Produced by Bill Gaither
Gaither Music Group
Format: DVD/CD & Digital (audio)
Release Date: January 22, 2021
Format Reviewed: DVD/CD
SONG TITLES: Temporary Home / The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power / Better Day / Daystar / Rasslin’ Jacob / Until I Found The Lord / Lord Feed Your Children / Low Down The Chariot / God Leads Us Along / Give Up / Winds Of This World / In Christ Alone (DVD only) / I’m Free / Please Forgive Me / These Are They / I Believe In A Hill Called Mt. Calvary / Child Of The King / Where Could I Go / I Bowed On My Knees
In recent years, Gaither Music Group has turned its focus to its vast catalog of video performances to create compilation products. Among these are “Best of” titles that typically feature a well-known Gaither-related artist. In January of 2021, the spotlight was put on Michael English, probably one of the most well-known vocalists to ever be associated with Bill Gaither.
Seeing as this is a Gaither collection, the performances culled here are primarily from the Gaither Music vault, dating back to 1988 and focusing on his time with the Gaither Vocal Band. A short clip of “In Christ Alone” from a Dove Awards telecast is the only real reference made to his solo work. This is definitely aimed at the SG crowd as opposed to his more contemporary solo audience (for those looking for more solo features, check out the Live at Daywind Studios release).
Among the highlights is Michael’s initial return to the Homecoming tapings in 1999 with his performance of “Lord Feed Your Children.” It is nearly impossible to watch this clip and not shed a tear or two. Bill and Michael discuss this taping in depth, including English’s hesitation to participate, and a moving confession from one of his peers.
Watching this collection of performances feels surprisingly informal. Rather than Bill “interviewing” the artist between songs, what we have here is two long-time friends watching some of their favorite clips together. To show their active participation, their reactions are often spliced into the shot, making this feel less like a formal compilation and more like two guys going through YouTube clips together and reminiscing, giving the viewer a bit of a “fly on the wall” feeling.
My only gripe about the DVD is that the songs showcased are often truncated clips as opposed to the full performance. Don’t get me wrong – it’s a great showcase for English, but fans who were hoping to see especially some older performances in their entirety may be disappointed.
That being said, the companion CD makes up for the truncated clips by including the full song performances (minus a couple titles). These are all live performances, some of which have not been made available on audio-only formats previously. To that extent, instead of the CD being a teaser for a full DVD, the DVD becomes a demo reel for a full audio CD.
For anyone who maybe never gave English a chance, or perhaps is only familiar with his solo work, this is a great example of what he does best (or, as he puts it, “I only do ONE THING well…”). Is it definitive? No, but I’d say it has still earned it’s “best of” title in terms of Michael English’s southern gospel audience and roots.