DVD Review: Live in Texas (The Goodmans)

Rating: 4.5 (of 5)

Average Song Rating: 4.3 (of 5)

Song List: I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now; Leave Your Sorrows; I’m Too Near Home; What Heaven Means to Me; God Walks the Dark Hills; How Much More; The Sweetest Song I Know; Looking for a City; I Was Nothing; I Saw the Man; Pickin’; Won’t it Be Wonderful There; Living in Canaan Now; Lighthouse; He’s Coming Again; The Eastern Gate.

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This project is a re-issue of a 1974 video-recording, An Evening with the Happy Goodmans, recorded live in Arlington, Texas. The footage has been remastered onto DVD.

The evening starts with a band instrumental, “I Wouldn’t Take Nothing For My Journey Now.” Vestal, Howard, Sam, and Rusty Goodman take the stage and sing several convention songs and some of their biggest hits before introducing a new song by Rusty, “How Much More.” After another convention song, they bring Johnny Cook on stage for several songs, including his famous “Looking for a City” tenor/alto duet (or is it duel) with Vestal Goodman.

On the second half of the program, Aaron Wilburn and the Voices Triumphant are each featured, as well as several more songs by two configurations of the Happy Goodmans (Johnny Cook with Howard, Sam, and Rusty Goodman and the Vestal / Howard / Sam / Rusty lineup).

The videography is excellent. The editing is also superbly done, doing a decent job of covering the project’s major surprising slip. On the first verse of the song “I’m Too Near Home,” the middle two lines are cut out; the group sings the first line, and then we see them singing the last line. The editing covered this by placing a close-up of the drum-sticks (in sync with the music) during the cut. It’s not clear whether this cut was made on the original, or for the DVD (perhaps to cover a flaw in New Haven’s source copy).

The project includes an extra section with three band members appearing on this video (Eddie Crook, Aaron Wilburn, and Rick Goodman) sharing memories of their Happy Goodmans days.

This project offers a delightful glimpse of what it was like to experience the Happy Goodman Family at their peak.

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1 Letter to the Editor

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  1. This is fantastic. Any Southern Gospel fan should love it.
    To hear Johnny Cook do “I Was Nothing”, alone, is worth the cost of the whole thing. I highly recommend this to anyone who wants a great DVD.