Randall Reviews It by Randall Hamm for SGNScoops Magazine
This month I feature three new releases from the Nelons, the Mark Dubbeld Family and Tribute Quartet.
And as always … pick up a copy of these CDs wherever you get your good gospel music. — Randall Hamm
Producer: Jason Clark
Gentle On My Mind (John Hartford); Colors of The Wind (Alan Menken-Stephen Schwartz); Coat Of Many Colors (Dolly Parton); You Needed Me (Charles Goodrum); Daddy & Son (Jason Clark-Dony McGuire-Reba Rambo McGuire); Bridge Over Troubled Water (Paul Simon); Oh Shenandoah (Traditional); Take Me Home Country Roads (John Denver-Bill Danoff-Mary Danoff); American Trilogy (Mickey Newbury); Mama Tried (Merle Haggard); Battlefield (Vince Gill-Sonya Isaacs Yeary);
What more can you say of the Nelons? After 40 years of singing Gospel music, what more can they accomplish? How about dipping into some of the greatest country songs ever written and doing them well? Yes, the Nelons dip into the Americana songbook and bring us nine of the greatest country songs ever written and sung and put their stamp on them. This 11-song CD will definitely win the Nelons some new fans and open up new doors for their brand of gospel. This CD also features one new song from the pens of Dony and Reba Rambo McGuire, who teamed with Jason to write “Daddy and Son.” There’s also an offering from Vince Gill and Sonya Isaacs Yeary, “Battlefield.”
The CD kicks off with a big orchestral sweep and intro into “Gentle on My Mind.” From there, it’s a walk down memory lane, and you’ll find yourself humming these classic tunes and to quote a line … and for hours, you’ll be humming these tunes, and they’ll be laying gentle on your mind. I’ve never heard the Nelons sing as well as they have in bringing back these songs. Also, the Nelons bring back mostly the original instrumentation, not straying far from the original, and that’s what I love. Tunes that evoke memories for us who grew up with the originals, from Merle Haggard’s “Mama Tried” through one of the later country tunes, Anne Murray’s “You Needed Me.” The Nelons have never sounded better, and I hope that Daywind pushes this album for a Grammy nomination … it’s that great of an album. The choice to close with “Battlefield” is fantastic. It’s a cappella to start, and fiddles fill in the middle and continue to the end. The song is sung with conviction and heart and ends the CD on a fantastic note. Songs of faith and family, God and country all on one collection of unforgettable songs. Visit the Nelons to get your copy at www.thenelons.com/ or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thenelonsofficial.
Strongest Songs: “Gentle On My Mind,” “Coat Of Many Colors,” “You Needed Me,” “Battlefield”
The Mark Dubbeld Family
Producer: Gus Gaches/Jeremy Peace
Label: Song Garden/Garden Crown
Who Is On The Lord’s Side (Ray Smith SESAC); Keep On Believing Medley (Irving Berlin-Frank C. Huston-George A. Young); The Cross Won Its Victory (Janene A. Dubbeld-Dixie Phillips BMI); This Joy Is Mine (Janene A. Dubbeld BMI); Precious Jesus (Glenda Clay BMI); There’s A Way Back (Janene A. Dubbeld BMI); When You’re Broken (Janene A. Dubbeld BMI); Joy Comes In The Morning (Larry Hinson BMI); God’s Makin’ A Way (Dixie Phillips-Bernadette Nagus-Melanie Watson BMI); The Snakes In Trouble (Janene A. Dubbeld BMI) He’s Coming Again (Linda Stalls ASCAP)
The Mark Dubbeld Family is back with a new album and a new label home, the Song Garden Music Group. The group is signed to the Garden Crown label. It’s a new label, new CD and the best album the family has recorded. The family – consisting of mom and dad, Mark and Janene, and children, Elena, Channing and Britton – have brought new life to some old classics and some great new songs, and new Janene Dubbeld songs. The CD kicks off with a great rendition of “Who Is on the Lord’s Side,” imploring whose side you are on. Some of the favorite songs include “When You’re Broken” and “Precious Jesus,” both of which feature daughter Elena. “Broken” is a beautiful ballad written by Janene, while “Precious Jesus” will have you shouting hallelujah all through the song. I told Mark a few years ago that his sound would be right, to sing material from the Happy Goodmans and the Hinsons. When I talked to Mark at the National Quartet Convention, he said, ‘you’ll like this new CD’ and reminded me of what I had said. He said songs for them to record included suggestions of Happy Goodmans and Hinson material.
Among the songs covered is “He’s Coming Again” by the Happy Goodmans and “Joy Comes In The Morning” by the Hinsons. They take these classics, make them their own and will bring the house down in concert when sung. I’m hoping the family will record more of those groups’ material or songs similar to them in the future. One of the most interesting and intriguing songs is “The Snakes in Trouble.” It is a song that was written based on a sermon that Janene heard from Dr. Roy Lauter. It’s also one of my favorites on the CD. This family has come a long way since I first met them in 2010. Overall, this is one CD that DJs need to program and play and that gospel lovers need to grab. Visit the Mark Dubbeld Family web site to get a copy of “Joy” at www.mjdubbeld.com/merch or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/MarkDubbeldFamily.
Strongest Songs: “Precious Jesus,” “When You’re Broken,” “Joy Comes in the Morning”
“Quartet Tribute, Volume 1”
Producer: Gerald Wolfe
Songs: I’m Standing on the Solid Rock (Harold Lane); Over The Moon (V.B. Ellis); Every Question Will Be Answered (Chris Binion-Rodney Griffin); His Tomb Is Empty (C.A. Wright-J Wright); Come On Let’s Go to that Land (Public Domain); Hide Thou Me (L.R. Tolbert-Thoro Harris); Move That Mountain (Joe Thomas); What a Meeting in the Air (Marty Phillips-Ann Phillips); I’ve Been With Jesus (Arthur Smith); Hold On (Jesus Will Come)
In this age of Southern gospel, amongst all the great songs that are being sung and released, the audiences and folks listening to the radio and seeing groups in concert still want to hear the classics that they grew up with. That is something that will never change. Tribute Quartet has released a CD that contains 10 great classics that that have been recorded over the years by everyone from the Statesmen Quartet to the Cathedrals. Gary Casto and the group solidly sing these classics and with simple instrumentation and heartfelt singing, bringing these classics back. Kicking off with the Speer Family classic “I’m Standing on the Solid Rock” sets the listener in the proper mood, singing and humming and remembering the first time he/she heard it. I don’t know how many groups have covered “Over the Moon,” a tenor feature, but tenor singer Riley Clark does a wonderful job on it. And the rest of the CD is well sung, and as I said, it will bring back a lot of memories for Southern gospel fans who remember the time and place they first heard these classics. The key to doing a CD consisting of classic songs is to keep it simple, to not re-invent the song and to sing the songs from the heart. Plus, it helps to not go overboard with instrumentation, keeping it simple so that the vocals can shine. Thanks to Gerald Wolfe who was handling the production chores, who did just that for this release. Visit Tribute’s web site and get a copy of “Quartet Tribute Volume 1” by visiting www.tributequartet.com/product-category/cd or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tributequartet.
Strongest Songs: “I’m Standing on the Solid Rock,” “What a Meeting in the Air,” “Hold On (Jesus Will Come)”
By Randall Hamm
First published by SGNScoops Magazine in December 2017
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