The Southerngospelblog.com Traditional/Progressive Rating System
Last week, I floated the possibility of augmenting my reviews by adding a rating of how traditional the project is. The purpose of a review is to help the reader know if he or she wants to buy the project, and I think this feature will help. Reader Diana found reading another blog’s review of a Valor project that a reviewer who rates albums she likes highly on their own merits can rate an entirely different project highly, also on its own merits.
So an overall 5-star system (which I might also implement shortly) doesn’t really cut it for telling you whether or not you want the project. I can find something nice to say about just about everything; I’ve only reviewed one CD for this blog where that was a challenge. But just because the project has its nice aspects doesn’t mean that you, the reader, will like it. I think that adding this traditional/progressive rating system will augment your ability to read one of my reviews and know whether or not you would like to purchase the project.
So let’s dive right in.
Definition: Vocals, Piano, and possibly Bass: An album style unchanged from Southern Gospel albums of the 1950s and early 1960s
Examples: Dixie Echoes Sounds of Sunday, Dixie Melody Boys Smooth and Easy, Five Broke Single Boys self-titled project
Definition: Sounds quite a bit like “extremely traditional,” but with slightly augmented instrumentation
Examples: Legacy Five Heritage series, Greater Vision Church Hymnal series, Dove Brothers Sing the Quartet Way, Mark Trammell Trio Journey Thus Far, Inspirations I Know
Definition: A Southern Gospel fan of the ’50s would instantly recognize this as Southern Gospel, but would wonder what had happened to the instrumentation. Mostly old-fashioned arrangements such as would be found on a “very traditional project,” but perhaps with some big ballads
Examples: Cathedrals Alive! Deep in the Heart of Texas, Kingdom Heirs Gonna Keep Telling, Palmetto State It’s Settled, Perrys Life of Love
Definition: Still distinctively Southern Gospel, but all or nearly all songs have modern instrumentation
Examples: Mark Trammell Trio Once Upon a Cross, Collingsworth Family God is Faithful, Greater Vision Live at First Baptist Atlanta, Gold City Are You Ready, Legacy Five London
Definition: Utilizes enough traditional arrangements to still be traditional, but has some more modern vocals and instrumentation
Example: Brian Free & Assurance Live in New York City, Signature Sound Get Away Jordan
I’m not going to try to define the second half, at least not yet. Just extrapolate in your imagination from the first five.
Example: Dove Brothers Anything But Ordinary, Everything but Typical
Example: Gold City Revival
Example: Mercy’s Mark Something’s Happening
Example: Crabb Family
Definition: Contemporary Christian Music in all but name
Notice that I do not assign numbers to the scale. Obviously, I number it 1 to 10 mentally, just to preserve my sanity as I try to keep everything straight. But I do not post it publicly because reader dbmurray’s observation that a straight 1 to 10 scale would make it appear that traditional albums were inherently better is well taken. Of course, in the opinion of many Southern Gospel fans, traditional albums are inherently better, but that’s not the point here. The point is to make these reviews more informative and better enable you to decide whether you want to purchase the CD.
So what do you think? Am I on the right track?