CD Review: Golden Celebration (Dixie Echoes)
The Dixie Echoes were launched by J.G. Whitfield in 1960; 2010 marks their fiftieth anniversary. This recording, commemorating the milestone, features about half songs new to the group and half songs the group has recorded before. Songs the group has recorded before include two Singing News Fan Awards top ten nominees for Song of the Year, “Suddenly a Rainbow” and “Lord, Lead Me Home.” They also revisit “I’ll Take Jesus,” a song that was a radio hit for the group in 1976, and concert favorite “The Devil and His Old Suitcase.”
Most of the Dixie Echoes’ recordings over the last ten or fifteen years have introduced a new tenor or bass singer, and Golden Celebration is no exception, introducing Trent Adams. He is featured on the old standby “Child of the King,” recorded frequently by bass singers for generations, and a lesser-known track penned by George Younce, “Your Sins Will Find You Out.” He also sings one of the verses on “I’ll Shake the Hand of the Lord.” Adams appears to be a solid choice to follow the path marked out by Tracy Crouch and Pat Barker, bass singers with a solidly melodic tone who could go low when needed but frequently stay in higher, more melodic territory.
The packaging is very well done, including two elements that are huge pluses, though all-too-often ignored—lyrics and a list of group members, identifying each by name and part sung. Songwriter credits are included, which is also a plus, but publishing information is not.
The project’s largely acoustic instrumentation and unadorned power harmonies are a welcome break from driving brass, compressed vocals, and vocal stacks. Golden Celebration is a relaxing delight, a simple pleasure.
Produced by: Stewart Varnado, Randy Shelnut Jr., Randy Shelnut. • Group Members: Wesley Smith, Randy Shelnut, Randy Shelnut Jr., Trent Adams, Stewart Varnado. • Review copy provided. • Song list: Lord Lead Me Home; I Am a Pilgrim; Crumbs from the Table; Devil and His Old Suitcase; Child of the King; I’ll Shake the Hand of the Lord; Suddenly a Rainbow; I’ll Take Jesus; Unworthy; Your Sins Will Find You Out. • Average song rating: 3.5 stars. CD rating: 4 stars.