CD Review: Les Butler – Revival Favorites

CD Review: Les Butler – Revival Favorites

les butlerLabel: Butler Music Group
Producers: Les and Matt Butler
Songs: The Lovely Name Of Jesus (trio); I Can’t Even Walk (trio); He Gave Me The Well (duet); Beulah Land (trio); Keep On The Firing Line (instrumental); The Lord Still Lives In This Old House (duet); I Sing Because (trio); Mercy Walked In (featuring Mark Wheeler); I Believe He’s Coming Back (trio); Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me (trio plus James Easter); Story Behind The Song, Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me (interview with James Easter)
Rating: 3 Stars (scale of 1-5)

Billed as a solo recording by Les Butler, Revival Favorites is actually a bit more than that. Several tracks list the performers as the “Les Butler Trio” with Les’ wife Bev Butler and Tenille Hutson-McCay providing harmonies. A couple more are listed as “Les and Bev Butler.” Butler is the common denominator, of course, singing lead as well as playing piano, keyboard and dobro. “Mercy Walked In” and “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me” feature guest vocals by Mark Wheeler and James Easter respectively. For good measure, there’s also an instrumental track and an extended interview with Easter.

As a CD title including the word “favorites” implies, you’re probably already familiar with most of these songs. “The Lovely Name Of Jesus” was a signature song for Jim Hamill Squire Parsons when he sang with the Kingsmen. Butler’s tempo remains steady through the song ending rather than slowing dramatically before the big finish like the Kingsmen arrangement. Another notable track is “Keep On The Firing Line” where Butler shows off his piano skills. “Mercy Walked In” and “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me” also stand out. The featured guest singers on those two tracks add variety to Revival Favorites. A huge bonus comes at the end of the CD where, for nearly seven minutes, James Easter shares his personal testimony including the life experiences that led him to write “Thank You Lord For Your Blessings On Me.”

Those are the highlights, but I’m not crazy about the rest of the CD. As much as I like hearing simplicity in a market where so many songs are over-produced, Revival Favorites swings in that direction so far that there’s really nothing unique to talk about. You could cut and paste some of the song intros and turnarounds to other songs and not notice a difference. No arrangement features a key change, and every song ends with the same level of energy it had when it started. There’s also a pacing issue when “I Can’t Even Walk” is followed by “He Gave Me The Well” in the same key, rhythm and tempo. If you aren’t paying close attention, you may not even notice that it’s a different song.

I don’t want to discourage anyone from buying this CD, however. The production quality is sound, and Revival Favorites features some great classic songs. I heard no glaring pitch issues or missed notes. Butler’s vocals are pleasing to my ear, and the harmonies are tasteful. If your ears are drawn primarily to a song’s lyrics and you’re less concerned with hearing a creative approach on the arranging/performance side of the equation, Revival Favorites could be the best way for you to experience these songs.

Category CD Reviews, Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

MusicScribe Comments

We love comments

2 Comments

  1. David
    Reply November 17, 14:35 #1 David

    Wasn’t The Lovely Name of Jesus a Squire Parsons feature? At least it was on Chattanooga Live and the 1996 reunion video.

    • David Bruce Murray
      Reply November 17, 14:47 David Bruce Murray Author

      You’re right. I’ll correct it in the article. My rememberer doesn’t remember sometimes.

Tell us what you think!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.