Classic CD Review: Having Fun (Gold City)
The story behind this review is actually quite simple. A friend, Matt Paasch, happened to have two copies of this rare title, and offered me his spare copy if I’d post a review. While I normally refrain from reviewing a project you can’t (easily) find, it was a deal too good to pass up.
Back through the early decades of the Southern Gospel, solidly through the ’70s and into the ’80s, groups thought nothing of recording a song another group had cut. The goal was to make the best recording possible, whether or not the song had ever been previously recorded. In the 1980s, the trend started moving toward this being something only done on table projects.
By the 1990s, the trend was to only record older classics. With Having Fun, Gold City largely bucked that trend, offering fans Gold City versions of songs that had (in some cases) been popularized relatively recently by other groups.
Mark Trammell’s hand at the project’s helm is shown in the song selection. During his years with the Cathedrals, he had been on their recordings of “The Rocks Shall Not Cry Out” and “Heavenly Parade.” The Kingsmen cut “Over in the Gloryland” a few years before he went with the group and—knowing Jim Hamill’s emcee style—undoubtedly sang it at least occasionally when he was with the group.
Two songs on Having Fun nod to Mark Trammell’s brother Jerry Trammell’s years with the Florida Boys; “When I Stand In the Presence” (penned by Mark and Jerry) and “Beyond the Sunset” were both introduced on the Florida Boys’ 1976 recording He Loves You.
There is definitely a place for new songs, and for recordings introducing those new songs. Gold City’s albums of new songs have been among the finest albums of new songs ever released in the genre. But anyone who enjoys their sound from this era should be grateful that they left us this forgotten gem.
Rating: 5 stars. ♦ Average song rating: 4.6 stars. ♦ Group members: Jay Parrack (tenor), David Hill (lead), Mark Trammell (baritone), Tim Riley (bass), Shane Jenkins (pianist), Adam Borden (bass guitarist), Doug Riley (drummer). ♦ Produced by: Mark Trammell. ♦ Song list: I Thank My Savior For it All; Until He Comes; Heavenly Parade; While Ages Roll; Beyond the Sunset; The Rocks Shall Not Cry Out; When I Stand in the Presence; Reunion in Heaven; On the Sunny Banks; Over in the Gloryland.