her musical genes, that is settled when her parents do a duet on “When the Flowers Bloom Up in Heaven.” Though their voices show their age, they also show signs of what they must have sounded like at their peak. After another song by the family (“Will the Circle Be Unbroken”), the spotlight is on Kim on the piano for the rest of the evening.

After a few more piano solos, including an impromptu medley of requested songs, the program closes with a rendition of the “Hallelujah Chorus,” with a fully produced soundtrack recorded specifically for the occasion.

Both Personal and Your Ticket to Music City are accompanied by audio CDs with and virtually all the talking cut out. This focus on the songs works well in the CD format, just as leaving the talking in on the DVD helps capture the experience of the live concert better.

Interestingly, Collingsworth recorded the entire program without playing either of her most recognizable signature songs, “How Great Thou Art” or “It is Well.” She had played “It is Well” as her piano solo during the group taping earlier in the night, but the omission of “How Great Thou Art” is interesting. If nothing else, it shows that Collingsworth can turn in a strong solo concert without her “sugar sticks”—no small feat.

The video has extensive extras, including conversations Kim had with her parents and with her brothers and sisters. The extras, and the excerpts that make it onto the program, are detailed enough that even those that have followed the family closely since their national debut will find new tidbits and fascinating stories.

Personal is a fascinating and stirring introduction to Kim Collingsworth’s life and music.

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14 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. If you think about it though, the “love songs” can be thought of as being sung to God.

  2. It’s interesting that the inclusion of the love songs brought down your rating of this recording.

    I really enjoy listening to a gospel artist perform an appropriate secular song once in a while. I think many have pigeon-holed many gospel musicians as one dimensional artists, and this helps to eliminate that stereotype.

  3. Are there any “appropriate secular songs”?

  4. Good point.

  5. I suppose on your birthday you’d rather celebrate by hearing someone sing to you “How Great Thou Art” instead of “Happy Birthday to You”.

  6. I love gospel music, but I also love good jazz.

  7. I know there may be some who disagree, but just because a song isn’t sacred, it doesn’t mean it is necessarily inappropriate or “worthless.”

  8. True. But I prefer Gospel projects to have Gospel songs…

    That said, keep in mind that I still gave the project a 5-star rating, and I do not hand those out casually. It’s only the second DVD this year I’ve rated at 5 stars.

  9. Ah, I missed that with the other ratings…3.9 Average Song Rating. I agree that a Gospel CD should contain Gospel songs.

  10. I was just pondering . . . since this is an instrumental DVD, had Kim played “Londonderry Air”, would she have really been playing “Danny Boy” or “He Looked Beyond My Fault and Saw My Need”?

    Music is indeed a wonderful gift from God.

  11. You do have a good point.

    I guess it would depend on what her listeners associated it with. For an SG audience, I have this feeling I know the answer. 🙂

  12. “I guess it would depend on what her listeners associated it with. For an SG audience, I have this feeling I know the answer. :)”

    Don’t be so sure, many SG listeners have a music background that encompasses a wide range of genres.
    Also, I have a little problem comprehending how a DVD can get a 5 star rating and the songs have a 3.9-4.3.

  13. Dean, the rating had as much to do with the quality of the visuals as the audio track. Quite a bit of effort was put into some extensive behind-the-scenes footage, including going back to the church where Kim Collingsworth started playing piano (at age 3), and finding several people who knew her at the time for background comments, and reuniting all of her family except a sister who was an overseas missionary (and getting a video clip from her).

    I didn’t exactly say this in the review, but I have never (and I do mean never, without qualifier) seen more impressive B-roll footage.

  14. All I’ve got to say is this, I’m a LOOONG time fan meeting Kim the first time when she was 13 and playing for a local campmeeting quartet. I knew then, as a keyboard musician myself that she was destined for big things and she’s never disappointed. Kudo’s my dear friend and prayers for you, the family and ministry as you continue to spread His Gospel through your blessed ministry.

    John Kuerth