CD Review: Southern Gospel’s 15 All-Time Favorites Vol. 2

Rating: 3.5 stars (of 5)

Average Song Rating: 3.46 stars (of 5)

Executive Producer: Ken Harding.

Song List: Still Feelin’ Fine (Booth Brothers); Please Forgive Me (Crabb Family); I’m Not Giving Up (Gold City); Grace (Martins), For God So Loved (Brian Free & Assurance); Sweetest Song I Know (J.D. Sumner and the Stamps Quartet); He Looked Beyond My Fault (The Rambos); What a Beautiful Day (The Goodmans); Is That the Old Ship of Zion (Kingsmen); I Lean On You Lord (Florida Boys); God Walks the Dark Hills (Vestal Goodman); Through it All (Oak Ridge Boys); I Wish I Could Have Been There (Perrys); Praise His Name (Jeff & Sheri Easter); Redeemer (Ivan Parker).

Available from: Artist, CBD.

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A review of a project of new songs focuses on the quality of the songs and the strength of the instrumental and vocal arrangements. But other than a brief look at audio quality, the bulk of the review of a compilation must focus on the song selection. (Speaking of audio quality, it is excellent. New Haven Records did a great job remastering old songs to the point that they don’t sound out of place next to today’s songs.

First—to get this out of the way up front—I find it a little odd that an All-Time Favorites collection is done without any songs from the Statesmen, Blackwood Brothers, or Cathedrals, arguably the three most popular Southern Gospel groups of all time. Volume 1 of this series did include a Cathedrals song (“Step Into the Water”), but no Blackwoods or Statesmen songs are on either.

This is probably in part because even though the title says “all-time,” both volumes use songs from the 70s through today. From this time period, a wide range of artists are included. New Haven’s term “eclectic collection” is on target—this CD includes everyone from the Crabb Family to the Kingsmen, from Ivan Parker to the Martins, and from the Booth Brothers to the Florida Boys.

The project does a fairly decent job of using one of a group’s most recognizable songs. The only song that jumped out as a seemingly odd choice was the Florida Boys’ “I Lean On You Lord.” Granted, the song did come from Timeless (1987), possibly the best album the Florida Boys ever released…but even for that particular era, the group is best remembered for “When He Was On the Cross (I Was On His Mind).”

New Haven releases a Southern Gospel Legacy Series, an excellent compilation series for some of Southern Gospel’s top groups. All of the pre-1990 songs on this CD (except possibly the Stamps song) have appeared on CDs in that series. So this CD would be most valuable to someone new to Southern Gospel, or a Southern Gospel fan who did not have earlier titles in that series.

For someone who has a decent collection of Southern Gospel music, this CD would have little new. But it would provide a good introduction for someone new to the genre.

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