Classic CD: Georgia Live (Kingsmen)
Average Song Rating: 4.3 (of 5)
Song List: Give the World a Smile; Moses; Behold the Master Cometh; I’ll Pray For You; Mention the Name; In the Garden; Wicked Path of Sin; Beautiful Star of Bethlehem; What Did He Ever See In Me; First Step; Little is Much; The Son Will Rise.
Available from: Crossroads.
Georgia Live, released by the Kingsmen in 1995, has been out of print for several years. It was recently reissued digitally by Crossroads as part of a series of discounted reissues ($7.99 instead of the standard cost of $9.99 for a new digital album).
Like any good Kingsmen live project, Georgia Live kicks off with a convention song, in this case “Give the World a Smile.” After a decent mid-tempo song, “Moses,” Eldridge Fox was featured on the album’s first major highlight, “Behold the Master Cometh.” The song was inspired by a trip Fox took to the Holy Land, specifically when a backwoods Tennessee preacher read from John at Lazarus’ tomb.
After a string of several songs, “I’ll Pray for You” (featuring Jim Hamill), “Mention the Name” (featuring Chris Collins), and “In the Garden” (featuring Randy Miller), the Kingsmen Band sang a bluegrass arrangement of “Wicked Path of Sin.”
“Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” featured a classic Kingsmen slow-it-down and embellish-the-notes encore.
Tim Surrett sang “What did He Ever See in Me,” a song with a soundtrack. When introducing the song, Hamill emphasized how important live accompaniment was to him (and the Kingsmen style). This is somewhat interesting retrospectively, since today’s Kingsmen sing their entire program with soundtracks.
Another project highlight was Chris Collins’ rendition of “Little is Much,” using the same arrangement that Larry Ford (Homecoming Favorites, 1999) and Ernie Haase (Stand By Me Live, 2004) have used. I’m not entirely sure whether this particular arrangement originated with the Kingsmen or even earlier. (Do any of you know the arrangement’s history?)
The project closes with an uptempo convention song, “The Son Will Rise.”
While I have most of the Kingsmen’s classic live albums from the 70s and 80s, I hadn’t been as familiar with their 1990s sound. While this project may not be quite as good as Big & Live, Live…Naturally, or Live at the University of Alabama, it is in the same ballpark, and it comes pretty close.