4 Essential Brian Free & Assurance Albums
The Essential Albums column highlights the albums every Southern Gospel fan should add to their collections.
- 2005: Live in New York City. Yes, this album gave us “Long As I Got King Jesus.” But it’s about far more than just that hit. It’s the pinnacle of the group’s run as a traditional Southern Gospel quartet. In recent years, they have moved to a progressive Southern Gospel sound. Live in New York City proves that they moved because they wanted to, not because they had to. This album is easily among the top three or five live albums released in the 2000s, and it may head the list. Radio singles “Healed” and “Long as I Got King Jesus” deserved all the attention they got. But “Goodness and Mercy” is every bit the power ballad “Healed” is, while “Foundation Medley” is as spine-chillingly riveting, in its own way, as “Long as I Got King Jesus.” Top it off with the definitive live rendition of Brian Free’s signature song, “For God So Loved,” and you have the group’s strongest album to date.
- 2010: Never Walk Alone. The group’s fourth progressive album solved the over-compression issues that had plagued the first three. Add that to the strong roster of songs they picked, and you have their strongest studio album. For more on the album, check out our November 2010 review.
- 1998: Doing This For You. Brian Free & Assurance launched in 1993 and disbanded five years later, in 1998. (Brian put together a new group with the same name two years later.) Granted, Doing This For You doesn’t have one particular song that is as huge as their 1996 hit “For God So Loved.” But the album is stronger as a whole, and the best pick to represent the group’s first run. It opens and closes with acapella tracks. Though the first half of the album is fairly average, the second half has what may be the strongest five-song sequence on any Brian Free & Assurance album. “Who is This King” was later memorably covered by “Mercy’s Mark,” and “What a Difference a Day Makes” was covered by both Ernie Haase and HisSong. “Gone at Last” and “So We Could Become Like Him” are two forgotten gems that deserve to be brought back.
- 2009: Worth It. The top three picks were the most obvious. Worth It is less obvious, but with songs like “There is a Kingdom Coming,” “Die Another Day,” “Worth It,” and “I Am Redeemed,” it’s deserving. For more about the album, check out our May 2009 review.
Do you agree with the list? If you could only own—or only introduce a friend to the group with—four Brian Free & Assurance albums, which would they be?