Two groups, two producers, same album

Two groups, two producers, same album

Once upon a time, there was a feature on our site where we would take two (or three or four) versions of a single song as recorded by multiple artists and ask readers to choose their favorite rendition. DBM even made an entire series out of it with his “Definitive” vote.

It used to be that multiple groups would record the same songs much more often, as the songs themselves were what charted. A quick look at the Singing News charts from the early 70’s, and you’ll see 2-3 artists credited for a single charting song. That hasn’t been done nearly as often today, but it does sometimes happen. For example, the Perrys and Signature Sound both recorded “Calvary Answers For Me” at roughly the same time (with the Perrys getting the hit after Shane Dunlap left SSQ), and “Truth Is Marching On” was recorded and released by Legacy Five, the Talleys, and Gold City all at the same time, with GC ultimately winning the single battle there.

As an experiment, however, I would like to see an entire album done this way. The same 10-12 songs would be chosen, but with two different artists and two different producers, with the idea being that neither group could hear what the other was doing until the album was complete. I’m also not talking about a “classics” or hymns recording, either. I’m talking new, previously unrecorded songs; that way there’s no precedent or “definitive” version to reference.¬†Obviously, you would have to allow both groups to work together to select the songs for the project, as some songs simply don’t work for some singers. This in itself, however, could lead to a really strong project.

Why am I even thinking of such a project? Well, for starters, it’d be a really good creative experiment – how would two different artists and producers interpret the same song? Would one be better than the other? Would they sound similar or totally different? Secondly, it could lead to both groups trying their best to outdo each other, which (ideally) would result in two really strong versions of a song rather than one mediocre version.

Another interesting aspect could be the studio musicians. Producers typically have a “go-to” list of musicians for recording based on the material, but there are a limited number of qualified folks, so some overlap may occur. This could mean that the same guitar solo or piano lick could wind up in both versions of a song that is otherwise totally different.

This could be a really good gimmick for a label like Daywind, who is currently riding the Quartet Night Across America series. Pull two of their established quartets (who are known for different styles) and put them on the project (so there’s no label conflict). You could even boost sales a bit by allowing each version of the album to be sold individually, as well as in a double-CD package with 2-3 “bonus” tracks of both groups singing together. (Side note: for RIAA purposes, the sale of one double album is counted as two units sold, just FYI).

For marketing, you can time it to release at NQC or the Memphis Quartet Show, which would allow for a really fun showcase where the groups could take turns on their songs, or even work up a schtick where group members are mixed up to sing the songs, with the audience voting on which version they prefer (and obviously closing with the “joint group” songs from the double-disc version).

What do you think? Is this a project you’d like to see? If so, what two groups would you pick? For the purpose of this survey, we won’t limit it to groups on the same label (since this is, at least right now, a completely hypothetical project). For that matter, which producers would you choose?

I’ll start off with a couple different ideas….

  1. Ernie Haase & Signature Sound (produced by Wayne Haun) and Legacy Five (produced by Trey Ivey)
  2. The Kingsmen (produced by Jeff Collins) and Gold City (produced by Michael Sykes)
  3. The Perrys (produced by Wayne Haun) and The Browders (produced by Kevin Ward)
  4. Canton Junction (produced by Garry Jones) and Triumphant (produced by Wayne Haun)

Any others??

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Kyle Boreing

Kyle has been writing for MusicScribe since 2008. He is a musician, producer, arranger, and occasional quartet singer, who pays way too much attention to recordings. He is an alumni of Stamps-Baxter School of Music and has shared the stage with many different artists. He also really likes movies that are "so bad they're good." Visit his website at, or follow him on Twitter @kyleboreing.

MusicScribe Comments

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  1. Reply May 05, 09:47 #1 Bill Lancaster

    Maybe a small twist to your idea:

    The Kingsmen with Ricky Free producing & Brian Free & Assurance with Jeff Collins

  2. Reply May 05, 11:42 #2 coomercove

    Very interesting idea, and I would love to see it done, but I just don’t see it ever happening. With social media today, you could pop the popcorn from the flame wars that would result if different groups recorded the same songs on a large scale.

  3. Reply May 05, 11:44 #3 Chris Unthank

    I could see a KPNR (Haun producing) and J&S (Sykes producing) being pretty cool…

  4. Reply May 05, 13:43 #4 Tad Kirkland

    I’d love to hear what 2 different producers would do with the same set of songs and the same artist. Like Wayne and Gary each take on Canton Junction. Otherwise it would still be hard not to prefer one artist over another just due to personal preferences.

    • Reply May 05, 14:00 Kyle Boreing Author

      But that would be part of the fun….what if the second artist is not your favorite, but they did a better job on the same song than your preferred artist?

  5. Reply May 05, 15:38 #5 Stephen

    It would be interesting to hear, but I am not sure that it would make a strong project. For example, the Jubilee and the Gospel Caravan…..not strong projects at all IMHO. As you know, it just takes too much money for artists to record a project and alot of work put in to it from the group….engineer…producer…etc to cut a song someone else is cutting. When that happens (like Truth Is Marching On…Talleys & Gold City) a great song but neither become definitive.

  6. Reply May 05, 16:01 #6 David Bruce Murray

    If a record label thought a double CD would be too much, they could do a single CD featuring five or six songs by each group, plus one or two together.

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