DVD Review: “Above and Beyond” (Liberty Quartet)

Above and BeyondAfter the high rating I gave Liberty Quartet’s Timeless Treasured Hymns 2 project late last year, I have been curious to hear what they sounded like in a live concert setting. But since they tour almost exclusively on the West Coast, catching them in person hasn’t been feasible. So I did the next-best thing, watching their most recent DVD, Above and Beyond.

Since the group tours an area off the beaten path in our genre, it would probably be tempting to rely on the standard Southern Gospel jokes. But the group uses mostly original material, along with a few old standards, such as “old people like old music.” But even that line gets a unique twist, when baritone Doran Ritchey chides emcee/bass Royce Mitchell and tells him to apologize. Mitchell says, “I’m sorry–you’re old”–to another round of laughter.

This taping took place before Timeless Treasured Hymns 2 was released, and doesn’t contain any of the songs from that project. Most of the songs from There’s a Testimony, the group’s most recent project of new songs, are included. Interestingly, that project’s strongest ballad, “Near to the Heart of God,” is not one of the songs included. But “Glorious Tomorrow,” “Freedom,” and “I’m His” did make it onto the video.

The project also includes three songs each from their two previous projects. “Jericho Road,” “Walk Talk and Sing,” and “This World is Not My Home” come from Old Time Gospel Songs, Vol. 1. Meanwhile, Do You Know Him? (2005) is represented by its three strongest songs, “Wonder of His Love,” “Contagious,” and “He Had to Hold to Calvary.” The latter song is a powerful ballad; both the song and lead singer Dan Gilbert’s delivery are reminiscent of a big Kingdom Heirs/Arthur Rice anthem.

This group’s live presentation is on par with Southern Gospel’s biggest (non-Gaither) acts. The only thing holding them back from greater recognition in the genre is the fact that they tour the West Coast, where comparatively few of the Southern Gospel powers-that-be (and fans) can hear them for themselves.

Rating: Recommended.


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16 Letters to the Editor

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  1. Daniel, if it’s the same “He Had To Hold”, it was recorded by the Kingdom Heirs on their “Forever Gold” album, but was a tenor ballad for David Sutton. IT was the one major release the KH did with Steve Lacey singing lead. It’s a great song!

  2. That’s the one….you need to find a copy of that KH album. It’s one of their best.

  3. Daniel, thank you for this review. With people like you and me getting the word out about these guys, maybe they won’t be the West’s “little gospel secret” much longer.

  4. Wes, I don’t have that KH project. Some of the lyrics are:

    “But He had to hold to Calvary to ever hold to me
    He could not free Himself and set me free–He set me free
    He had to surrender to win my victory…”

    Is that the same one?

    Anyhow, the song had a very Kingdom Heirs feel to it–it didn’t hurt that the featured vocalist, Dan Gilbert, sounds closer to Arthur Rice than any other lead singer I can think of right now.

  5. With a song like that on it, I think it would be. 🙂

  6. Steve Lacey sang with the KH??

  7. To Quaid, just thought I’d pass this along. I found an older cd by the KH called Satisfied being a big KH fan I bought it and it has Steve Lacey as one of the members.

  8. If you have the Kirk Talley video “Family & Friends”, he is with KH when they sing w/ Kirk.

  9. Quaid, Steve Lacey sang lead for the KH just prior to Arthur Rice. He joined the KH after leaving Gold City, but was only there for about a year or so.

  10. Phil Cross was the Music Minister at our church back in the early 90’s when he wrote “He Had To Hold To Calvary” for an Easter musical that we performed. This was about a year or two before he formed Poet Voices. It’s amazing the number of songs that he wrote or co-wrote for that musical that have been recorded by major SG groups. Not many of them were big hits or even singles, but they were recorded nonetheless. Here is a partial list:

    “Jesus Built A Bridge” – the original Poet Voices (I believe this was their first hit)
    “Love Beyond Measure” – the original Poet Voices
    “He Had To Hold To Calvary” – Kingdom Heirs
    “Yes Is The Answer” – Perfect Heart
    “Alleluia, He’s Alive” – Greater Vision
    “Hold On” – Greenes

    Another good song from that musical was called “He Would Rather Die Then Live Without Me”.

    Scot Eaves

  11. CORRECTION of Typo

    The correct title of the other song was “He Would Rather Die Than Live Without Me”.

  12. Dean Adkins,
    Just wondering, was this a video featuring Kirk Talley and the Kindom Heirs, or was Kirk a member?
    Is this the video on which Kirk and Steve French are doing a comedy skit, and Steve imitates Bill Clinton ?

  13. RE Kirk Talley video:
    Kingdom Heirs back Kirk up on “Joy on the Other Side of Jordan”.
    Kirk’s mom & dad sing w/ him on “No One Cared For Me Like Jesus”.
    Kirk, Roger & Debra sing “He Is Here”
    Kirk w/ Cathedrals from Reunion video singing “I Know A Man”

    The rest is Kirk.

  14. Kirk wasn’t a member of the KH, but he did fill in for them on occasion at Dollywood when needed back in the early-mid 90’s. I believe he also filled in for a couple of weeks after Rick Strickland left, and maybe again after David Walker left.

  15. All this discussion of the Kingdom Heirs, Kirk Talley, Phil Cross, etc. is nice…and I suppose it’s enlightening to those who have a vested interest in those artists.:P

    But the DVD being reviwed here is not done by any of those people…it was done by a group who deserve their day in the sun.

    Let’s not use this thread as a platform to mount our own gospel music hobby horses, OK?:-)

  16. Liberty Quartet is right up there with the Gaithers. I have been to several of their concerts and they just keep getting better and better. Not only do their voices blend perfectly, but they have a ministry through their music that touches the heart for Jesus. I wish everyone could experience their music. It is a real blessing. If you have the chance, don’t miss hearing them.