Top 10: Cathedrals Alumni Projects

Recently, John Scheideman encouraged me to post a list of my favorite non-Cathedrals albums by Cathedrals members. I thought it was a good idea, but decided to think it over for a week or two before posting. I decided to focus this list on post-Cathedrals albums; pre-Cathedrals albums would be a list of its own.

  1. Quartets – Greater Vision. This is, in my opinion, Greater Vision’s finest project. It was a popular project for the group, but had the unfortunate effect for them of whetting everyone’s appetite for them to add a bass singer.
  2. Stand By Me Live – Ernie Haase & Signature Sound. The project starts off with “Heavenly Parade”–and they had completely won the audience over before that song was over. Other highlights of the project include an acapella rendition of “Little is Much” and one of Haase’s best versions of “Oh What a Savior.” I rank this project so high since it was made before Signature Sound was fully part of the Homecoming Tour, and proves just what they could do on their own.
  3. Are You Ready (Gold City) – This was Gold City’s definitive project from their Mark Trammell days. It features songs like “Get Up, Get Ready,” “More Like Jesus,” “He Lives,” “Saved,” and, of course, Jay Parrack’s signature song, “Are You Ready?”
  4. Once Upon a Cross (Mark Trammell Trio) – I still stand by my initial assessment that this is one of the albums of the decade.
  5. Live at Music City (Legacy Five) – It was a tossup whether to rank this or London higher, but “I Have Been Changed” gave this the edge.
  6. Live at First Baptist Atlanta (Greater Vision). This is the definition of a perfectly paced concert, and features, among other songs, “Soon We Shall See” and “A Pile of Crowns.”
  7. London (Legacy Five) – Legacy Five’s finest studio project from the days Roger was still with them.
  8. Far Beyond This Place (Greater Vision) – This was their breakout recording, featuring “My Name is Lazarus,” a spellbinding rendition of “Redemption Draweth Nigh,” and a guest vocal from Glen Payne on “I Believe.”
  9. Pressed Down, Shaken Together, Running Over (Gold City) – This project, coming on the heels of Are You Ready? a year before, cemented Gold City’s position as the Southern Gospel supergroup following the Cathedrals’ retirement.
  10. Hold Forth the Light (Gerald Wolfe) – This 1988 solo project is one of Southern Gospel’s forgotten gems.

Honorable mention: Beside Still Waters (Mark Trammell Trio), 20th Anniversary Celebration (Gold City), and Feelin’ Fine and Encores (Old Friends Quartet).

This list focuses on projects within the last ten years or so, in part because these are the alumni projects with which I am most familiar, and in part because after all the projects I’ve heard, I still think these ten are the best.

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29 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. I guess I’m in the minority here, but I really fail to see what makes “I’ve Been Changed” such a fantastic song. I don’t dislike it – but I’m not foaming at the mouth because of it either.

  2. I want to apologize to Daniel here, because I did something on his blog that I hate having done on my blog(it’s been done, though)…namely, I posted a comment before I read the entire post carefully.

    I posted my first comment here unaware that Daniel’s list was intended to be a post-Cathedral liat rather than a pre-Cathedral one…so my comment, however valid, did not really apply in this thread…sorry about that.

    Too bad we posters don’t have the wherewithal to edit our comments…if I could have, I would have.

    Anyway…sorry, Daniel…perhaps you can clean up the comment thread here so I don’t look worse than I already do…lol…and maybe you can use my above comment for your “pre” list.

  3. What?!?!?!?! Far Beyond this place is GV’s BREAKOUT??!?!?!? Obviously you never heard GV when they had a ‘true’ tenor and they were breaking style barriers back in the ’90’s. Come on…..

  4. Bob, actually I have heard most of their non-table projects from that era, and I’m sticking to my assessment. Look at all the doors “My Name is Lazarus” opened for them. Or try comparing how many SN Fan Awards they won before the album to how many they’ve won since. 😉

  5. I agree Daniel that Far Beyond This Place was their true “breakout” album in terms of attaining the level of popularity like they have now. They were popular before that album, but it was that album in particular that really took them to the next level.

  6. Not a bad list, but it is hard to take it completely seriously since it does not have “It Comes From The Heart” by Perfect Heart in the top 1 or 2. This recording included the #1 Song and Song of the Year “Somebody Touched The Lord”. The first time this was ever done by a group on their very first single release. Other great songs on that one included “They That Sow”, “He’s Coming” and “It’s A Fine, Fine Day”.

    I would agree with GV’s Quartets as #1 or 2 though.

    Also, with regards to GV’s breakout recording. I agree that “Far Beyond This Place” is the one. Great recording with multiple #1 ‘s and a SOTY.

  7. Can’t wait to hear L5’s Christmas and Know So Salvation albums!

  8. Wow. Did you ever see in person the Gerald/Mark/Chris group?

    There were indeed many good songs on that project – but sheesh. This was the beginning of the soft-pedaling for them. The over orchestrated tracks, the advent of Rodney over-singing his solos, the decrease in SG on the album. I can’t argue the fan awards – however – your assumption would be like saying the Cat’s breakout album was ‘Raise the Roof’ – arguably one of the worst.

    • Raise the Roof…now there’s an album that seems to get panned everywhere I turn. I haven’t heard it, so I’ll take other people’s word for it that it was sub-par. I will say this though—there were two absolute gems from that project that were done on Deep in the Heart of Texas, and those were “Your Blesser Ain’t Never Been Blessed” and “Don’t Be Afraid.” I don’t think anybody could disagree with me on those two.

      • That’s funny; my dad got out this album on Sunday, and I remembered all over again why 80% of the tracks did not make it onto iTunes.

        The funny thing is, I don’t think it’s the musical quality. The ones you mentioned were indeed great songs, and then there’s “Oh Come Along.” I think I like that better than the two you mentioned. But the lyrics on some of the others really make me cringe!

      • Here’s the deal. It’s hardly a bad CD. It’s a decent CD – after twelve years or so of Cathedrals fans getting used to the exceptional.

      • Mmm…OK, you’ve got a point! I keep thinking of things to argue against that, but I really can’t.

      • Well, I think we were both saying that it’s not a bad CD, and it’s not. It’s just not as power-packed with monster hits as, say, Travelin’ Live, Master Builder, or High and Lifted Up.

      • Honestly – some of those songs make me cringe! “No News Is Good News” is the one that comes to mind. But I would admit that it reaches a moderate level of mediocrity on the basis of the really good songs counter-balancing the others! (Tongue-in-cheek, kind of)

      • “Still Drinking Water From the Well” is a decent one. Not my fave—musically, the verses are kind of awkward. Great chorus though, and have you heard the live version of that one? Roger’s piano work is stunning.

      • Doesn’t the Collingsworth family have a song very similar to “No News is Good News?” It’s called “I Know,” and I think it’s a great song. But I’ll admit it’s better written than “No News.”

      • Aaaaaah, I just read the lyrics to “Somebody Loves Me.” Gag me with a wooden spoon. I think I’m beginning to get it now… 😆

      • Man, SoGo, we disagree about as often as we agree! “Somebody Loves Me” is an older song, I think, almost a convention song, and I like that one! 😆 I never thought about it being kind of high sugar!

        To be specific, I can’t stand “Hereafter” – (“If you’re not here after what I’m here after, you’ll be here after a while,” or something along that line) and “No News is Good News (When You’re Watching Your TV).” I wouldn’t give 50 cents for “Never Before, Never Again,” but on reviewing the song list, I can see Daniel’s point that it’s an OK album.

      • Well at least we agree on “Champion of Love…” Remember? 🙂

        The thing I can’t stand about “Somebody Loves Me” is the whole “I’m in love with Jesus” concept. That’s a pet peeve of my mine—just drives me crazy whenever I hear it in a song.

        I couldn’t find the lyrics to “Hereafter.” Sounds pretty painful from what you’re saying.

        By the way, since you don’t like “No News is Good News,” does that mean you don’t like the Collingsworths’ “I Know” either? Or perhaps you haven’t heard it. Maybe you wouldn’t like it, but I love it!

      • Haven’t heard it, unfortunately. I need to stock up on some of their recent music.

        But you know that some older music did have that “in love” theme, and it wasn’t like “Jesus is my boyfriend.” That’s why I’m OK with this song, I think – It’s just quaint instead of mushy-gushy. To listen to it, it’s very clean and wholesome without any “ick” factor. Or maybe it’s not as old as I think … Anyway I still like it! And it features Ernie; you need to look it up. 😉

      • I looked it up. 🙂 I wasn’t implying that it wasn’t clean/wholesome. Just that even in older stuff, I think that whole concept is kind of fluffy. By the way, I didn’t know that Jesus was “in love” with me (!) I think I’ll just take “Jesus loves me.”

        Oh, you *need* to check out the Collingsworths. Their latest project The Answer is incredible. If you visit the music section of their website and scroll down, you can find full-length samples from that CD and others as well. I particularly recommend “Oh the Thought That Jesus Loves Me” (now there’s a truly great song about Jesus’ love!) Here’s the page:

      • 😀 Well if you’re gonna be His bride, I hope He is a little bit, but I get what you’re sayin’.

        Full-length samples! Woo-hoo! Now I just have to find the project on iTunes, since I can’t afford the whole thing. I’ve heard that song title name and wanted it already.

      • Exactly! You can just buy the individual songs they’re not previewing instead of buying the whole thing.

      • Amy – yes, “Oh the Thought that Jesus Loves Me” should be in the collection of every fan of Southern Gospel music.

        I have 22,000 or so SG mp3s, many converted from tapes and LPs, others from CDs. Among all those, in my all-time stats, that song is the one I’ve played the most.

      • It’s close for me. Number five. But my number one…is “Swing Down Chariot” by the GVB and EHSS. From the Together video (video, not studio—the live version is much, much better). Not only is it #1 among my gospel songs, it’s #1 overall.

      • Ah! Well, my “Swing down Chariot” play count is split between enough different renditions that I’m not sure any of those renditions has a play count above 15.

      • I’ve heard quite a few. None of them touches that version in my book…not even the Elvis one!

  9. Daniel.

    I don’t have all of those projects but I do agree with you on the ones that I do have.

  10. I can’t believe that none of Perfect Heart’s albums were on the list. Perfect Heart was a number one quartet at the time Danny Funderburk was with them. They even had the number one song of the Cathedrals. Which shocked me.