3:1 CD Review: Precious Seed (McKameys)

Precious Seed (The McKameys)3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

1: When He Speaks and I Am a Vessel. Both songs hit the stylistic sweet spot that has made many other McKameys songs live favorites and chart-toppers. Both are message songs—mellow, mid-tempo songs where the lyric is king.

2: Bearing Precious Seed. “Bearing Precious Seed” kicks off the album and is easily its strongest up-tempo song. In fact, it’s probably one of the strongest fast songs they’ve ever done. It comes from Psalm 126:5-6:

(5) They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. (6) He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.

You can probably think of at least two other songs drawn from the same passage (“Bringing in the Sheaves,” “They That Sow.”) But there’s no question that this one has the coolest title!

The lyric uses the seed as a picture of spreading the Gospel, fusing the imagery of this Psalm with Jesus’ parable of the sower. The imagery goes one step beyond the first half of verse six, the challenges of going out to spread the Gospel, and focuses on the second half—the joy of the Gospel harvest.

3: Unspoken Request. When you listen to a McKameys CD, you may be used to hitting the skip button when you hear a male voice solo. (No, I won’t embarrass you by asking for a show of hands. You know who you are! 🙂 )

Don’t skip this one.

This story song is a rare vocal solo from guitarist Roger Fortner. It’s simple—and that’s not a bad thing; it doesn’t need to be complex. The last two lines of the second verse are particularly well-crafted.

:1: More great songs: McKameys fans probably won’t have a single complaint about arrangements, tracks, or vocal performances. More great four- and five-star songs would have made this a five-star project.

Traditional or Progressive: Traditional.

Radio Single Picks: “When He Speaks,” “Bearing Precious Seed,” “I Am a Vessel.”

Album Rating: 4 stars.

Group Members: Connie Fortner (soprano), Peg McKamey Bean (lead), Sheryl Farris (alto), Ruben Bean (bass), Roger Fortner (guitar), Eli Fortner (guitar).

Song List: Bearing Precious Seed; I Am a Vessel; Nothing But Grace; This Blessed Old Book; When He Speaks; Story Untold; Unspoken Request; When I Think About Heaven; Some Morning I Shall Stand; The Touch; Finish Well.

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13 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. I really like “Unspoken Request”…it’s just different, musically and lyrically. To me, it’s the album’s strongest song.

    I had to wait awhile, but a little convention singing finally popped up on “Some Morning I Shall Stand”. That’s one of my picks here, too.

    “When I Think About Heaven” isn’t the deepest song in the world, but I like the little groove it has. Neat track.

    • All good songs, though “I am a Vessel” is still my favorite from the recording!

  2. My heart was overwhelmed as I listened to Cheryl singing “I Am A Vessel” at the McKamey’s concert Thursday night. Our precious daughter, Amber wrote that song, and hearing it live for the first time brought such joy! In fact, all the songs they sang were done with such heartfelt sincerity, you had to walk away BLESSED! I look forward to hearing them again sometime soon!

    • Very neat! I’m not saying this just because you’re commenting here, but that song is my personal favorite from the project.

  3. I was really disappointed to read the part about skipping over a Mckameys song that was a male solo. I personally have all the songs that feature Mr. Ruben on my Ipod. I think he has an amazing voice that goes unrecognized a good bit. Not to mention he is probably one of the strongest Christain men traveling in professional Southern Gospel Music today. It really is a shame that it apparently happens or is mentioned enough to be posted on here…

    • Please understand that I did not say that it is my practice, because it is not. I do, however, know people who do it, and that message was for them.

  4. On “I Want To Finish Well,” is the chorus a trio of the men of the group? Sounds like Rueben singin lead, with Eli and Roger singing the harmony lines above. A really cool sound for the group. Kudos to them.

    This track and “Unspoken Request” with Roger’s solo were my to favorite on this album. I think this is the case because the songs lead by the female vocalists were not quite up to par to McKameys hits of the past like “I’ve Won” or “Right On Time.” Even more recent hits like “I Keep Praying” or “Shepherd’s Point Of View” still trump the songs from this album. Sheryl’s cut of “When He Speaks” might be the only exceptional track.

    So then, the highlight of the album is the newer sounds springing forth. When listening to a female trio plus Rueben carrying the bass part for 20+ years (like I have), to hear a MALE trio on a McKameys album is something very special. Add on top of that that the song really produced some nice sounds and I can see this being staged by the three men regularly.

    I am looking forward to seeing them soon. Hopefully I can catch them in my neck of the woods before NQC, which will be the latest I will have to wait.

    • “Finish Well” is indeed the male trio.

      I would have to disagree with the viewpoint that “When He Speaks” is the only exceptional track. I think “I Am a Vessel” is the strongest song on the whole album, and I’m also quite partial to “Bearing Precious Seed” and, in the convention-song category, “Some Morning I Shall Stand.”

      • I understand your thoughts on these tracks. Do you think, though, that the three tunes you mentioned could go toe-to-toe with any of the great McKamey songs of the past? I just think that this album is lacking #1 songs-in-waiting, thus my favorite aspects of the album is the new sounds coming form the male vocal arrangements.

      • I think “I Am a Vessel” is the strongest song they have recorded in the last ten years.

  5. You all don,t know how much your songs have help me through the lord gave you all powerful spiritley voices you all are an inspiration to many. i especially me i lost my 15 year old son found my sister dead fathern
    n-law died of cancer and now my husband has prostate cancer but i your the lord is with me i feel his holly spirit just wanted to let ou know how much i enjoy your music god bless you all .

  6. My mom has your CD and she was wanting the lyrics to the song when I think about heaven. We can’t find them on any lyric site. Hoe would I go about to get them?

    • I would suggest contacting the group’s office; they could probably help you. As I recall, though, I do believe the lyrics are printed in the CD booklet. So you could probably get them there.