CD Review: For All He’s Done (Greater Vision)



When Greater Vision launched in 1990, they were known for straight-ahead Southern Gospel instrumental tracks. Sure, there might be strings on one track and steel guitar on the next, but the piano led the tracks and the vocals were squarely out front. In the late ’90s and early ’00s, they went through a stylistic phase of heavier orchestrations produced by Lari Goss. For All He’s Done continues the trend started by their previous album, The Only Way (reviewed here), of a return to the style that put them on the map. Lari Goss remains on the production team, but his orchestrations tend to be less dominant in the mix.

Most of the album’s songs are fast or on the fast side of medium; only three tracks are longer than four minutes long, and two of those are 4:01 and 4:06! This hardly ends up being a bad thing, though, as fast songs provide most of the highlight moments. “Forever Is Sure” and “Looking For the Grace” are both strong toe-tappers. And don’t let the fact that the words in “Preacher, Tell Me Like It Is” fly by quickly dim their impact:

Preacher, you say you want to be my friend
Don’t be afraid to call my sin what it is
And preacher, tell me I can overcome
But it’s only by the blood of the Lamb
Don’t tell me like I wish it was
Preacher, tell me like it is 

The bridge’s allusion to I Corinthians 1:18-21 is sheer brilliance:

Life is quickly passing; the world is fading fast
And the foolishness of preaching is the only hope we have

For All He’s Done doesn’t have any show-stopping, massive anthems—nothing that would suggest comparisons to Gerald Wolfe’s landmark renditions of “Till the Storm Passes By,” “It is Well,” or “Oh Holy Night.” In fact, Gerald Wolfe doesn’t have many solos, period. He sings a verse of “Looking For Me,” and you can hear his voice here and there on other songs, but the under-utilization of one of Southern Gospel’s all-time most awarded vocalists is the project’s greatest weakness.

On the bright side, Chris Allman proves once again why he’s one of the greatest tenors on the road; his Midas touch turns anything he sings into musical gold. Rodney Griffin ably anchors his features, including the project’s strongest slow song, “This is Mercy.” It’s a song Griffin co-wrote with Natalie Harp; its imagine-if perspective on a familiar Biblical story is a device that has served Griffin well, anchoring previous songs like “They Should Have Cried Holy,” “No Longer Chained,” and, of course, “My Name is Lazarus.”

For All He’s Done features top-notch vocals and production quality and a number of strong original songs; it’s an able and competent entry in the Greater Vision discography.

Traditional or Progressive: Middle-of-the-road.

Group Members: Chris Allman (tenor), Gerald Wolfe (lead), Rodney Griffin (baritone).

Credits: Produced by Gerald Wolfe. Orchestrations by Lari Goss. Rhythm tracks and vocals recorded by Van Atkins and Scott Barnett at Crossroads Studios, Arden, NC. Additional vocals recorded by Bob Williams at Playground Studios, Nashville, TN. Mixed and mastered by Bob Williams. Background vocals on “For All He’s Done” by Chris Allman, Jim Brady, and Melissa Brady. Orchestrations recorded at The Sound Kitchen, Franklin, TN. Engineered by Bob Williams; assistant engineer Adam Deane. Performed by The Nashville String Machine; conducted by Carl Gorodetzky. Musicians: Gerald Wolfe (piano, keyboards), Mylon Hayes (bass guitar), Jeremy Medkiff (bass and electric guitars), Tony Creasman (drums and percussion), David Johnson (guitars, fiddle, banjo, steel guitar), Jason Webb (Hammond B-3). Review copy provided.

Song List: Come Unto Me (written by Chris Allman); Looking For the Grace (Rodney Griffin); This is Mercy (Rodney Griffin, Natalie Harp); The Blood Hasn’t Ever Changed (Chris Allman); Forever is Sure (Jim Brady, Rodney Griffin); Seeking For Me (Lanny Wolfe); Preacher Tell Me Like it Is (Rodney Griffin); I Can Trust You (Chris Allman); I Will Take Care of You (Rodney Griffin); For All He’s Done (Chris Allman).

Five-star songs: This is Mercy; Forever is Sure; Preacher Tell Me Like It Is.

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11 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. Nice review. Not to nitpick, but I know you would want to know, I think you meant “has served Griffin well” instead of will. 😀

  2. We (Jordan’s Bridge) were just in concert with them and I’m pretty sure they did every song on this project plus most of their hits. I’m very impressed with the whole project. The thing that really imoressed me the most was their ability to sing all of their hits like they were new songs. It’s easy to get where your tired of singing the same songs and it can show but I’m telling you they sang every song with freshness and excitement. I liked the Preacher Tell Me Like it Is song. Pretty neat watching Rodney put that one across to a bunch of baptist. Lol. I was born a baptist and still am. Thats why I’m picking on us. The old old song Seeking For Me went over great. I’m sure if you all see them soon then you’ll understand where I’m coming from. All the tracks are hot as firecrackers. Excellent stuff.

  3. Daniel I noticed you made note of the lack of Gerald being prominent in the vocals. Though I haven’t yet been able to purchase this CD (but I plan to), I’ve felt like Gerald has been buried in the mix a lot lately. Do you feel like this is by design or just the way its happened due to song choice and such?

    • My guess is that he has his huge songs that he simply has to sing every night, and over the last two or three albums, he just hasn’t needed a new showstopper, since he wouldn’t have room to fit it into the program. I could be totally off base; this is just a guess.

  4. For me (and my wife too), this is GV’s best album since Perfect Candidate. “For All He Has Done” has the potential of “God Wants to Hear You Sing”. It just has that powerful punch that has you lifting your hands, thanking the Lord for all the good things. The album is really a great one to listen to over and over.

    And I do have a beef with Gerald only taking one verse of one song. But when you think about it, how many songs did Glen Payne feature himself on in a concert or on an album. Plus Gerald can make the people love him for his MC work, so why wear yourself out screaming out A-flats 5 times a concert.

    Just talking about this album makes me want to go out to the car and pop in the CD.

    • I *think* Glen always had at least two songs with features, but there may be an exception that I’m not thinking of.

  5. Thanks for the complimentary review, Daniel!

  6. Now how did *I* miss this review? 🙂 I love this CD and LOVE “Tell Me Like It Is.”

    • Who knows! But what a song that is, too!