CD Review: Songs You Know By Heart (Talley Trio)

talleyWhen an artist records a project of new songs, there is some pressure to select songs and deliver arrangements up to par with their previous work. Artists and their fans alike enjoy it when, every now and then, artists take a break from that yearly cycle to deliver pleasing arrangements of time-tested favorites.

I say “time-tested” with some hesitation, because while most of the songs on the project are established classics, there are a few exceptions. The Talleys put their own stamp on a few more recent songs, including “If It Had Not Been” (McRaes), “The Promise” (Karen Wheaton, Allison Durham Speer et al), and a Dianne Wilkinson tune, “It’s Jesus,” previously recorded by the Mark Trammell Trio. The latter track is completely reinvented—an arrangement that works as well as the original.

Long-time Talley Trio fans have appreciated several past a capella arrangements from the group, and true to form, the group delivers pleasant renditions of “Pass Me Not” and “He’s a Personal Savior.”

There are several nods to their heritage in the genre. The group recorded three classic male quartet songs, and took them three entirely different directions. “He’s a Personal Savior,” though a capella, stays fairly close to a convention-style vocal arrangement. “How Big is God,” best known as a bass solo for the likes of legends like Big John Hall, Buddy Liles, or Pat Barker, becomes an alto feature under Debra Talley’s able management. “Just a Little Talk with Jesus” is reinvented as an uptempo song with a modern track.

Anchoring the album are its opening and closing tracks. “He’s Alive,” originally a folk ballad by Jesus Music balladeer Don Francisco, is brought back as a (literally) showstopping ballad featuring Lauren. And though I have no less than sixty-seven versions of “Amazing Grace” in my music collection, the rendition on this album is easily the best. If not for any other reason, this project would be worth acquiring for just these two songs.

Rating: 4.5 stars. ♦ Average song rating: 4.1 stars. ♦ Group members: Lauren Talley, Debra Talley, Roger Talley. ♦ Produced by: Roger Talley. ♦ Available from: Label, Artist. Review copy provided. ♦ Song list: Amazing Grace; The Promise; Just a Little Talk With Jesus; Pass Me Not; He’s So Good to Me; Hold On; It’s Jesus; How Big is God; He’s a Personal Savior; Oh What a Reason; If It Had Not Been; He’s Alive.

Note: This review was written months ago, not too long after NQC, and long before I started working with Crossroads.

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6 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Does the Talley Trio have any plans regarding a second radio release from this project? I know “Oh, What a Reason” is a remake of a Talley Trio song; but it is more necessary at SG radio now than ever before. I hope they single it.

  2. “O What A Reason” is my favorite song on this album! I agree Daniel on Amazing Grace it may be the best version I have hear!

  3. Personally, I have always cared more about the content of what you have here, not so much the appearance. I may speak for at least one or two others besides myself when I say that I don’t care WHAT design you eventually end up using…my feeling is that you should simply decide on one, and keep it for a while. It is a bit disorienting to log on here and see what appears to be a new site every other day(or so it seems). Just keep doing the great job you’re doing, and I trust that ALL your loyal readers(a group I proudly belong to)will be more than satisfied.

    If it ain’t broke, quit trying to fix it!:-)

    • Basically, John, the last few times I’ve launched a site, whenever I’ve hit on my final choice, then people come out of the woodwork to say it doesn’t display right on their browser, etc., etc., etc.!

      • Well, it’s obviously hard for me to use, since I posted my comment in the wrong place! lol

        But that’s not ALL your fault.

        However, since I’ve never done that prior to your seemingly daily tinkering with it, I just wonder how many others will encounter similar confusion?

        The moral of this thread is just keep focusing on making a good blog, and don’t worry about changing the look of it so often. It’s not that important, and it may inadvertently confuse some loyal longtime readers who never cared what this site looked like.:-)

      • Well, John, to give myself some credit, I have stuck with the same design for over two years! 🙂

        And I wasn’t going to say anything about you being in the wrong thread. 😉