Southern Gospel Perspective

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

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Location: United States

11/16/2006

Top Ten Recordings

A few disclaimers first:
These are recordings that I've either heard or own or both.

There are many recordings made before my time that probably deserve mention in this list, but I really can't include them if I'm not COMPLETELY familiar with them.

These are my personal choices that are all about the music and have nothing to do with cover art, packaging, etc.

If you made a similar list, I'm sure it would be completely different, but I do hope you get some enjoyment out of reading my choices. And who knows, maybe there are some here you haven't heard and so will give you the chance to hear something new and good.

This list will not include "compilations" type recordings such as the "Masters of Gospel" series, "Just Call It Southern" series, etc.

I've decided to include "live" recordings, but debated much about it with myself. I may eventually come up with two separate lists since these types of recordings are so different and involve a completely different dynamic.

10. From The Heart - The Oak Ridge Boys
Many did not even want to consider this recording by The Oaks after their many years in Country Music. But if you give it a listen, you will quickly realize that it is an excellent recording and definitely Southern Gospel.

9. Pillars of Faith - Gold City
This recording has so many songs on it that are now Gold City staples, that there is no way to leave it off. Songs include: 'Tis So Sweet to Trust In Jesus, If God Be For Us, There Rose a Lamb, One More Time Will Do It, and others.

8. 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.

7. It Comes From The Heart - Perfect Heart
This debut recording from Perfect Heart went on to have the Song of the Year and a number one song in "Somebody Touched The Lord". Other great songs were "They That Sow", "He's Coming", "It's A Fine, Fine Day", and many other superb songs.

6. 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.

5. Black and White - The Singing Americans
These guys put together many great recordings during the 80's. This one is unmatched. Michael English, Rick Strickland, Dwayne Burke, and Ed Hill sound as good as any quartet ever did or will.

4. 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.

3. Quartets - 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.

2. Live, Naturally - The Kingsmen
Well, I hoped you realized I wouldn't leave the "Ton of Fun" off the list. 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.

1. A Cathedral Christmas, A Capella - The Cathedrals
The only double group entry in my list. I know this is a Christmas project, but never mind that, this is simply said the very best Southern Gospel recording ever. The vocals are unbelievable, the arrangements are (or were for the time) new and interesting, the songs selected are a mixture of everything you would want on a Christmas CD. It wouldn't be Christmas to me without this CD, but don't limit yourself to listening one time a year, this one can be played and enjoyed year 'round.

I hope you enjoyed this, feel free to comment and even give me your list or some you think I left off.

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