New Music Reviews: Late October 2020 Releases

New Music Reviews: Late October 2020 Releases

Click HERE to listen all of these albums on YouTube Music.

Songs From The Pen Of Lee Black And Friends is a collection of songs written or co-written by Lee Black, the current tenor singer with Legacy Five. The arrangements here are basic, emphasizing harmony vocals with just piano for accompaniment.

It’s an interesting exercise to compare these versions to the original recordings. “When The Prodigal Comes Home” is more effective in this setting than Tribute’s version, for example, while “Going There” doesn’t quite deliver the same impact as the Triumphant recording. Still, it’s good when a collection of songs we’ve already heard offers fresh takes rather than repeating familiar arrangements.

Song Titles: Heaven Is; Amazing God; Ain’t It Just Like The Lord; In The Hands Of A Carpenter; I Want To Be That Man; Going There; When The Prodigal Comes Home
Release Date: October 16, 2020
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music
Rating: 4 Stars


It’s Still Good News is the first recording by The Guardians since the arrival of baritone Scott Mullins.

There is just the right amount of orchestration on the opener (“Holy Is Thy Name”) and “Just To Know” to lend a timeless quality to this album. In between is a more dynamic feature for bass singer Pat Barker titled “I Wish I Could Tell You.” “You’re Home To Stay” has a suspenseful, anticipatory rhythm (think “The King Is Coming”), but the vocals aren’t quite on the same page as the arrangement. A couple of lines from “How Beautiful Heaven Must Be” are inserted near the end, though it’s unclear why.

The title song has a fun, driving rhythm and is the highlight of the entire album. The next track is a classy cover of the classic “Someone To Care” with Barker featured on the verses.

The energy kicks up again for “Breathe In, Breathe Out” written by lead singer John Darin Rowsey and recorded previously by Steve Ladd. Up next is a cover of “One Pair Of Hands,” a song previously recorded by Glen Campbell (written by Campbell’s wife and Manny Kurtz), Carroll Roberson, and others, but never by Elvis Presley as the style might lead some to believe. The sound is certainly similar, however, to Presley arrangements like “The Wonder Of You” and others.

Vocally, the closing track, “From Now On,” is not quite up to the quality of the rest of the album and feels out of place stylistically. That being said, there are three more songs besides the nine already mentioned. You will certainly get your money’s worth if you purchase It’s Still Good News.

Label: Stow Town Records
Song Titles: Holy is Thy Name (with Lift Up Holy Hands); I Wish I Could Tell You; Just To Know; You’re Home To Stay (Where We Ever Shall Be); It’s Still Good News; Someone To Care; Breathe In, Breathe Out; One Pair Of Hands; Make My Heart Your Dwelling Place; God Is Listening; That’s What Makes Grace Amazing; From Now On
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music
Rating: 4 Stars


The Isaacs recorded Songs For The Times during the Covid-19 pandemic which influenced the song choices. You’ll recognize most of them.

When The Isaacs cover a song we already know very well, they usually elevate it. That is the case here especially with “Ain’t No Grave,” “Through It All,” and “The Love Of God.” “The Wilderness,” “Peace In Trusting,” and “Give Him What You Got” are new songs that sound right at home among the classics. “Give Him What You Got” is a fun break from the more serious fare, especially the instrumental break at the end. I also enjoyed the slow build that sets up the final track “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around” which adds the voices of Jason Crabb and Angela Primm.

Not only is Songs Of The Times a timely recording for the year 2020, it’s one among the best albums 2020 has to offer. My rating is 5 stars out of 5 stars.

Label: New Day
Song Titles: Ain’t No Grave (Gonna Hold My Body Down); Through It All; The Wilderness; Just Over Yonder; The Love Of God; The Times They Are A Changing; Peace In Trusting; Give Him What You Got; Medley Of Hymns (Old Rugged Cross, Softly And Tenderly, In The Garden, Nearer My God To Thee); Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around (with Jason Crabb and Angela Primm)
Release Date: October 23, 2020
Version Reviewed: YouTube Music
Rating: 5 Stars

Legacy Five
4 out of 5
Guardians
4 out of 5
Isaacs
5 out of 5

4.33

Good
4.33 out of 5

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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.

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