CD Review: Committed to the Call (Rick Webb Family)
The Rick Webb Family is one of the hidden gems on the Southern Gospel scene. Their albums are consistently produced at a level comparable with the genre’s strongest mixed groups. In fact, on Committed to the Call, they bring in pianist/producer Jason Webb, who has co-produced the last several Talleys releases with Roger Talley.
The only thing advantage they don’t have that a Hoppers or Talleys would have is the pick of the cream of the crop of the best songs from the genre’s finest songwriters. But they more than compensate for this with their creativity in finding forgotten gems from our genre and strong songs from related genres. They pull from the choral world for “I’ll Say Yes Lord” from the choral world (Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir), “All Rise” from Inspirational (Babbie Mason), and “See, What a Morning” from the modern hymn genre (Keith & Kristyn Getty).
They also find forgotten Southern Gospel gems like “If Not For the Old Rugged Cross” (LordSong, 2001), and “Valley Of the Shadow” (Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet, 2000). The latter song deserves special mention for creativity; once a song gets pegged as a quartet song, few artists or producers see past the vocal configuration and re-invent it as adeptly as it has been here.
A trio of hymn arrangements are also worthy of special mention. Instrumental creativity breathes fresh vitality into “I Will Sing of My Redeemer,” “Satisfied” (the hymn, not the soul-influenced quartet song), and “Unclouded Day.”
Committed to the Call is the strongest mixed group release so far this year.
Group Members: Not credited.
Credits: Produced by David Staton and Jason Webb. Vocals Produced by David Webb and Dirk Johnson. Engineers: Dirk Johnson, Anthony Johnson. Orchestra arranged and produced by Jason Webb. Track engineer: Randy Poole. Mixed by Dirk Johnson. Mastered by Anthony Johnson. Musicians: Jason Webb (piano, keys, Hammond B3); Kelly Back (guitars); Pat McGaff (acoustic guitars); Matt Pierson (bass guitar). Review copy provided.
Song List: See, What a Morning (written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend); I Will Sing of My Redeemer; Satisfied; Let the Rocks Keep Silent (Wayne Haun, Joel Lindsey); Send Me (Joe Johnston, Kim Patton Johnston); All Rise (Babbie Mason); If Not For the Old Rugged Cross (Marty Funderburk); Valley of the Shadow (Robbie Hiner); I’ll Say Yes, Lord (Carol Cymbala).
Album Rating: 4.5 stars.
Five-star songs: See, What a Morning, In the Valley of the Shadow, All Rise, If Not For the Old Rugged Cross.