CD Review: What You Hear is What You Get (Randy Byrd)

Randy Byrd, bass singer for the Blackwood Brothers, isn’t the sort who needs a big orchestration or Auto-tuning to sound good. And that’s a good thing, because neither are to be found on his debut solo project. Except for the fact that the recording technology was undoubtedly digital, this project was recorded the same way Southern Gospel recordings were made fifty years ago. The singer stands in front of the microphone, the pianist is on the bench, and the tape starts rolling.

Some minor background noise and a few microphone pops or piano bench creaks can be heard. And, granted, there are a couple of notes that would have been edited had this even been a best-of-multiple-takes project. But that adds to the appeal by proving this is for real.

Byrd is every inch a bass singer—a singer’s bass singer. Some Southern Gospel bass singers are subwoofer bass singers, rattling the floors with a low A-flat on every song. Byrd definitely falls into the melodic category, though he demonstrates a more than adequate lower end vocal range with the lowest F on the piano keyboard on “Send the Light.”

To anyone worn out with digitally perfected productions, this project is a blast of fresh air. And even for those of us who don’t mind the whole spectrum of recording techniques, this project is a welcome reminder that there are still singers as good as there were in the old days, professionals enough to produce good music in an unedited take.

Rating: 4 stars. ♦ Available from: Product Table at Blackwood Brothers concerts. Review copy provided. ♦ Song list: Peace in the Valley; Stand By Me; Send the Light; My Jesus I Love Thee; Jesus Hold My Hand; Precious Lord, Take My Hand; This World is Not My Home; How Beautiful Heaven Must Be; Do You Know My Jesus; I Don’t Know About Tomorrow.

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  1. I’m just in love with the title. Very Randy LOL