CD Review: The First 15 (Liberty Quartet)
Rather than celebrate their 15th anniversary by tossing previously recorded tracks together for a compilation, Liberty Quartet took fourteen songs they had previously recorded and one new song and cut new vocal renditions with the current lineup. (There are a couple of new tracks as well—for “Good Time in the Lord,” “I’ve Read the Back of the Book,” “Climbing Higher and Higher,” and “Meet Me at the Cross.”)
For the first several years they were on the road, Liberty Quartet primarily recorded songs by other groups. A little over half—eight of the fifteen tracks—will be familiar to many Southern Gospel fans from other groups. Two high points of the project are Dan Gilbert’s rendition of “Call it What it Is,” which he had previously recorded with the group (on Amazed), and Keith Waggoner’s version of “One Holy Lamb,” which predated his entry to the group. Jordan Cragun turns in a strong rendition of “Meet Me at the Cross.”
The embossed cover art and the eight-page booklet with bios on all previous group members put the visual presentation on a higher level than most Southern Gospel projects—they’re exceptionally well done.
If you’re looking for a project with a strong selection of new songs, brilliantly arranged, you’re better off going with their previous album, The Journey (review here)—that project probably serves as a better overall introduction to the group. But once you know them and are curious to hear more of the songs that brought them to where they are today, The First 15 becomes a worthy addition to your collection.
Produced by: Liberty Quartet. • Group Members: Keith Waggoner, Dan Gilbert, Jordan Cragun, Royce Mitchell. • Review copy provided. • Song list: Good Time in the Lord; Wedding Music; Amazed at the Change; I’ve Read the Back of the Book; I’m His; Statue of Liberty; Climbing Higher and Higher; Call it What it Is; One Holy Lamb; Glory to God in the Highest; How Great Thou Art; Great Day; Meet Me at the Cross; Why Wouldn’t I; The Lighthouse. • CD rating: 4 stars.