Top 10 Albums of the 2000s

I caught some flak a few weeks ago when I suggested that the Mark Trammell Trio’s current project was one of the best albums released this decade. Of course, the controversy got me to thinking: Which are the best albums released this decade, so far?

After thinking through this decade’s releases by all the major groups, here is a sample list. Of course, the decade is not yet complete, so this will change some in the next three years, but these are ten of the best projects released this decade so far:

  1. Quartets – Greater Vision (2003)
  2. This is the Day – Perrys (2003)
  3. Are You Ready? – Gold City (2000)
  4. The Return – original Old Time Gospel Hour Quartet (2002)
  5. It’s Settled – Palmetto State Quartet (2004)
  6. Once Upon a Cross – Mark Trammell Trio (2007)
  7. Live at First Baptist Atlanta – Greater Vision (2002)
  8. Stand By Me Live – Signature Sound (2004)
  9. Forever Changed – Kingdom Heirs (2004)
  10. London – Legacy Five (2003)

Honorable mention also goes to these eight albums:

  • Live in New York City – Brian Free & Assurance (2005)
  • Triumphant Quartet (2005)
  • Life of Love – Perrys (2004)
  • Come Thirsty – Perrys (2006)
  • Pressed Down Shaken Together Running Over – Gold City (2001)
  • Walk the Talk – Gold City (2003)
  • Gonna Keep Telling – Kingdom Heirs (2002)
  • Live in Music City – Legacy Five (2006)

What do you think of my list? What would your list look like? (See if you can make a list and keep it to at most two albums per group!)

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16 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. Here’s mine:
    1. Everything Good – Gaither Vocal Band (2002)
    2. Walk The Talk – Gold City (2003)
    3. It’s So God – Brian Free & Assurance (2006)
    4. From The Heart – Oak Ridge Boys (2001)
    5. Quartets – Greater Vision (2003)
    6. Rock Of Ages…Hymns & Faith – Amy Grant (2005)
    7. The Blind Man Saw It All – Booth Brothers (2005)
    8. Home Free – Integrity Quartet (now Triumphant Quartet) (2004)
    9. Anything But Ordinary, Everything But Typical – Dove Brothers Quartet (2005)
    10. Ordinary Day – Jeff & Sheri Easter (2000)

    Also worthy of consideration:
    Sweet Forever – The Ruppes (2005)
    Power – The Hoppers (2000)
    Sounds Like Sunday – Janet Paschal (2007)
    Great Day – Signature Sound Quartet (now Ernie Haase & Signature Sound) (2004)
    What It Took – Valor (2006)
    Hymns – Mercy’s Well (2006)
    Everyday – Mark Bishop (2006)
    Perfect Candidate – Greater Vision (2000)

    What do I think of your list? You’ve selected some very good recordings. I don’t think there are any recordings on your list that I wouldn’t rate at least at 4 stars.

    On the other hand, you haven’t included any groups that would be considered progressive in style…no one you wouldn’t normally think of as “SG” as spoon fed to us by the SG media…there are no soloists on your list. So, I think it’s a bit of a narrow view of Southern Gospel as a whole.

    That being said, my own list probably isn’t quite as broad in scope as it could be either. I have avoided bluegrass, for example.

  2. You’re right, I don’t have anyone in my list that one wouldn’t normally think of as SG. 😛 😀

  3. You got me!

    More clearly stated, though, when artists like Amy Grant and the Oak Ridge Boys make Southern Gospel recordings, I consider them worthy of inclusion on such a list…even if 90% of the Southern Gospel world acts like their products don’t exist.

  4. I guess you’re right; it didn’t even occur to me to consider either for inclusion in the list. I guess I was making a list of 10 albums by Southern Gospel artists. How’s that?

  5. I think that if people really like southern gospel music and the roots of real southern gospel music I think one of the top ten should definitely be Off The Record by the Kingdom Heirs. The tributew to the Statesmen.. Superb CD.

  6. Daniel – how could the Gaither Vocal Band and the Booth Brothers be left off your list? I also like DBM’s inclusion of Valor on “worthy of consideration”. I can’t help but be amused that the group that won the 2006 Dove award (GVB) and the top selling Southern Gospel album in 2006 (Alan Jackson’s Precious Memories) are ignored when the ‘best of…’ is discussed. It’s somewhat like Andrea Bocelli being ignored when the top classical artists are discussed – almost like if someone is too popular they can’t really be any good…

  7. Thanks for including the fabulous Kingdom Heirs; I agree with the person who said their tribute to the Statesmen, “Off the Record” is superb…in fact, it’s one of the very best SG recordings I’ve ever heard, and I’ve been listening to this music since the 1950s.

  8. Dianne, you are right. “Off The Record” should get album of the year this year. It’s sensational…the mix, the singing, the feel of the old songs, it’s great! One recording that I’ve not seen mentioned yet is the Perrys breakout recording called “Changed Forever”. That one is the best Perrys recording ever, and my top pick of the decade thus far.

  9. Now for a big admission: I haven’t heard Off the Record yet. I need to, soon.

    I agree that Changed Forever is a great recording. If I hadn’t liked the Perrys’ two subsequent albums so much, I would have given that album honorable mention at least. I was tempted to put three Perrys albums in my top 20, but I decided that that would be too much personal bias!

    Bob, your question is hard to answer. Unlike David Bruce Murray, I tend to focus on one factor: The quality of the new songs introduced on the project. Vocals, production quality, and everything else does come into consideration, but I give the songs the strongest weight. With that in mind, if the Gaither Vocal Band had introduced songs like “Because He Lives” or “The King is Coming” on their projects this decade, I would have included those projects, no question.

  10. “With that in mind, if the Gaither Vocal Band had introduced songs like “Because He Lives” or “The King is Coming” on their projects this decade, I would have included those projects, no question.”

    So, if they had introduced songs that were made popular decades ago, they would be contenders, but because they recorded newer songs they weren’t? Daniel, you are too young to be so old! LOL

  11. Yes, if they were introducing songs of that caliber–songs that I would expect to become church standards in all the hymnals (even the CCM ones)–I would definitely put them on my top 10 list.

  12. If that’s the case, how can you possibly justify some of the recordings you included? Your number one pick has several cover songs, for example.

  13. But it also introduced some classic songs. I’m not against an album including covers, but for me to rate it as a great album it has to introduce several songs that either become classics or that I feel should have become classics.

    Can you understand my position? I don’t really think of it as inconsistent. I rate all albums by the same standard.

  14. It’s still inconsistent to me, because if you look at it from that angle, the GVB has continued to introduce new “classics” or songs that should become classics as well.

    _Everything Good_, which appears on my Top Ten had “I’m Gonna Sing,” the title cut, and a few other new cuts that held their own alongside stuff like “Alpha And Omega” and “Heartbreak Ridge And New Hope Road.” (I’d have to buy a copy in order to check for sure, since I only have an advance release copy of _Everything Good_ that doesn’t list the song publishing information.)

    I can make a strong case for their latest, though. _Give It Away_ has “I Catch ‘Em, God Cleans ‘Em,” “Love Can Turn The World,” “Through,” “Child Forgiven,” “Place Called Hope,” “Give It Away,” and a tremendous new song called “Glorious Impossible.” Of course, Carl Cartee had recorded “Glorious Impossible” previously and Gordon Mote had recording “I Catch ‘Em,” but the GVB took these two songs to a MUCH bigger audience than those two guys.

    I would agree with you on the a cappella GVB CD and their “best of,” simply because neither is unique enough.

    But there’s also _I Do Believe_ from 2000 to consider. There you had “He’s Watching Me,” “Where The River Flows,” “More Than Ever” (which has definitely become a classic re-recorded by several artists), “On The Authority,” “Steel On Steel,” “One Good Song,” and “Something To Say.”

    When you also factor in the superb and unique vocal quality of Guy Penrod, the unique production quality of Michael Sykes, and the equally unique vocal arrangements of Penrod and others, it’s difficult to see how you could include some artists as much as three times on your total list of 18, yet not have any GVB projects.

    Of course, it’s your personal preferences, and that can’t really be disputed. I can’t tell you what to like, and I’m not trying to do that. I’m just trying to explain why I find your reasoning to be inconsistent.

  15. Well, I think you make a very good case, especially for the 2000 song you mentioned that has been re-recorded by many artists.

    I think, though, that you’re not saying so much that my criteria are inconsistent as that by my criteria I should have included the GVB album.

    So let’s just say that I’ll (probably) keep my same criteria and–who knows?–perhaps include one of their albums by the end of the decade. 🙂

    • Three years later and we’re still waiting… 😀