Randall Reviews It featuring the McKameys and New Speer Family
This month, what could be the last album the McKameys record, “The Crown,” is out and I have the privilege of reviewing it. If you had the chance to read last month’s SGNScoops, we featured the New Speer Family on the cover, and here is a review of their latest CD, “A Singing Heritage.” So without further adieu,
Let the reviews begin….
As always, if you enjoy the reviews, pick up this music, or download it, wherever you get good gospel music.
Please send your latest releases for review to Randall Hamm, c/o Q-100 WFLQ-FM, P.O. Box 100, French Lick, Ind., 47432.
By Randall Hamm
Producer: Roger Fortner and Jeff Collins
Label: Horizon 2019
Songs: “We All Need A Savior” (Sheryl Farris BMI); “You Must Be Born Again” (Rebbecca J. Peck – John M Robinson BMI); “Cleanse Me” (Edwin Orr – John McNeill PD); “Go Back and Pray” (Traditional); “The Holy Spirit Prayed” (Tina Sadler BMI); “Heavy” (Sue C. Smith – Chase McDaniel – Brent Ellison BMI); “Don’t Forget” (Sheryl Farris BMI); “The Crown” (Sheryl Farris BMI); “God Is Good” (Sue C Smith – Tony Wood – Joseph Habedank BMI); “From Dust To Glory” (Sheryl Farris BMI)
The McKameys’ fifty-fourth project, and maybe the last project the group will record as they are today, is entitled “The Crown.” They will retire from the road and performing live concerts in November of this year. The last performance will be in Knoxville, Tenn., on November 23. If you get a chance to see them anywhere in the meantime, do so, as you will be blessed. The McKameys will definitely be missed on the concert circuit.
This new CD is filled with pure mountain harmonies and great messages that come through anointed singers. The CD begins with a Sheryl Farris song, “We All Need A Savior,” and there’s only one true Savior, Jesus Christ.
Sheryl wrote a total of four songs on this project, including the first single release, “From Dust To Glory.” Man was created from the dust and to dust he shall return. But thanks to our Savior, we once again can obtain glory and be with the one who created us.
The CD is book ended by Sheryl Farris songs, as well as in between, showing that this is one of the strongest CDs in a while from the McKameys. One of my favorite songs is from the pen of Tina Sadler, who wrote so many great songs like “God Is Good” recorded by Gaither Vocal Band, and Peg gets her strongest song in a while with Sadler’s “The Holy Spirit Prayed.” Sometimes, we don’t know the words to say, but the Holy Spirit intervenes and helps us pray and say what we cannot say. This is my pick for the second single release.
Eli returns with a song entitled “Heavy.” The cut, fully orchestrated with strings, is a beautiful tune. On piano is Eli’s dad Roger Fortner. Sometimes events and life, just get “Heavy” and I’m so glad that my Savior will help me bear those burdens, if I just ask. Eli didn’t have a song to sing on the last project, but according to Eli, nothing was wrong, they just couldn’t find a song.
If this is the last album the McKameys record, they will go out on a high note. Just an absolute wonderful CD, from start to finish. As we all are asked to do, “Finish well.” If this is it, the McKameys finish well.
Strongest Songs: “From Dust To Glory,” “The Holy Spirit Prayed,” “Heavy”
Visit McKameys online HERE
New Speer Family
“A Singing Heritage”
Producer: Brian Speer
Songs: “Heaven’s Jubilee” (George Speer); “Sunset Is Coming” (Traditional); “I Feel It In My Soul” (George Speer); “I’m Building A Bridge” (Lee Roy Abernathy); “He Is Mine And I Am His” (George Speer); “The Old Gospel Ship” (Traditional); “My Home Sweet Home” (McWhorter – W.D. Paris); “Won’t We Be Happy” (J.R. Baxter – Denver Crumpler – V.O. Stamps); “The Hallelujah Chorus” (Traditional); “Sweeter Each Day” (George Speer); “The King Is Coming” (William J. Gaither); “I Never Shall Forget The Day” (George Speer)
Twenty years after the Speer Family retired, Brock Speer’s son has put together a group to continue on with the Speer family heritage. Brian Speer, baritone; along with wife Allison, soprano/lead; Ben Waites, tenor/lead; and Mike Allen, bass, have put together a group that revives the sound and music of his grandfather, George “Dad” Speer and father Brock.
Around 2000, Marc Speer, Ben Speer’s son, launched New Speer Revival to continue the legacy, along with Karen Apple of the Speers. I hope this new revival will be around for a long while.
This debut project contains 12 songs in all that the original Speers did, and five written by Dad Speer. The album begins with a snippet of Brock introducing “Heaven’s Jubilee,” which then slips into the new group doing their version. Brian takes the lead and they all do the song justice and more.
“Sunset is Coming” is a pure joy to hear, and has always been one of my Speer favorites. Allison sounds eerily like Mom Speer on this version, and brought this listener a chill.
This album features one of the most powerful and one of the last songs written by Dad Speer, “He Is Mine And I Am His.” A number of groups have cut this over the years including The Trio, composed of Kirk Talley, Ivan Parker, and Anthony Burger, who did the song on their debut album in 2000. Allison is featured and knocks the song out of the park. The whole group does it justice and more.
Other highlights are “Sweeter Each Day,” “The Old Gospel Ship,” “Home Sweet Home,” and no Speer album would be complete without doing “The King Is Coming.” The song was first done by the Bill Gaither Trio and Doug Oldham in 1970. The Speers recorded their first version of this classic in 1971 and they have become associated with the song.
Overall, Brian has put together a group that does justice to the legacy of the Speers. A great first effort and I hope they will continue to honor the legacy. Visit the New Speer Family on Facebook at facebook.com/NewSpeerFamily/ and get a copy of “A Singing Heritage” at newspeerfamily.com/store.html or wherever you get your good gospel music.
Favorite Songs: “He Is Mine And I Am His,” “The Old Gospel Ship,” “Sunset Is Coming”
Visit the New Speer Family online HERE.
By Randall Hamm
Visit Randall Hamm on Facebook HERE.
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in July 2019.
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