Southern Gospel Perspective

My thoughts and opinions about Southern Gospel Music, both past and present. Feel free to comment and criticize...

Location: United States


Top Ten Live Recordings

***NOTE: Thanks to Daniel Mount for pointing out that The Cats Christmas A Capella was NOT live. I was a little too quick with the cut and paste. Thanks Daniel.

A couple of posts back I did a "top ten recordings" list. While doing that, I decided I should really break that into Live and Studio recordings since they are so different and should be judged with different criteria in mind. Live recordings involve the MC and their abilities to communicate. They involve humor. They involve the instrumentalists much more than studio recordings do (usually studio recordings have studio musicians).

So, the top of this list will be no surprise if you read my previous list, but look over the rest of the list and give me some feedback on how you would rate them.

10. Live and On Stage - The Hinsons
This one almost didn't make the list due to my carelessness at the top... This recording and this group certain deserve to be here too. They were a group that sounded great on a studio recording, but live was really where it was at for them. This recording has songs like "King Jesus", "Ain't That What It's All About" (recently re-recorded by Gold City), "I Never Shall Forget The Day", "Sea Walker", "Hallelujah Meeting", "The Lighthouse" and others. Very good and available on CD, which is not true of some on this list.

9. A Christmas Homecoming - Gaither Homecoming Artists
Here is a fine Christmas CD with some of the best Southern Gospel artists at that time. This is the first of several Christmas projects by the Gaither machine, but I don't think they ever did it better than here.

8. Big and Live - The Kingsmen
A tremendous live album that contains many of what are now considered Kingsmen standards. The "Ton of Fun" really put it together here. Songs include: "Ready to Leave", "Wait For Me At Jesus Feet", "When I Wake Up", "Love Lifted Me", "Glory Road" and many more. If soaring tenor and growling bass are your thing, this is your recording.

7. Live From The Alabama State Coliseum - JD Sumner & The Stamps
A very good live session from one of the great bass singers ever. Also a terrific lineup of singers around him. Jack Toney, Jerry Trammell, Ed Hill along with JD make up a high-powered lineup in any realistic estimation. The song selection is also very strong with "I John Saw", "Rainbow of Love", "If It Had Not Been", "Music, Love and Happiness", "The Touch of His Hand", and others. JD's humor is also a major highlight of this particular recording.

6. Live in Atlanta - The Cathedrals
This groups was Kirk, Mark, Roger, George and Glen. Songs like "Rivers of Joy", "We Are So Blessed", "I'm Gonna Live Forever", and of course "We Shall See Jesus", make this live recording a huge success.

5. Greater Vision Quartets Live at NQC - Greater Vision
This is the recording where the best trio in SG history brought in some of the best bass singers in the business to record fifteen exceptional songs. I should mention that some of the bass singers were brought in posthumously via recording. Really, every song on here is good and the weakest one is sung by George Younce. That should really tell you the quality of this project.

4. Gospel's Alive and Well - The Imperials
Here is the first of many live recordings on my list. If this had been recorded using modern equipment, etc. it would probably be the best ever. As it is, there are few better.

3. Live at Murray State - The Stamps
This live recording completely captured what it was to see The Stamps in concert during their heyday. JD's humor along with awesome vocals and song selection make this recording easily a top ten.

2. Travelin' Live - The Cathedrals
Another live project that is simply awesome. Also another recording that if modern techniques were used, it would be even better. Songs include "Blood Washed Band", "Whosoever Will", "Boundless Love", "Homeland" and others. The best live recording by the best lineup The Cats ever put together.

1. Live, Naturally - The Kingsmen
These guys were known more for their live recordings than their studio work. This recording and "Big and Live" give you the obvious reasons why. Jim Hamill could work an audience (and group) like no other MC before or since. The song selection and pure entertainment value of this one is unequaled.


Anonymous Daniel J. Mount said...

The Cathedrals' Christmas recording (#1 on this list of live albums) was a studio project, I believe. They may have done a live version, which I have not heard about yet, but the original version was recorded in a studio.

5:23 AM  
Blogger Southern Gospel Perspective said...

You are right, Daniel. I just had a mental breakdown there. Thanks for the correction.

2:14 PM  
Anonymous Daniel J. Mount said...

You're welcome. No problem!

5:05 AM  
Anonymous quartet-man said...

You had some great ones there, but some missing as well. I would replace some with ones like Performance by the Oak Ridge Boys, Live by the Oak Ridge Boys, Alive Deep In The Heart Of Texas by the Cathedrals, Live and Live Again by Gold City, Live and Alive by the Singing Americans (I think that was the title. It was the one with English and I Bowed Back Home Again In Indiana by the Gaither Vocal Band, Imperials had some one of my faves was the one with Russ Taff. The Stamps had some other great live ones, The Cathedrals had some great live videos that sadly weren't made as albums too (same with GVB). I am sure I am forgetting some.

10:49 PM  
Anonymous Matt G. said...

Though, I'm a bit late on this thread, I have to say I'm suprised that neither of the Happy Goodman's live albums (Wanted Live and The Very Best of the Happy Goodmans Live) were on your list. I liken them to a mixed quartet version of the Kingsmen of the Hamill era. I would probably nominate the Statesmen "On Stage" and the double album by the Downings that escapes me right now. The Perrys live album, that also escapes me, deserves honorable mention.

9:19 PM  
Blogger Southern Gospel Perspective said...

Thanks Matt, for the comments. I will be completely honest and admit that I've never been a big fan of the Happy Goodman Family. I hope that is not heresy... but that probably clouded my judgement on them a little.

The Statesmen album you mentioned would definitely fit in there somewhere though. It was a difficult list to make and I'm not sure who I would move out...

Thanks again!

8:14 AM  

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