3:1 CD Review: Live in Chicago (Cathedral Quartet)

Live in Chicago (The Cathedrals)3:1 Reviews offer three highlights of an album and one area that could have been improved.

After over fifteen years in the storage, this recording of a 1996 Cathedrals concert releases to the public on November 6th. Check our our interview about this project with former Cathedrals tenor Ernie Haase here

1: Song Selection and Pacing: Of the twelve songs on this project, ten are individually five-star performances. The other two are necessary for pacing—if every single song were a barn-burner or a huge anthem, the audience would be worn out.

The jokes, stories, and routines aren’t overdone—by and large, they are distinct enough from what you’ll hear on other Cathedrals live recordings that you’d be tempted to think George Younce was planning for this to be a live album and purposely came up with fresh material!

Roger Bennett’s testimony, coming on the tail end of his first battle with cancer, is a priceless treasure. It’s well worth getting the album for that alone.

2: “Heavenly Parade”: For years, Cathedrals fans have been talking about a favorite on-stage routine where Glen Payne would sing all four parts to the chorus. It’s finally captured in a recorded version, and it’s a delight. 

Also notable: Roger Bennett’s piano conclusion—the final few measures of the Hallelujah Chorus—is a delightful conclusion to the routine.

3: “I Thirst”: George Younce’s live version of “I Thirst” is exquisite. (Honestly, one could say the same of a half-dozen other tracks, but this format requires selecting the three brightest highlights.)

:1: Pretty much nothing: From song selection to pacing to performance quality, Live in Chicago is flawless. It is everything Cathedrals fans hoped it would be.

Live in Chicago was recorded within about a year of Alive! Deep in the Heart of Texas. So there is some overlap, but it’s hardly excessive. Only four songs appear on both (“Your Blesser Ain’t Never Been Blessed,” “Oh, What a Savior,” “Because He Lives,” and “Don’t Be Afraid.”)

Put simply: Every Southern Gospel fan should get this album.

Traditional or Progressive: Mixture of traditional and middle-of-the-road songs.

Credits: Group members: Ernie Haase (tenor), Glen Payne (lead), Scott Fowler (baritone and bass guitar), George Younce (bass and emcee), Roger Bennett (piano and vocals). Special guest appearance from Buddy Greene on harmonica on “Life Will Be Sweeter Someday.”

Song List: Oh Come Along; Step Into The Water; Your Blesser Ain’t Never Been Blessed; The Heavenly Parade; This Old House; Life Will Be Sweeter Someday; Oh, What a Savior; Jesus Saves; I Thirst; Because He Lives; Roger Bennett’s Testimony; Don’t Be Afraid; There Is A Fountain.

Rating: 5 stars. Easily.

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25 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Hmmm…your review has made me strongly consider getting this. 🙂

    • I couldn’t imagine you skipping it. 🙂

  2. Already got it ordered! Thanks for the great review….Really looking forward to it. God Bless!

    • I am quite confident that it will not disappoint you. 🙂

  3. I’ve been looking forward to this review. I only wish it had gotten the full treatment, but have been looking forward to the CD too. I hope those of us who ordered from Ernie gets it early. I wouldn’t be disappointed to get it in the mail today. 😉

    • Well, this site is still a long ways from being a full-time job, allowing time for such things. In fact, it’s not making a penny presently! 🙂

      • Mine either, but I figured yours was rolling in the cash by now!

      • Ha! No ads, no dollars! 🙂

      • Why did you have to go and bring reality in on it. :p

  4. Is this recording/concert a piano/bass guitar only concert or does it include sound-tracs?


    • Like all the other Cathedrals live recordings from Symphony of Praise through their retirement, it’s mostly live with a few tracks.

      • Thank you!

      • You’re welcome!

  5. My only :1 would be that I wish there was a DVD too.

    • You know, I actually like the occasional live recording that leaves a little to the imagination. I love trying to picture what it must have looked like at (for example) some of the all-time classic Kingsmen and Happy Goodmans live albums of the 70s and early 80s.

      • Good point!

        I’ve just always been a visual guy.

      • 🙂 And I’m rather famously not, or so say graphic designers who have suffered through various iterations of my site through the years. 🙂

      • Okay, they can release one and you can either close your eyes or not buy it. :p

  6. I too would have liked to have a dvd of this concert, but having been to soooo many Cats concerts, I will be able to visualize this project. I’m just happy that Ernie is releasing this & I can’t wait to get it. I so loved the Cathedrals!!!

    • boy it would really be great to have a dvd of this and relive their beautiful get to gethers they were wonderful thanks for your great bogs

  7. I’m so thankful to be able to pick up a new Cathedrals project for the first time in twelve years. They remain my favorite all-time group. As the saying goes, “shut up and take my money!”

    The proximity to “Alive!” is no problem, as that’s one of their best live efforts, though the sound quality on the CD isn’t the best, IIRC…or was it “Campmeeting Live”? Argh, age must be starting to get to me!

    I remember at least once when they played in Meridian, MS, that they did a recording of the program. I remember that they had mentioned it before the beginning as a matter of full disclosure. I always wondered what they did with it, as it’d be nice to see them performing in the old Temple Theater again.

    • I’m pretty sure the audio issues were on Campmeeting Live.

  8. We simply can’t get enough of the Cathedrals…… 🙂

  9. just got the cd. not a 5 star for me. i appreciated the live concert but sound quality was not great. the cathedrals have sounded better as well. i would give it four stars . still a must have for cathedral fans

  10. Downloaded the album today and LOVE it! Just classic Cathedrals music, voices, jokes, testimony, etc. Love, love, LOVE it!